For a yarn so ubiquitous in clothes-making, the fabric specificities of your standard cotton T-shirt don't often receive much attention.

Wool has all kinds of sub-types—different gauges, pedigrees, weaves, S-numbers—that you'll find on any given product page for a suit or sweater. Denim has its left-hand twills and selvedges. Shirting has plenty of weaves and yarn qualities, from a Sea Island cotton royal oxford to a simple broadcloth. But your standard cotton T-shirt is usually described as just that: Cotton.

There are obvious exceptions when clothes makers use Supima or slub yarns or some other kind of reference to the cotton's intricacies, but one that's not as properly understood or called out is ringspun cotton.

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