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The quest for the perfect T-shirt is a well-documented one. Every few months another publication approaches the topic (including this one), and brand after brand has claimed to have cracked the code. You know why this subject never gets old? Everybody wants a go-to shirt to solve another age-old question — “What the hell am I going to wear today?” — yet they’re harder to find than you’d think.
For me, the ideal T-shirt is both comfortable and flattering; it should look (and feel) equally at home with jeans, a slip dress, a fancy pencil skirt, or your pajama pants. You shouldn’t have to dry clean or hand-wash it. And it shouldn’t cost so much that you can’t afford to buy multiples or replace it. I used to steal my dad’s old Hanes shirts after they had lived through a few hundred washes, right at the point when they were getting holes in the underarms, because the perfect T-shirt remained elusive.
Yesterday, sustainable California label Lacausa tossed its hat (er, shirt) in the ring with the launch of its “Uniform” collection, which is essentially a bunch of different T-shirts in varying lengths and neutral colors that had been offered previously, now available year-round.
Lacausa’s shirts definitely meet most of the criteria, except maybe the last one. Prices start at $53 and run up to $80, which is a lot for a cotton T-shirt. But if you’re willing to spend a little more for something you know you’ll wear often — or if you’re already hooked, like Racked’s associate market editor Tanisha Pina, who (no shade) wears hers like once a week — the brand has done something pretty cool here with the number of iterations to choose from.
There are tall tees, regular tees, baby tees, and muscle tees; they come in several different colors that read as white, off-white, or super-pale pastels; there are also several barely-there tie-dye prints and, of course, black. Each one is ever so slightly different, so it’s possible to justify buying yourself a bunch of versions of your new favorite shirt because they’re actually all different shirts.
In addition to the genius of the color and proportion play, all of the Uniform shirts are rendered in extremely soft, gauze-y cotton that’s almost see-through without actually being sheer. Basically, Lacausa figured out how to manufacture my dad’s pre-worn Hanes shirts but even better, and, you know, not old. (Someone on the design team must know where I’m coming from, because there’s actually a dress that’s called Dad’s Shirtdress.)