Replacement for American Apparel tshirts?
August 29, 2018 12:46 PM   Subscribe

I wear a lot of plain black t-shirts, which I used to exclusively buy at American Apparel. Where do I shop now that my old ones are wearing out?

Things I liked about AA shirts: cotton but not that paper-stiff Hanes t-shirt feel, washed up nicely (I'm still wearing shirts I bought in 2012), slim unisex cut, made at least semi-ethically in the US. I bought the crew neck shirts in 100% cotton or the 50/50 blend.

Things I don't like in a tshirt: pleats/embellishment/trendy details, synthetic fabrics, any amount of spandex, thin see-through material. I'm female and fine with women's or men's shirts but don't like the fussy/trendiness of many women's tshirts.

Where do I shop now for similar shirts? I tried Uniqlo, but the synthetic in the fabric feels awful to me. Tried other fast fashion stores, but no plain tshirts to be found. Standard department store shirts are too thick and boxy. I know AA has an online store again but it's no longer made in the USA and apparemtly very bad quality.
posted by noxperpetua to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
LA Made, I like their black v-neck t-shirts. Buy them directly from their website or from an actual store, the ones sold on Amazon are weird and not nearly as nice.
posted by snaw at 1:00 PM on August 29, 2018

Sorry to direct you where you've been, but the Uniqlo Supima shirts are 100% cotton. My experience with them has been OK to pretty good. They feel a bit thinner and softer than AA and subjectively didn't seem to last quite as long. Maybe try the H&M T-shirt? I have no personal experience with them though.
posted by Dmenet at 1:32 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Came in to say the same as Dmenet: Uniqlo Supima have served me well as a replacement. Not as great, but good enough to get by.
posted by General Malaise at 1:41 PM on August 29, 2018

Russell Athletic Women's Essential Short Sleeve Tee is not made in the USA but hits all your other requirements. I've only had mine a few months, but I wear them every day under my work shirts and bought more for casual wear. I think they come in a v-neck. They say they run small, but I am average height and slim with a small bust and finally a plain small t-shirt fits me properly.
posted by hollyholly at 1:48 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Gustin offers 3-packs of black t-shirts from time to time.
The fiber content of various offerings changes depending on what they're trying to accomplish on a particular drop, but I have had *very* good luck with their t-shirts. Such good luck that I have to buy new ones - my wife has absconded with many of them to wear as nightshirts; they're very soft.
posted by notsnot at 1:50 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Everlane. They have both women's and men's/unisex cuts. Good quality, super soft, not US made but the company's whole thing is that they have an intensive factory vetting process to make sure their products are ethically-made
posted by capricorn at 1:51 PM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Can’t speak to their quality, but Los Angeles Apparel was founded by the founder of American Apparel.
posted by jimw at 2:48 PM on August 29, 2018

I may have different criteria than you do since I usually don't like 100% cotton clothes, but I love the American Apparel tri blend t shirts. In general, my experience with the new AA online store is that the quality ranges from about the same (for t shirts) to much better (dresses, ponte pencil skirts) as compared to the old AA. Also, for what it's worth, which may not be much I suppose, they still claim to be ethically made.

I also have an Everlane men's tee in the "air" fabric, which is 100% cotton but which I don't mind because it's light and not stiff. Here's the current air crew tree (I have a v neck in the same fabric). They also have a number of heavier 100% cotton styles, mens and womens.
posted by desert at 3:19 PM on August 29, 2018

I wear a lot of plain black t-shirts, and the ones I like best are Calvin Klein "cotton classic fit" that you get in three-packs in the underwear section at Bloomingdales or the like. The ones at discount places are not the same shirts. They wash really well, are a good weight but not overly so, and they don't have tags.
posted by gyusan at 3:22 PM on August 29, 2018

I use to buy AA shirts, and now I've been buying mine from (totally not joking) JoAnn fabrics that they sell for screenprinting and the like, but I wear them plain. 100% cotton, comfortable, not too long or boxy, and very inexpensive.
posted by transient at 3:34 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

AA quality hasn't really changed for better or worse since making their shirts abroad, and they still have a line of american made products. Alternative Apparel has an 'american made' line which is a solid go-to. Their other stuff is heavily audited for abusive work practices. After AA sort of ducked out of the domestic market, they adjusted thier sizing a bit to match american apparel. They're good quality for sure.

I wouldn't suggest LA apparel as a good alternative because the founder is a giant shitbag. They might be treating their workers right, you know with all that sexual harassment and assault.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:48 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

I bought some of the Everlane shirts, and the fabric was nice and soft, but it was a lot thinner than the AA and Uniqlo Supima fabric, which may be unflattering if you have any lumpy bits. I sent them back.

The American Giant shirts are very nice but not as soft - expensive, but they have a buy 5 sale every couple of months. So far they and Uniqlo are my favorite. I keep getting ads for Pact Apparel and Marine Layer but I haven't tried those yet.
posted by matildaben at 4:18 PM on August 29, 2018

H&M does sell plain tshirts- they have a whole collection called "basics" that's just plain cottony things, and which I think might actually be a deliberate attempt to fill the AA void. Not sure how their fabric (pretty good, I think) or labour practices (probably terrible) jive with your other criteria, but they do exist.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:44 PM on August 29, 2018

I literally took off the shirt I was wearing to check it because it was so exactly what you were describing. Turns out it was Uniqlo Supima, so yep, nthing that.
posted by mosst at 6:36 PM on August 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

AS Colour is a socially responsible “blank apparel” retailer. They are based in New Zealand but will ship from an LA warehouse. They have a wide range of t shirts in various colours and weights, the website is very clear about what thickness and fit to expect from each style.
posted by hgws at 6:41 PM on August 29, 2018

Cotton Bureau's Blank line. Scroll down for 100% cotton. A good friend has friends who've worked for them, and has vouched for the accuracy of their claims about ethical production.
posted by bagel at 6:46 PM on August 29, 2018

Nthing Uniqlo Supima. You want the ones that are hanging or folded, not in a package.
posted by supercres at 8:01 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Had some good luck with plain Ts from Everlane, too.
posted by knownassociate at 7:43 AM on August 30, 2018

Next Level Apparel, which come in both 100% cotton and tri-blend. Might try Bella & Canvas which are super soft and comfortable but may be too thin for you.
posted by a halcyon day at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2018

Tradlands Girlfriend T-Shirt, I'm wearing mine now and they are currently on sale! Thick and opaque yet soft, listed as ethically made (in China), slim fitting.

Seems to fit most of your requirements, I recommend them!
posted by Goblin Barbarian at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2018

« Older Grrrr.   |   Long cardigans, please. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.