There has been a lot of drooling recently over Jeremy Allen White’s character in the FX show The Bear. But mixed in with all the memes about our collective desire to answer him with a willing “Yes, chef” and some people’s fantasies of becoming the floor he so obsessively scrubs are a lot of menswear enthusiasts searching for his basic white T-shirts. In fact, just a few days ago we received a request to ID Carmy’s tees via a comment on an unrelated Strategist Instagram post about Nathan Fielder’s laptop harness.
Before we had time to respond, another commenter responded that menswear writer Jake Woolf had answered this very question in a recent TikTok breaking down Carmy’s clothing on the show. The shirts, Woolf said, were Velva Sheen, a heavyweight tee that’s made in L.A. and comes in deadstock-looking plastic-wrapped two-packs. Soon after, this was further confirmed on Reddit — user u/chicagoREtoMED posted to ask if anyone could ID Carmy’s tees, and one of the hosts of Throwing Fits, a podcast about men’s fashion, responded soon after with Velva confirmation straight from the horse’s mouth. (“From the creators of the show: Velva Sheen and the Mens Brando shirts, plus the supreme white Hanes.”)
So problem solved. Except when we scrolled down the TikTok and the Reddit thread, we noticed that commenters in both places were arguing convincingly that in at least some of the scenes, Carmy appeared to be wearing tees from Merz B. Schwanen, a German basics company.
Four details — as pointed out by Woolf and Classicvisit1849 on Reddit — made it abundantly clear that Carmy’s wearing a Merz in multiple episodes, including the opening scene of the pilot: the width and rolled style of the crewneck, the triangular armpit inserts, the outline of the tag on the back, and the loopwheel cotton construction of the tee. (A slow, old-school way of producing fabric.)
We reached out to the costume designers on The Bear to verify this. Cristina Spiridakis, who was the costume designer for the pilot, confirmed that the tee White wears in that episode is a Merz. Courtney Wheeler, the costume designer for episodes two through eight, told us that that in addition to the Merz, Carmy’s wardrobe also included Japanese-made Whitesville T-shirts, which are similarly tubular knit. “The Whitesville neck and the Velva necks are similar but he actually never wore Velva Sheen.” In fact, Chester (played by Carmen Christopher), roommate to Lionel Boyce’s character, Marcus, is the one who wears Velva Sheen in the show (but under a suit in one scene and a Drake’s rugby shirt in another), Wheeler said.
According to Woolf, wearing tees made out of loopwheel cotton establishes Carmy as a real Americana head (in case the early scene of him selling off vintage denim to pay for beef wasn’t enough). “For guys in the know, the idea that he’d wear tees that are made the old-school way makes sense,” he says.
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