Polo Shirt Material Primer

The polo shirt is by far the most popular style of clothing used for embroidered logo apparel.  With so many kinds of material used today to make polo shirts, I felt it was important to define the advantages and disadvantages of the material so you can make the best possible choice for your embroidered logo apparel.


By far the most popular material for polo shirts today, much of the material used to make cotton polo shirts is prewashed in some way thereby preshrinking the material before the shirt is constructed. Years ago, it was commonplace to buy shirts a size or two bigger to account for shrinkage.  Today, that is no longer necessary.

Advantages of cotton:

  • Softness
  • Breathability
  • Natural fiber
  • Comfort

Disadvantages of cotton:

  • Cost-at least right now, cotton prices have jumped up significantly in recent months
  • Moisture absorbent
  • Dark colors like black and navy will fade after repeated washings (usually after  a couple of years)


Sometimes it is hard to change a perception or bad reputation.  Twenty to thirty years ago, polyester was distained by many people for being “scratchy” and uncomfortable.  While that is certainly true, the polyester fibers of today are made very differently and are much more comfortable to wear.

In fact, moisture management or rapid dry shirts worn for athletics are made from 100% polyester.  Compression t-shirts have popularized this material for those situations.

Advantages of polyester:

  • Cost-poly is less expensive than cotton to produce
  • Color retention-dark colors will not fade over after a number of washings
  • Durability
  • Low moisture absorbency allows the fabric to dry quickly
  • Wrinkle resistant

Disadvantages of polyester:

  • Poly still suffers from a perception of a “scratchy” feel
  • 100% polyester material will snag at times
  • It does not have a natural look or feel

Cotton/Poly Blends:

The solution to finding a happy medium between natural fabrics and polyester fabrics has often been to blend the two together. By making a fabric from both natural fibers such as cotton and polyester fibers, a blended fabric is created that melds the best characteristics of both to create a material that will serve many customers of logo embroidered apparel well.

So next time you are in the market for some logo embroidered polo shirts, you have some important information to help you make an informed decision.

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