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The Best T-Shirt Brand Is Actually a Denim Brand

Mother has cornered the market on cool novelty tees, despite not being known for them.

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a model wearing a faded black t-shirt that says “lover” in rainbow letters
Mother Lover Tee in Faded Black ($73.50)

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I have a serious love/hate relationship with T-shirts. On the one hand, I would probably wear one to a wedding if it were socially acceptable (I don’t care how informal the nuptials, it’s never acceptable. Neither are jeans. But this is a story for a different day.) On the other hand, for a fashion editor, finding a brand that makes soft, well-fitting, and stylish tees was always surprisingly difficult. And then it finally happened — totally by chance.

Having covered the denim market for years, you’d be hard-pressed to find a jean brand I don’t know about. One of my favorites since its inception has been Mother. The seven-year-old brand has collaborated with everyone from Miranda Kerr to the Self Evident Truths Project, a photography project documenting 10,000 people in the US who identify as anything other than 100 percent straight. (I personally discovered its tees through another collaboration, this one with The Kind Campaign.)

The brand is obviously known for its jeans, but the T-shirts are equally perfect. They’re not boxy or stiff, and they don’t do that weird “women’s fit” thing because someone thinks all females want to wear a scoop neck and cap sleeves (ew). They’re slouchy without looking sloppy, and cool enough to wear out. (The dream!)

And then, of course, there’s how they feel: soft, but never flimsy. “The yarn spinning and washing of our T-shirts has the same care and attention to the hand as our jeans,” says cofounder Tim Keading. “And of course, the fit is perfected first before anything else.”

A model wearing a white tee that says “lover” in black lettering
Mother Little Goodie Goodie Tee - Lover in Dirty White ($73.50)
A model wearing a gray tee that says “Saint” on it and black jeans
Mother Saint Tee in Faded Black ($105)

And while all that alone was certainly enough to get my attention, the cheeky, just-ambiguous-enough phrases on each style were what kept me coming back. In a market saturated with T-shirt slogans like “But First, Brunch” (no) and “Sunday Funday” (double no), sometimes it’s nice to have your shirt say something a little more subtle. Clever wordplay is near and dear to my heart (literally and figuratively, in this case), and these shirts give a nod to my personal style without totally distracting from it by using my chest as a billboard for clichés.