Every wardrobe is built on a foundation of versatile staples: quality denim, winter-ready knits, shirting, and of course an inexhaustible supply of basic tees. The cornerstone of your wardrobe, the basic tee is probably fashion’s most democratic garment, worn by everyone from students and skaters to bankers and doctors. Despite the deceptive simplicity of its name, the basic T-shirt isn’t a one-size-fits-all job; what might seem like a straightforward decision in actual fact requires a beady eye to ensure you’re getting the quality and look you want from your wardrobe staples.
While myth would have it that the difference between a £125 Maison Margiela tee and a basic high-street version is the name on the label, there are in fact nuanced but logical differences that explain the gulf in price. Here, we deconstruct the luxury tee and run you through what to consider when updating your basics this season.
As with clothing more generally, when it comes to the humble tee price doesn’t always correlate with quality. A better first indicator to look to is the material the tee is made from and the quality of the fabrication. Cotton jersey is a tightly woven, pliable material with good insulating properties and is frequently used in the fabrication of T-shirts due to its ability to hold shape well. By contrast, a rayon or silk jersey tee bears a lighter feel and works well with relaxed cuts to create more of a draped feel. When moving into summer, the looser weave and breathability of linen comes into its own for its cooling properties. When choosing your new tee, consider its fabric/s, its thickness, and the quality of the weave – which can sometimes be explained by the material’s country of origin and where the T-shirt has been worked…