T-Shirts Are Keepers: 4 out of 5 Americans Still Hold on to a Sentimental Old T-Shirt - Vacation Tees are Faves, New Survey from BlueCotton Reveals

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Shirts from Concerts, Sports, Charities - and Companies -- Also Popular; BlueCotton Asks: 'What's in Your Drawer?' Answer on Facebook

A glimpse into someone's t-shirt drawer is like a stroll through his or her past

If you ever need to borrow the shirt off someone's back, just hope it's not a favorite. Turns out, most people feel a sense of attachment to their tees - and that cuts across all ages and demographic groups. In fact, four out of five people still hold on to at least one sentimental old shirt - and, more likely, two or three.

That's the principal finding of a new nationwide survey from custom t-shirt company BlueCotton (http://www.BlueCotton.com), conducted in early February. The company wanted to know: what happens to all the t-shirts created for sports leagues, fraternity parties, church camps, fundraising events and countless other groups and activities? In association with Chicago market researcher Synovate, BlueCotton asked 1,000 online consumers, "What favorite, sentimental old t-shirts do you still own?"

Roughly 79 percent of the respondents still have an old shirt, averaging slightly more than 2.5 shirts per person; 788 people reported 2,124 shirts total among the various categories. Shirts from a vacation led the way by far across all demographic groups. While we tend to hang on to shirts from a concert, a favorite pro or college sports team, and a charity run/walk, we're also fond of shirts from a business or employer.

Here's a rundown of the categories:    

  • 48 percent: A shirt picked up on vacation
  • 30 percent: From a business or employer
  • 27 percent: From a concert
  • 27 percent: From a favorite professional or college sports team
  • 23 percent: From a run/walk to raise money for a favorite charity
  • 18 percent: From one's alma mater
  • 17 percent: From participating on a sports team
  • 12 percent: From a church event
  • 6 percent: From an election, political party
  • 4 percent: From a fraternity/sorority

"A glimpse into someone's t-shirt drawer is like a stroll through his or her past," said Mike Coffey, CEO of BlueCotton and still owner of all-time favorite orange short-sleeve Hanes Beefy-T, with navy and white BlueCotton oval-shaped logo. "A Little League championship, a first concert, a family vacation, a cherished alma mater, your own business - every person's list is like a snapshot of their personality. And if someone hasn't kept any old shirts, that can be telling, too. T-shirts may seem casual, but their appeal is anything but. When they're linked to a powerful memory, why let them go?"

BlueCotton is inviting anyone to share their own lists of favorite old t-shirts they still own. Go here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BlueCottoncom/45760448438 and add a list to the discussion titled My Favorite Shirts, or add a photo under "Fan Photos."

Among the survey's major findings:

  • Youth is sentimental ... Those most likely to hang on to old t-shirts are respondents ages 18 to 24. Just 7 percent said they haven't kept a shirt, compared with 21 percent of the overall population. They're far more likely than their older counterparts to keep a shirt from a concert (46.5 percent of 18-24, versus 27 percent of the overall population). It's also the group most likely to have a shirt from an election or political party (10 percent, versus 6 percent overall).    
  • But so are their elders. Those in the oldest age group are dedicated to their cotton keepsakes, as well: more than two-thirds (70 percent) of respondents age 65+ still hold onto a favorite tee.
  • The armchair beats the field. People are more likely to keep shirts they acquired as a sports spectator than as a sports participant. From the total sample, 27 percent keep a shirt from their favorite pro or college sports team, while just 17 percent have a shirt from a team they were on.
  • Who wears the shirt? Men were more likely than women to have a shirt from a pro or college sports team (30 percent, versus 24 percent, respectively). But the genders differed by only 3.5 percent when it comes to having a shirt from a sports team they were on (19 percent of men, and 15.5 percent of women).
  • It's not just a job ... The second most popular shirts overall were from businesses or employers, held by 30 percent of all respondents. They're preferred by those in the highest income bracket (35 percent, versus 27 percent at all other income levels), by those in the South (35 percent, compared with 24, 26 and 30 percent for the Northeast, the Midwest and the West, respectively), and by whites (31 percent, versus 23.5 percent of non-white respondents).    
  • Go to grad school, get a t-shirt. Post-grads are especially proud of their alma mater - it was their second choice by a mere 3 percentage points (43 percent versus 46 percent for vacation shirts). In fact, they were the only demographic group to seriously challenge the vacation shirt preference. Post-grads were also twice as likely as those with a bachelor's degree to have a shirt from a fraternity/sorority.
  • Brands for young music buffs. Concert shirts are most popular with the younger set: the youngest three age groups beat the average (46.5 percent of those 18-24, 30.5 of those 25-34, and 34 percent of those 35-44, compared with 27 percent of the overall population).
  • Recalling that church gathering. Shirts from a church event were most popular among women (15 percent, versus 8 percent of men), respondents from the South (16 percent, versus 7 percent of those from the Northeast), and non-whites (17 percent, versus 11 percent of whites).

The BlueCotton/Synovate survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. For a full copy of the survey results and a graphic presentation of top-line data, email info(at)edgecommunicationsinc.com.

About BlueCotton
BlueCotton.com is the place to go for high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts. The company's professionalism, expert design guidance and obsession with customer satisfaction have won the company legions of fans. BlueCotton offers printed and embroidered custom t-shirts, hats, and outerwear for groups of all kinds: schools, churches, sports teams, non-profits, fraternities, sororities, or those who simply want to make a proud, personal statement. Gizmodo calls BlueCotton's online interactive DesignStudio "a sophisticated Photoshop-like web app to let you design your own shirt ... with a tremendous amount of control over the results" and says "the interface rocks." BlueCotton is ranked in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the country. Based in Bowling Green, Ky., BlueCotton has been selling custom t-shirts and embroidered apparel since 1991.

Media Contact
Ken Greenberg
Edge Communications, Inc.

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