The industrialist Henry Ford is widely paraphrased as saying of his Model-T car that:
You can have any colour you like, so long as it’s black.*
Luckily for us, with these fantastic t-shirts by American Apparel, you really can ‘have any colour you like.’ Although if you want to be really fashion (and Parisian) you can just buy a load in black. This is a post that enthuses about one of the most basic things someone will own, because the t-shirt overcame the status of ‘underwear’ or ‘workwear’ in the 1950s. There aren’t many more versatile items. AA offer lots of different products, at different price-points, so I’m emphasising this review is about their ‘Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirts’ specifically.
Almost exactly a year ago, I took advantage of the fact American Apparel were in financial difficulties and were selling off their stock at a bargain rate. These beauties’ RRP is £15, and while I would say that they are worth the money, I certainly wouldn’t have bought 12 of them like I did when they were £4.80 each. I do a lot of work from home, and made a bulk order (I particularly like my ones in army green, baby blue, and yellow, as much as the ones in the classic colours of grey and white). I bought them to save on getting the iron out, and the fact they’re a Spring/Summer staple. In the winter, I put whatever jumper, sweatshirt or cardi that I want over it to create a simple, minimalistic outfit.
The other big plus with AA? Their quality is fantastic, but crucially they are produced in non-sweatshop conditions in downtown LA.
T-shirts are one of those items that tend to be cheap and mass-produced (and, therefore, likely to have origins from globalised, oppressive working conditions) – or, in the case of one of the luxury market leaders Sunspel, immensely expensive because of their premium materials. These really do what they say on the tin – they’re a great t-shirt. I also have a black-and-white Breton AA t-shirt that I bought recently and is definitely one of my favourites. They’re the opposite of the logo-emblazoned, mid-priced t-shirt (i.e. non-bargain basement), because their only labelling is hidden by their classic, not too tight and not too wide crew neck.
I usually take an XS/36″ in clothes, and I would recommend you go a size up. I haven’t tried on an XS from them, but my mediums fit reasonably well (before I slimmed down a bit) and my size S Breton fits bang-on perfect. I’m not a fan of that ‘muscle t-shirt’ look on the whole (being a skinny git I don’t have them guns to proclaim to the world through my bulging clothes. The fact I don’t like this gym monkey culture is another blogpost…).
So yeah, this is one of them product reviews where I’ve really lived with the product, and had time to work out how good value it is. I’m proclaiming them the Model T(-shirt). They’re even worthy of Seinfeldian names like Golden Boy and Baby Blue. Maybe I will call my army green Action Man, my mint Aquafresh. Ok, scratch that last one.
Other recommended makes: Uniqlo; ASOS t-shirts are serviceable; Topman have done some Made in Britain t-shirts in recent seasons, too, that have an interesting non-jersey material.
*Sticklers footnote: In reality, he said: “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”