What I Learned From Investing in an Expensive T-Shirt

Nicole Kliest

Sigh, the t-shirt. It’s been worn by the best. James Dean made girls weak in the knees wearing his, Jane Birkin proved its effortlessness, and French-inspired ladies everywhere build entire outfits around it. That’s why I’m constantly puzzled by the amount of scoffing and side-eye that well-made, slightly expensive t-shirt iterations get. It seems my friends don’t wink at spending a good portion of their paycheck on staples like a leather jacket or black bag, but when they catch wind of $100 being dropped on a simple white tee, it’s viewed as frivolous. So why spend more on this seemingly basic piece?  Perhaps a quick anecdote will do the trick.

A colleague and I were chatting the other afternoon about how we needed to go to the pharmacy to pick up some toiletries, and razor blades were on our shopping list. We simultaneously laughed at the fact that instead of buying the refill pack (which is usually priced around $20, but financially makes more sense in the long-term), we both buy a completely new razor every time because it’s half the price. Much like those pesky razor packs (which I still strongly believe should be available for individual purchase, but I digress), buying an expensive t-shirt that will last longer is smarter. To break it down mathematically (which I shouldn’t because I’m horrible at maths), if you spend $100 on a well-made tee that lasts you five years (probably longer), you’ll be saving $400 in the long run than if you grabbed a cheap $25 shirt every three months.

Though I probably don’t have to explain why the t-shirt is so essential, because I love it so much, I will. Unlike a printed blouse or pleated skirt, a tee works for every type of style. Whether you’re a minimalist who is content with wearing hers tucked into boyfriend jeans or a model-off-duty lover who likes to layer it underneath a moto jacket with ripped skinnies, everyone can find a place for it in their wardrobe. Also, it’s a staple that works in and out of the office, and there’s something to be said about that kind of versatility!

All that being said, I totally get the hesitance of splurging on something that could be rolled up to fit inside your evening clutch. Even my eyes start to glaze over when I see items with three digits, but after realising how tremendously helpful and financially responsible a well-made tee that won’t pill or fade after being washed is, I’m a devoted believer.

So how do you know if a t-shirt is worth investing in? An expensive price tag alone doesn’t equivocate to quality (we’ve all probably learned this lesson at some point), so I’d look to the fabric blends and also to designers you like and trust. If you prefer a more draped look, I’d opt for a silk-jersey version, but if a boxy shape is more your steeze, go for cotton variations. I’m currently sporting one that’s made of supima cotton jersey, and it’s what expensive t-shirt dreams are made of!

Scroll down to shop some of my favourite tees that will last, and don’t forget to share your thoughts on expensive t-shirts in the comments below!

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