Monthly Archives: April 2013

Temperatures Rise and Tanks Roll In

CC TanksThe Tanks are coming…Fish tanks, Sherman tanks, scuba tanks, think tanks, oil tanks, even septic tanks are not the harbingers of warm weather and sunshine. Instead, we are talking about colorful cotton tanks – tank tops, the kind you wear to show off your guns or cool your jets.

Wikipedia says that the name “tank top”, part of American English since 1968, derives from the shirt’s resemblance to a tank suit, a one-piece women’s swimming costume with shoulder straps, so called since the 1920s, because it was worn in a “swimming tank”, an obsolete term for a swimming pool.

The tank top seems to be a completely American idiom. In the Queen’s English, a tank top is called a vest. Boys of a certain age wore string vests – sort of a fishnet version of the tank top. They tucked their vests into their pants (aka underwear, undies, briefs, BVDs, but that is an entirely different story).

Another t-shirt/tank top term, used in Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Nigeria and New Zealand, is singlet (in French this might be a singulet?). In the Philippines, when used as an undershirt, the tank top is called a sando. We are guessing that when your wear your sando at the beach sans a coverup, it might simply be called ‘tank top’ or even just ‘Awesome’.

Bing’s translator says tank top is tapa del tanque in Spanish, but translates “singlet” as “camiseta”. This is what we should probably call Kevin Camisa’s  (aka Mr. Shirt)  kids.

We could not quite figure out the French for tank top: un dessus de réservoir literally means the top of tank, débardeur means docker (but some online reverse translators say this means tank top). “Tanktop” without a space is the same in English and French. German is ein Trägershirt – this seems closer because it has ‘shirt’ in it, but the translator on my computer defines ein Trägershirt as “a carrier herdsman.” Maybe the tank top is the preferred fashion statement of carrier herdmen? A Google search of carrier herdsman produces images of t-shirts. Who knew?!

In American English, a tank top refers to a sleeveless shirt. Something we enjoy wearing in seasonably warm weather.

Are you fluent in a language that has fun with summer clothing? Let us know how you say tank top in your favorite language!

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Color Psychology, T-shirts and Advertising

Every marketer knows that people respond better to non-verbal cues. Here’s a little test that illustrates the point. Without taking too much time or effort, just observe the very first thing that comes to mind when you see the following words:

  • Hell’s Angels
  • Tinker Bell
  • Mother’s Day

If you are like me, each phrase conjured up a distinct, colorful image. I could almost smell the burning motorcycle engines and the fairy dust. That is because color speaks to the subconscious; texture is also in on that conversation.

color_psychologyAt Comfort Colors we are known for our colors and textures. As a garment graphics professional, you are known for your designs and slogans — on the right background. Like us, you too are in the business of courting the subconscious which is why you have to be very thoughtful about the colors you choose.

Color psychology is not just the realm of academics and therapists, it’s your bread and butter. What?! You didn’t stay in school long enough to get that Ph.D in color psychology? Me neither, I was too busy printing T-shirts!

What colors will you choose next season? Give us a call, we’ve got some ideas. 800.545.6366. In the meantime, here are some fun articles about the effects of color that might help:
Color and Sleep
Color and Weight Loss
Color Psychology and Logo Design

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When is it Safe to go Outdoors – in Just a T-shirt?

How soon in the year do you go outside in just a t-shirt? How warm does it have to be? The answer to this question will vary depending on where you live.

cold weather memeHere in Vermont, some T-shirt lovers do what the locals call hardening off. When you’re gardening, hardening off refers to bringing your little seedlings outdoors for a cool breeze or two before you plant them out there. When you are waiting to don your favorite apparel (a comfortable t-shirt) sans accoutrement (down jackets, wool sweaters), hardening off means going out there and getting goose bumps. gives instructions. I’ll paraphrase:

  1. Get a t-shirt and a thermometer
  2. Figure out what temperature you consider to be cold
  3. Get used to it – go out there and walk around in your t-shirt for 10 minutes
  4. Practice – go back out there
  5. Keep moving
  6. Wear an undershirt under your t-shirt, if you must “This will give you an added layer of warmth, whilst not impeding your ‘T-Shirt Only’ look. Make sure the under-layer is of a color similar to either your shirt or your skin, as otherwise it may be visible through the shirt.”

When is it warm enough for you or your customers to get out there in just a T?

I have a long-sleeved shirt under my Comfort Colors T-shirt as I write this post…The forecast for New England the rest of April includes some chilly temps and even a winter weather advisory or two…May we also suggest a hoodie?

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Cotton Pickin’ Cotton Planting and Goldy Locks

Looks like cotton, right?

Looks like cotton, doesn’t it?

As Spring plays its April Fools joke on most of New England (the forecast in Vermont this week includes snow; the forecast in Massachusetts includes below freezing temperatures at night), backyard farmers and gardeners are chomping at the bit.

“When can we get out there to our gardens?” This unanswered question makes some of us daydream about the possibilities. Some dream about vegetables, others want their own English gardens. One Vermont gardener we spoke to mused about planting cotton and making her own t-shirts.

According to the National Cotton Council of America, “the major cotton-producing states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, Florida, Kansas and Virginia.”

Could the weather forecast have something to do with the exclusion of Vermont and Massachusetts from this list? Surely.

cottonCotton grows in warm climates – places where people wear t-shirts year-round. Though tons of cotton is grown here in the US, most of the world’s cotton is grown in places like Uzbekistan, the People’s Republic of China, India, Brazil, Pakistan and Turkey.

Wiki.answers tells us that “Cotton grows best in best climate.” Cotton is the Goldy Locks of crops, demanding the perfect temperature and soil conditions: not too hot, not too cold, not too damp, not too dry.

Though we hate to be the Big Bad Wolf in the eyes of that Vermont gardening dreamer, we do recommend that she stick to basil and zucchini. We’ll take care of the t-shirts

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