May 16 2016

In Search of the Perfect White T-Shirt

When it comes to style, I like perusing the occasional fashion blog or glossy magazine but it’s more like entertainment to me. I’m a basic jeans or black leggings type of girl, I prefer to dress in black and white and I like items that are timeless. I feel as though the book, The Cool Factor, was written for women who are just like me. I’m always on the search for the perfect white t-shirt so when I saw this new article pop up on my radar, by Fast Company, I was intrigued.

You may have heard about the company American Giant before, they caused a ruckus on the internet back in 2012 after Slate called their hoodie “the greatest hoodie ever made.” (I never bought one myself but just saw that they have a lightweight version so I scooped one up for Sam.) Bayard Winthrop, the company’s founder and CEO, made it his mission to create the best hoodie in the world. As Fast Company states, “He scrutinized every single element of a hoodie—the fabric, the design, the hardware, the sewing—and tried to create his own version that he hoped would excel in every way.”

As for the white t-shirt, I like that a company would put their heart and soul into designing something so basic. Could their premium t-shirt be their next big hit?

American Giant has made shirts for several years, but a year ago, it embarked on an effort to create a premium T-shirt. Much like a sweatshirt, a T-shirt seems like a fairly basic item of clothing. But Winthrop says that when you look at the details and nuances, things begin to get complicated. “At first glance, there’s not a whole lot going on or a lot of hardware to think about,” he says. “But doing something that is genuinely unique and special is both a design and manufacturing challenge.”

Finding the right fabric was a huge task. Winthrop and his designers scoured the world to find cloth that felt substantial, but was still light. They settled on a high-end slub material, but they had to spend time ensuring it wasn’t transparent. Then there was the issue of fit. A T-shirt can sometimes have a strange drape or torque if it isn’t sewn correctly. The team developed an extra seam at the back of the shirt, which adds an interesting design, but also ensures that the fabric doesn’t bunch up or fall in an ugly way. This entire process involved creating many different prototypes that were tested on dozens of people. “We wanted the shirt to look good on different body types,” he says.

I just bought the premium crew T and the premium v-neck T, both in white. I like the discreet stitching in the back, it subtly identifies it as an American Giant shirt. At $34.50 they’re not cheap t-shirts but for form and function they may just be worth it. Fingers crossed that they live up to the hype!




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