For many, many years, I was someone who could not fathom spending more than 20 bucks on a T-shirt. Once the price shifted from bucks to hard-earned dollars (20 is about that number), I considered it more of a scam than a shirt.
But one bright spring day about five years ago, I stepped into a Barneys to kill time. Perhaps sensing my weakness, a sales associate led me over to the T-shirts, instead of the $4,000 leather jackets. “I’ve got like four of these,” she said, pulling out what looked like a basic gray T-shirt. “It would look great on you,” she added. Maybe I was hungry for some kind of approval, so instead of a noncommittal “Hmm,” I let her let me try it on.
I had to admit, it looked rather good, even under dressing-room lights. The material — a blend of polyester, cotton, and rayon — felt incredibly soft, and it hung — or draped, rather — in a flowy, expensive-seeming way. I felt powerless under its spell. And that’s how I became the slightly embarrassed owner of a $78 T-shirt. Even now, five years on, I’ve worn it more than I have any other shirt I own. On the hanger, it really does look completely nondescript — like any longer, slouchier gray T-shirt (probably one that costs half as much).
But the details reveal themselves over time. The neck is a bit wider than normal, which helps to casually reveal a hint of collarbone when you, perhaps, reach for a French fry or phone charger. The color isn’t exactly a washed-out heather gray, but more like TV static, with darker grays and speckly whites. I’m not the type of person to wear a blazer, but if I did, this would be the exact shirt I’d wear beneath it (it reads as very professional), as it handles a light front tuck as well as it does no tuck at all. Thankfully, you’re paying for quality, too. Mine has lasted this long without degrading at all.
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