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Life of Colleen: Wardrobe: Supima cotton overload

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Wardrobe: Supima cotton overload
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

lands end supima cotton

I hesitated somewhat before selecting the topic of this post. After all, what could be more commonplace than a plain cotton tee shirt? Any point in blogging about one?

It's well to recall such a creature was once almost absurdly difficult to find. There was even a passage in Cheap Chic--a 1970's wardrobe bible, the first place I read about such concepts as Cost Per Wear--detailing exactly such a quest. The author went shopping in a major city for a plain, long-sleeved, solid-colored, 100% cotton tee shirt.

She ended up discovering a lone model at a store called Jax (Jaxx?). The shirt cost $12, which would be akin to paying $30 now for a plain tee shirt. Not through the roof, exactly, but high for what it is.

The author concluded, given the shirt was what she was looking for and came in a rainbow of colors, and given she couldn't find it anywhere else at a better price, $12 for the shirt was acceptable.

Tee shirts in those days...and for a long time, were synthetic or at best a blend. Typically they had a design or slogan printed on them. You could find plain ones, but those tended to be boxy men's tee shirts, where you had to snip out the neck or roll up the sleeves to feminize the look.

Now, of course, if you throw a rock, you'll hit a fitted, 100% cotton, non-embellished, decent-enough tee shirt. So now the challenge is rather finding one that won't fall apart after a year, doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and doesn't look hopelessly conservative.

For sheer spectral color selection, I defer to American Apparel (American-made shirts rather than American-grown cotton). Yet, apart from their unisex pieces, American Apparel is a juniors' sizing store. Not the place I'd go for basic pieces, in the main.

I stumbled across a cache of Supima cotton items on the Land's End site. Okay, I was searching specifically for Supima cotton on the Land's End site. I'm intrigued by the claim it wears better than non-licensed cotton.

At first everything looked...way square. Land's End used to have much nicer things, and now it's rather a J.C. Penney-looking site. Yet, what if there is something to it? I'll be interested to try some Supima from them.

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