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The Marketer's Guide to Ordering Trade Show Shirts

Cathy Houston Written by: Cathy Houston |

The Marketer's Guide to Ordering Trade Show Shirts

When it comes to planning for trade shows, marketers mostly stress over major aspects such as booth design, display of products/services, and crafting the perfect pitch for prospective clients. Those are all important elements of a trade show that are completely justifiable to fret over, but I want to devote some time and attention to a lesser considered aspect of creating the optimal trade show experience: trade show shirts.

I like to think of trade show shirts as the icing on the cake when it comes to trade show preparation. However, just because the shirts your team is wearing may be less essential to trade show success than the elements mentioned above doesn’t mean that ordering shirts is a quick and mindless process. There are actually some crucial dos and don’ts when it comes to ordering these shirts.

Here are 3 main points to consider when ordering trade show shirts:

1. Trade show shirts shouldn't be a uniform.

Trade Show Jacket

Here’s the thing – trade show shirts add professionalism and brand unity to your display, but that doesn't mean that everyone has to wear the exact same shirt. In fact, I think it’s kind of weird if everyone from the same company at a trade show booth wears the same shirt. In reality, you just need some form consistency across your teams' shirts. If everyone is wearing a shirt with the same logo and messaging but different style, this will show that your brand has personality while keeping your branding consistent.

2. Consider the style and durability of the shirts you want to order.

Trade Show Shirts Polo

Just because a shirt looks nice doesn’t mean it’s ideal for a trade show. Remember that trade shows require long days and some physical activity. You’ll most likely be setting up your booth, transporting materials, standing for hours, and then packing everything away again.

For example, some people may be fine wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt for everything trade shows entail; others may overwhelmingly prefer a short-sleeved shirt.

3. Consider the tone of the event.

Trade Show Shirts

All trade shows are not created equal! The formality of trade shows vary. For example, if you’re attending a local industrial trade show, simple logoed t-shirts are pretty acceptable as trade show apparel. However, if you’re attending a large industry expo overseas, it’s probably the safest to go with a more formal style.

Trade show shirts aren’t something to write off as meaningless or unimportant. As you’ve learned, ordering trade show shirts requires strategic thinking and adequate planning. Feel free to ping me so we can discuss ordering shirts that are appropriate for your next trade show.

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Orignially published on April 28, 2016, updated on March 26, 2019

Topic: Tradeshow Strategy