Last month, I visited Zara, a clothing store I had never been to before. I had heard good things from a couple friends, and I was curious what the store had to offer and how I looked in their clothes. I wrote a post about how the outing was a complete bust: I’m too broad and big (even with my 163-pound weight loss) for their silhouettes. I was far from distraught about the experience – at the end of the day, knowing where not to shop is just as helpful as knowing where to shop. But I did have a moment of disappointment (just a moment, nothing lingering), because it was another bust in my ongoing quest to find a good, well-fitting, basic t-shirt.
For the past year or so, I’ve been on the lookout for a retailer that sells good quality, basic tees in a variety of colors. My search has always been a back-burner one – I haven’t gone out just to shop for t-shirts, but when I’m in a store for another reason, I’ll check out their offerings and try them on. The perfect t-shirt for me is flattering (duh), made of a heavier fabric, long enough to cover my belly with my arms raised above my head, and priced reasonably. Turns out that’s a tall order to fill! And it turns out the best t-shirt for me was right under my nose the whole time.
One of my favorite t-shirts right now is simple, black, and made by Champion. I wear it about once a week (provided I’m keeping up with my laundry). It is an all-occasion t-shirt: I work out in it, wear it casually with jeans, and wear it under fancier clothes sometimes, too. I’ll even wear it horseback riding, like I did in the Caribbean a few months ago:
That t-shirt came at a sporting goods store (I forget which one) about a year ago, and even though I recognize it as a favorite item in my wardrobe, for some reason, it never occurred to me that I should go and buy more somewhere. Perhaps that’s because I was stuck on the idea that my perfect t-shirt would be a store brand (like Old Navy or American Eagle) or a in-house brand at a bigger store (like Sonoma at Kohl’s or one of Macy’s in-house lines) – and Champion is neither of those. It’s an established brand that’s found at a number of retailers, certainly, but there aren’t Champion stores (except maybe at outlet malls?).
I was driving around recently when I heard a radio commercial for Sports Authority, promoting a sale on Champion basic jersey t-shirts. I had a flurry of epiphanic thoughts:
- “Hey, I have one of those!”
- “That’s a really good deal!”
- “I should go and buy some, since I love the one I already own!”
- “Ohmigod, Champion makes my perfect t-shirt! Why haven’t I ever realized this? David, go and stock up NOW!”
I made it to Sports Authority the very next day, and walked out of the store with six brand-new t-shirts:
Right now, I have t-shirts in my drawer that are size L, size XL, and one or two XXL – since sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, I fit in all three (these are ridiculously smaller than the t-shirts I was wearing at my heaviest, which you can see here). The Champion t-shirts are size XL, but I know from experience that they’ll shrink a little bit.
Wanna know the best part (excluding, of course, the satisfaction of knowing that I now have a go-to brand for t-shirts that look great on me)? They cost me $6 apiece! The Sports Authority sale price (which is unfortunately over) was 3 for $18. Score!
Keep it up, David!