What the Blue Blazes is Going On With T- Shirts!?

I mean, seriously. I know there are about a bajillion-kazillion different choices out there, but I find it getting harder and harder these days to find a reasonably-priced, decent-quality tee on the high street. And the Highland Fashionista is not a gal who pays fifty bucks for a tee, let's be very clear about this. I tend to save my investments for things like shoes, bags, tailored pieces...you know, investment pieces. A tee is not an investment piece. Or it shouldn't be.  Because let's face it. After one summer, those white tees are yellowing and smell like sunscreen (at best) and the colourful ones are faded and they all just look tired.

What I am finding is that more and more, the tees on the high street are being marketed as "slubbed", "burnout", or "layering" tees. These are all metaphors for paper-thin. They hang poorly, have a strange, nubbly hand, and you can see right through to the waistband of your trousers, or worse.  Here is a perfect example from ASOS.  And bear in mind, this is the garment having been styled for the shot.

So thin that not only can you see her bra, or could if they hadn't photoshopped it,
but you can also see that she had her gallbladder out in 1995.

You want to know the best part about this tee? It is designer. It is a Kimberly Ovitz tee, made of lyocell (a type of rayon that came to market in the early 1990s (perhaps marking the beginning of the end of the quality tee shirt), and it costs....wait for it....120.00 GBP. Yep,  I know.

To me the concept of the paper-thin see-through layering tee is odd. Its a tee, and therefore it is the layer. I don't want my bottom layer to need another sub-bottom layer, you know? At some point, the Highland Fashionista will be taking off her cardigan, and would very much like the underlying tank or tee to be the final layer in her sartorial onion. And that material...gah! Look how it hangs....kind of drooping there, hanging-around like some obsequious personal-assistant that must rely on his owner for a sense of  structure and identity. If she had any boobs, that tee would be sticking to them like a wet shower curtain in a budget hotel.

And if you want to put these in the washing machine, or, God help you, the dryer!? Fugghetaboutit.

Let's face it. "slubby", "burnout",  and to an extent, "layering" is  a coined t - shirt marketing term, aimed at making a very cheap and poorly-produced fabric seem intentional.  One wash, and "slubby" has a brief period of "nubby" before it progresses to "grubby", and then, with a final agonal gasp, disintegrates.

So who makes a decent tee? H & M have some nice examples.  Their sportier line (aimed at the younger crowd) called LOGG occasionally make some lovely ones, but buyer beware, H & M  also have some truly awful ones, so you best try them before you buy them. Just last week I tossed one that I had worn twice. And the second time was only for an hour, while I went into work, only to change into my work clothes.  It lasted ONE wash, and I didn't even dry it.

Splendid has some wonderful tees as well, but they are more towards the higher end of the price  spectrum, and you all know how the Highland Fashionista feels about spending too much on a tee shirt. So...who else ?

Target (in the USA) historically has made some lovely tees. My husband has some from their men's department that have lasted a quite long time indeed. I haven't bought any of theirs in a while, for geographical reasons.

But my all - time fave, and available on both sides of the pond via the internet, thankfully, is (you guessed it)  by J. Crew, who I seem to be talking about a lot these days. With good reason.

J Crew Perfect Fit tees. Lots of lovely colors.
I think they normally run about 20 GBP 

Soft as silk, thick enough to be an actual shirt but slim-fitting enough to layer and be flattering if tucked-into a pair of harem pants or a full skirt. These are the business. And I think they are on special right now. So go get you some, girl! Just not before I get mine!

I would also like to take a moment to address the mass-market fashion retailers of the universe with my plea. On behalf of the t-shirt wearing population everywhere....please stop showing me substandard viscose and rayon blends and marking them like they are art. Just because you can see boobies through it, doesn't make it a Picasso.


  1. LOL! "just because you can see boobies through it, doesn't make it a Picasso". Too funny. I like the thin ones, but not if they're so thin they're see-through. I'll have to try J Crews. It's going to be time for me to get some new ones soon.

    1. Yep. I like them thinnish but I like the fabric to be even and durable. The perfect fit tees feel really silky and they give a nice silhouette without the peepshow. AND they are not 120 pounds. Thats about 200 dollars! Can you imagine?

  2. I used to get my Ts from a place in Canada called Tabi...but they went out of business :O(

    I find these cheap crappy Ts to be offensive...I wont even look at them in stores.

    1. Here Here. I feel like the retailers are insulting our collective intelligence by trying to pass these off on us!

  3. There is no Target in the Highlands? They're my favorite for a $10 t-shirt that you can't see through.

    1. Sadly, no. But I do stock up when I go home to visit...

  4. Nice to hear I'm not the only person on the planet who doesn't equate "thin & cheap" with "high fashion". When I see that "burnout" fabric in a shop, I just think "wash on delicate & drip dry & still won't last past a season". No thanks.


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