I for sure wear t-shirts more than any other garment. Who’s with me? But it’s surprisingly difficult to find a really good one. The problem is a t-shirt can be so cheap when you buy it at Target or H&M or similar that we treat them as disposable. If it pills or shrinks or contorts into an odd shape after washing, just buy another one for $3 or whatever. Then once in a while you find that perfectly flattering neckline, a fabric that’s not too flimsy, not too thick, keeps its shape and gets even softer after washing. My Bob Dylan tee is my all time fave. It’s about 20 years old and I’m beginning to fear it might disintegrate in the wash. But the Holy Grail of T-shirt makers is to mimic that worn-in for two decades feeling, and it seems to be much easier said than done. So I was thrilled to encounter two t-shirt brands recently that come pretty darn close:
1. Marine Layer: This new shop in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley has the softest t-shirts in town. They’re made of cotton plus micro-modal, which is made from recycled wood pulp. I went on a bit of a binge when I was there recently and took advantage of their three tees for $90 deal (individually they cost $35), plus snagged a couple others on sale. And I don’t regret it! There’s not a pill to be found after washing and the V-necks have a lovely drape. The shirts are all made in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the company goes to great lengths to achieve consistency in size. I bought just one plain white V-neck, and I’m hoping for a trip back soon so I can snatch up three more—they are just too easy to wear with everything from ripped jeans to a pencil skirt. If you’re not in SF, they also have an online shop.
2. Pickwick and Weller: This is a new “luxury” t-shirt company founded by Ashton Kutcher and friends earlier this year. They let you try out shirts at home if you like, and you pay only for the ones that you decide to keep. Or you can just buy shirts like a normal store. The company was kind enough to send me a few tees, and even if they hadn’t been free I’d say nice things about them. They’re perfectly blousey (for the perfect untucked tucked look), and the V-necks are super flattering. The fabric is slightly crisper than the Marine Layer version, so if you like a bit more structured feel to your tee, these might be for you. All their shirts are made in Los Angeles from cotton grown in the United States.
It’s worth paying a little more for the peace of mind that you will always have that favorite go-to t-shirt in your closet, and to know that it was made in the good ole US of A. America F-yeah!