A Family Reunion - Matching Apparel (shirts)

A Family Reunion – Matching Apparel (shirts)

I was in charge of ordering shirts for our family gathering this year. Here’s what I learned: 

First of all, despite sharing some genes and the last name, our family is full of completely different sizes and styles! Picking out a shirt that everyone would actually want to wear again was harder than I thought! I did make some false assumptions in the beginning that I regret and will definitely do differently next time. Along the way I learned some tips that I wish I knew before I started this project- so hopefully they will help you!

Matching Apparel - Family Reunion



What color do we pick?! Wait- your family doesn’t have a team color?! 🙂 No Worries, that would be weird. Here are some things to consider that might make your decision easier: Number One: Are you going someplace like Disneyland for your family reunion where kids or people could get separated easily? If this is the case you may want to pick a fun shirt color that will “pop” a bit in a crowd. It doesn’t have to be neon yellow or hot pink, but something other than black, white or gray- even the same shade of blue could allow your eye to quickly group people together. 

Number two: On the complete flip side- if getting lost in a crowd isn’t a concern then sticking to a generic color such as black, gray or brown could be your solution to a wide variety of styles in the group. If it is a neutral color than people are more likely to wear the item again. 

A quick note about color: If you are ordering any children sizes I would recommend checking the colors available in their sizes first before getting too excited about a color. It’s hard to find the exact same color in various sizes unless you are working with the same brand or clothing line. If this is the case try to stick to standard colors like black, white, navy, red, etc. We ordered gray shirts and I was still surprised at how many different shades were possible from “heather gray” to solid gray and every shade from light to dark possible. 


You may want to consider mixing up the label a bit if everything else about the clothing is identical enough. For example instead of just saying “smith” what about “Smith Aunt” or “Little Smith” or “Smith Jr” or “Papa Smith” etc. You can have fun and add some personalization with the labels and still have them clearly all match. 

Another thing to think about before you place your order is the type of labeling you want. There are three main types to choose from.

  • Heat Transfer: This is the second most popular option. The “PerfectSeal” technology ensures that the logos/artwork/family name will pop with detailed imagery and vibrant colors.
  • Embroidery: Not a very popular option with family reunion shirts, embroidery brings versatility to the decorative goals of having a logo, artwork, or family name stand out bold or subtle. With literally hundreds of color-rich threads to choose from, any design is delivered with a high-quality appearance.
  • Screen Print: This option is by far the most popular option for family reunion style shirts. State of the art inks and multicolor screen and distressed screen-printing techniques allow your family name or logo to be vibrantly and qualitatively applied to the shirt for high-quality visual effects and performance in durability.

This next tip might be a little mind-blowing so stay with me and breathe deep… If the shirts have the same color and the same label than they do not necessarily have to be the same shirt. Imagine a variety of t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, long sleeve shirts or 3/4 sleeve tees all in the same color with the same label with the same words/fonts and letter color. They would very clearly still all match and look unified. This allows more flexibility and style to show through which brings me to my next tip. 

I wish I would have given the decision back to each person. For example- showing them the pre-determined color and label but then giving them options for a hoodie, jacket or shirt with the attached price difference. I was surprised at how often hoodies didn’t cost much more than t-shirts. If someone would rather pay an extra few dollars and get a style that they love than why not!  

Next year we are not doing shirts but rather rain jackets! Charles River Apparel New Englander Rain Jackets are available in sizes for the whole family!

1- Men’s New Englander Rain Jacket 9199
2- Women’s New Englander Rain Jacket 5099
Girls New Englander Rain Jacket 4099
4- Youth New Englander Rain Jacket 8099
5- Children’s New Englander Rain Jacket 7099
6- Toddler New Englander Rain Jacket 6099

They are perfect because not only are you able to find the same matching jacket but you can choose from all three decorative options (Heat Transfer, Embroidery, or Screen Print).

No matter what kind of apparel you choose to represent your family name this year, my last and final tip (which may be a bit obvious) is to take a lot of pictures! A great group picture is what makes all of these decisions worth it! The memory keepsake of these pictures with the matching tops is absolutely priceless!