Best T-Shirts

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For years, I relied on American Giant T-shirts as daily wear. A few years back, however, American Giant changed their premium line of tees and in my opinion, quality suffered. Since then, I feel like quality has only continued to roll down hill and I’ve decided to check out the market once again. Here’s what I’ve found:

  1. J.Crew Garment dyed Slub Cotton Tees. On sale these can be found for as little as $20 and because of this, these have become my goto tees. The regular fit is true to size, but they are also available in both slim and tall and in a large variety of colors. Unfortunately, they are not made in the USA… BUT, the quality is on par with American Giant and the fit is much better. As a value proposition, these are hard to beat right now.
  2. Todd Snyder Homespun Slub Pocket T. These are very similar to the J.Crew tees, but they are made in the USA. Unfortunately, however, they are priced at damn near $80 each. I just couldn’t justify that…
  3. 45 Slub Pocket Tee. The Huckberry house brand… Made well in Peru. These fit great and feel fantastic, but the collar gets a little weird (wrinkles) in the wash. If you can live with that though, these are a pretty good value at $35 each. I would have considered these as a top pick if only they were available in more colors.
  4. Everlane Premium Crew. These were recommended by just about everyone in the game. They are obviously made well (Viet Nam), but they don’t feel great. I would compare these in fit and finish to a nice Gildan. To me, the value just isn’t there.
  5. Buck Mason Slub Tee. This shirt is most consistently on everyone’s favorite list, but it’s not on mine… They are made in the USA, fit well, and cost an almost reasonable $38. However, after one wash the collar shiners and wrinkles and the tee becomes unwearable for me.

At the end of the day, none of these tees are as good as the original American Giant tee… which is a damned shame. I think my favorite of the bunch tested right now is the tee offered by Todd Snyder. However, the $80 price removes it as an EDC option. The J.Crew shirt doesn’t seem quite as well made, but it’s close… and costs $60 less per unit. So, that’s what I’ve been going with this year.

I wear a tee just about every day and will continue to keep you updated on my findings!

Taylor Stitch

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While it bums me out that Taylor Stitch moved a bunch of their manufacturing over seas, they still know how to design a garment. Their latest is a hoodie built for the beach…

Details here.

Relwen Sailcloth Tanker

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A very light sailcloth jacket inspired by military ripstop and built like an absolute brick shithouse. Expensive, but worth every penny. Relwen does not play.

Details.

The Oxford

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Ryan, you feature casual clothes a lot and I was hoping to get your take on more formal office wear. For instance, I need a decent button down and would love something made in the USA that doesn’t make me look like a suit. Know what I mean?”

Man… I’m not your guy. I rarely dress formally and only when forced too… But, for button downs I don’t think you can beat a good Oxford just because they are so versatile. You can wear one with jeans and be fine on a date (the ones I go on anyhow) or throw it on with a suit and tie and get by at a wedding.

I think fashion guys are huge on collar shape, cut, etc… I’m not that guy, so have no idea if my choice meets those requirements… but my favorite is the selvedge Oxford that Todd Snyder sells.

Details here.

Interestingly, the site says this shirt is made in Portugal. Mine says “Made in the USA” on the tag. In any regard, wish I could be of more help…

The Low 1 Nomad

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Oliver Cabell is famous for making classic sneakers in Italy using responsibly sourced materials. And while this style isn’t my thing, I know a lot of folks are into it… And right now is rare moment – you can actually get a pair for under $300. These Nomads, for instance, are on sale for $188. Man…

Details.

Naked & Famous Blue Bird Selvedge

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The raw denim world is a weird one. Folks are so dedicated to breaking their jeans in with perfect fades that they will substitute cleanliness with STANK – never washing their denim. Different strokes for different folks I guess…

Naked & Famous is one of the more well known brands amongst these people. And recently, they’ve released a new light weight (9.5oz) raw denim jean that at least feels broken in from day one. The fades should come quicker too – whether you decide to wash them or not.

Details.

The Expedition Parka

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It’s cold as shit here today… So, I figured this was appropriate.

You know when you watch those Nat Geo shows and all those scientists are studying the life cycle of Polar Bears, how humans are screwing it all up, and it just looks cold as hell? Seems like they always wear gigantic boots, black pants, and a red a parka.

This is THAT parka… Apparently, it’s the warmest in the world and I sure could use one right now.

$1,500!!!!

Details.

Ciano Farmer Denim Co.

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I’m a fairly frugal guy, so it comes as a surprise to most folks when I tell them I own a pair of $295 jeans. The thing is though, they are the only pair of jeans that I own… and I bought them in 2015. So, as it stands I’m into these jeans at around $35 a year and they easily have a couple of years left in them. When retirement finally comes, I’d bet I’ll be down to somewhere around $25 annually.

That’s the thing about Denim. If you buy into planned obsolescence, it’s one of the more expensive textiles on the market. Take your typical Levi 501 as an example and you’re out somewhere around $50 a year if you aren’t too rough on them. Move up to a special edition Levi or a Lucky Brand, or whatever… and they can easily cost you over $100 a year.

To me, the key with denim is to spend more up front on a quality Japanese sourced fabric that is cut and sewn by someone that really knows what they are doing. Easy suggestions would be jeans from people like Naked & Famous, Iron Heart, SugarCane, etc… But, I think I’ve stumbled onto something even better.

Ciano Farmer Denim Co. is a tiny shop in Denton, TX that makes jeans and other denim products using the same tools and techniques that Americans used in the 1800s. They cut and sew one pair of jeans at a time to your measurements using the exact materials you want. Prices start at around $200 per pair and go up from there.

Sounds like a luxury product, right? If you are like me and work in a shop environment quite a bit, this is absolutely a frugal buy. But don’t trust me, do your own math…

Details here.