For the past three years, I’ve resisted buying new t-shirts.
I love t-shirts. In fact, there’s not really a clothing item that I love more than a classic cotton t-shirt. I like the comfort and the mobility and the simple ease of a plain white tee and a pair of jeans. But since I couldn’t get past their short lifespan, I tried to force myself to stop wearing them.
Well. It’s hard to deny yourself something you really love. And so as the weather’s gotten warmer this year, I’ve decided to open myself back up to the possibility of dressing in the clothes that make me happiest. I turned with fresh eyes toward t-shirts in hopes that I might find something new or noteworthy. Below, a few things I’ve tried and a few that I’d love to:
+ For Days: There’s currently a long waitlist to get the chance to try these tees, but I have hunch the wait will be worth it. For Days is a closed-loop, zero-waste t-shirt company. The concept is impressive and inspiring: Each purchase of an organic t-shirt ($38) comes with a membership that allows you to swap out your existing tee for a new one, whenever you need to, and for only $8. The company accepts all of their tees (and others) back for recycling, closing the loop and building a circular economy. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s had the chance to give them a try! Update: Just this evening I had a chance to experience some of the For Days tees at the Good Stuff pop-up. As predicted, they look like solid staples, precisely what they purport to be.
+ Everlane: I’m no stranger to Everlane t-shirts, but I admit that until recently, I’d fallen out of love with them. When the last of my v-neck tees reached the end of their usefulness, I didn’t seek out new ones. But this season, their new Tiny Tee caught my eye and I’ve fallen for it hard. True to its name, it’s tiny, which makes it perfect for tucking into my favorite high-waisted jeans without needing to spend ten minutes tucking extra t-shirt around my bum. Even better, it’s made from 60% recycled cotton and it has a really lovely texture—not too stretchy, not too silky smooth, just kind of pleasantly soft and substantial feeling. The brand agreed to send me one of the off-white tiny tees to try and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for something with a short sleeve and a relatively cropped waist. Bonus: it has the perfect crew neck; not too tight, not too loose.
+ Outerknown: This is another tee that I haven’t tried myself but I’ve been impressed with what I’ve read about the company. The Vintage S.E.A. Shirt is made from 100% organic cotton and it looks light and breezy and maybe a little bit looser than some of the other fits listed here. All of the colors look beautiful, but true to form, I’m partial to the half light.
+ Lacausa: My friend Rita introduced me to Lacausa about a year ago and I’ve been really impressed with them from both an ethics and quality perspective. At my request, they sent me two of their Frank Tees to try earlier this spring and they’re terrific. They’re made from vintage 100% cotton jersey and while slightly less tiny than the tiny tee mentioned above, the slightly cropped hem moves easily between high-waisted pants and those with waists that are…less high. I love the moon colorway (currently sold out), because it reads as white, but isn’t, helping it to hide a host of sins, but mostly pit stains.
+ Marine Layer: These folks launched a recycling program late last year called ReSpun. Donated shirts are broken down and respun with recycled polyester in a closed-loop system that’s waterless and dye-free (the colors are achieved by blending batches of same-color recycled tees). It’s free to donate—in person or by mail—and Marine Layer gives customers a $5 credit per t-shirt they donate (up to $25).
+ Industry Standard: This company is known mostly for its jeans, but I’m a real proselytizer of their organic t-shirts. I have the Sylvie Tee in the perfect shade of creme and even after a few summers of regular wear, it still has life in it. The organic slub cotton is lovely and the off-white color is so perfect that I’ve forgiven the slight bit of extra room in the sleeves.
PS. In case you missed it, yesterday on Instagram I shared a new initiative as part of the #wearnext campaign: a textile drop-off map created by the DSNY, built to help keep New Yorker’s clothes out of the landfill.
PPS. More from me on responsible decluttering.
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