Sturdy tshirts
July 29, 2007 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know a good place to get sturdy, plain, colored tshirts with no logos on them? Cost is not much of a factor.

I still own some (admittedly raggedy) gap tshirts from the early 90s, but anything I've bought from them in the last 10 years or so falls apart in about a year. It seems like the latest trend is toward thin soft material that feels good immediately but doesn't stand the test of time. Old gap tshirts were thick and a little stiff, but after wearing and washing them a few times they would feel great.

Don't try to send me to American Apparel, btw, I bought 2 tshirts there last year and neither one lasted 6 months.
posted by overhauser to Shopping (28 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in NYC, btw.
posted by overhauser at 10:23 AM on July 29, 2007

I still own some (admittedly raggedy) gap tshirts from the early 90s, but anything I've bought from them in the last 10 years or so falls apart in about a year.

I agree with this (I'm wearing an ancient Gap t-shirt right now). It applies also to Gap khakis. Gap seems to be migrating toward cheaper and cheaper fabrics.

I've heard good things about American Apparel, but have never tried them myself.
posted by jayder at 10:31 AM on July 29, 2007

Duh, sorry, I should have read the question!
posted by jayder at 10:31 AM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

K-Mart. I'm not sure how much really hard use yours get, but the K-Mart ones are cheap enough to make up for it if they do fall apart too soon.
posted by dilettante at 10:33 AM on July 29, 2007

How about these? Cheap, sturdy, available in a bunch of colors and from a bunch of places.
posted by jtfowl0 at 10:43 AM on July 29, 2007

Land's End? If you're unhappy with the quality of the shirt, even years later, they'll give you your money back.

From personal experience with their t-shirts, they won't have to.
posted by stereo at 10:47 AM on July 29, 2007

You might try workwear t-shirts, often marketed toward contractors and tradespeople and whatnot. I've got a few Carhartt t-shirts (and at least one from Duluth Trading Company, and Sears' Roebucks workwear brand), and they're probably pretty close to what you have in mind. The Beefy-T isn't a bad choice either.
posted by box at 10:56 AM on July 29, 2007

Seconding Land's End. They last for ages.
posted by ROTFL at 10:56 AM on July 29, 2007

My local craft store (A.C. Moore) sells Haines (maybe Beefy-Ts, but I'm not sure) for about $4/each, in lots and lots of colors.

My husband has some nice t-shirts from Eddie Bauer; I think those only come in dark earth tones, though (he's got navy and dark green). They seem to hold up pretty well.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:56 AM on July 29, 2007

I wear colored no-logo T-Shirts essentially every day. I've been doing this for ~20 years.

Assuming they are the same as when I last ordered some, This. is easily the sturdiest T-Shirt I've ever worn. It looks like they're on clearance (with limited colors available), because they're being replaced by these, though. Ouch on the price, but these things last 3-4 times longer than any other shirt.

These are a very close second. Theyre really comfortable and much softer than the typical heavy-weight Tee -- I've found that some people have a hard time keeping their hands off of it.

Cabela's pigment-dyed house brand is pretty decent as well (in crew neck, too), though I find their colors to be lacking.

When I was younger, and a little more likely to be broke at any given moment, I used to have a friendly screenprinter who would sell me blank Beefy-Ts or Russell Pro-Cotton by the dozen. The Russell stuff tended to last a little longer, but either was better than the crap you can get from American Apparel these days.
posted by toxic at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

Alternative Apparel is like American Apparel, but with much better quality control.

I ran a screen printing shop for years and American Apparel shirts are by far the worst manufactured of any brand or price-point.
posted by bradbane at 11:03 AM on July 29, 2007

Oops, here's the correct link: Alternative Apparel
posted by bradbane at 11:04 AM on July 29, 2007

Does Alternative Apparel use thicker cotton? American Apparel may have crap quality control but it's the fabric that makes them wear through fast.
posted by smackfu at 11:06 AM on July 29, 2007

LL Bean has things like this.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2007

My husband gets his t-shirts from Union Jean Company and has no complaints, as far as I have heard.
posted by Lucinda at 11:44 AM on July 29, 2007

JC Penny. Not sure if that chain is in NYC but I've bought quite a number of shirts that fit your description exactly there.
posted by Riemann at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2007

My boyfriend buys tshirts from Banana Republic and they are so incredibly hot. He is broad-shouldered with a little bit of a belly and they manage to cling to the shoulders without emphasizing the gut. They're also made from a nice soft fabric and have held up well so far.
posted by ch1x0r at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2007

My plain $10 t-shirts from Target have lasted several years -- longer than the plain $35 ones from J. Crew I bought around the same time.
posted by scody at 12:50 PM on July 29, 2007

Thanks, everyone! I'll try to remember and report back on my findings.
posted by overhauser at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2007

Eddie Bauer. Reasonably cheap, and they get softer as they age; plus, I have three black ones I've had for 6 years and they are still as solidly stitched as the day I got them.
posted by pdb at 6:13 PM on July 29, 2007

Another vote for Land's End, if you want durability and cost is not a factor (not that they're that expensive, but you do pay a bit more). You can get them at Sears nowadays. I can't speak to whether there's been any quality degradation since Sears took them over, though.
posted by dhartung at 6:25 PM on July 29, 2007

2nd eddie bauer. My husband still wears some he's had for 10 years. Just bought him a load of new ones. Really good shirts!!
posted by pearlybob at 7:35 PM on July 29, 2007

believe it or not, but I bought a passel of brooks brothers t-shirts (no logos, not even the golden fleece) about 5 years ago that I still wear regularly. I'm not sure if they still use the same cut/fabric, but those have withstood the test of time. at the smaller stores, they only put them out in the summer, but you should be able to find plenty at the main store at 45th and madison. my favorites for the winter are the long sleeve ones, which might be downstairs in the sleepwear/underwear/socks area.
posted by rye bread at 10:13 PM on July 29, 2007

Since you're in NYC, you should check out the plain t-shirts at Uniqlo. They come in almost every color of the rainbow and are often on sale for as little as $4/each. I don't know how durable they actually are since Uniqlo has only been in the US for a little over a year, but my boyfriend's shirts seem to be holding up just fine.
posted by dropkick queen at 11:37 PM on July 29, 2007

Seconding the Banana Republic tee recommendation. They were the first t-shirts I encountered that ditched itchy tags and silk-screened the "Made in Whateverstan" legal copy on the inside of the shirt instead; for this, I will love them forever.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:13 AM on July 30, 2007

No sweat apparel.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:02 AM on July 31, 2007

For those who've come by later, and read my answer above, only to discover that my link is now borked, I give you, a new link, to the sturdiest T-Shirt I've ever worn.
posted by toxic at 9:55 PM on August 7, 2007

This metatalk prompted me to come back and say that I tried a couple of the suggestions here, and so far the land's end tshirts were the closest to what I was looking for.

If I remember I'll come back in two years and let you know how the 8 I've bought so far hold up.

Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by overhauser at 10:14 PM on October 13, 2007

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