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I started stumbling into adulthood during a peak period for unbelievably thin T-shirts. This was right around the time that bedazzled back pockets were also hitting their high-water mark, and the shirt you'd see above those glittering butts was invariably wispy, airy, and unsubstantial to the point of nearly disappearing. Fabric would cling, then rip. Holes would appear after just a wash or two. Hey, that's fashion—but it's also what made me, for a good chunk of time, not much of a T-shirt guy.
I've come all the way around, though. Because now? Now I am very much a T-shirt guy. And the reason for my enthusiastic conversion is simple. Tees beefed up. They got a little meat on their bones. They became substantial. Sturdy. And I love that shit. So naturally, when I got my hands on a T-shirt actually named "The Sturdy Tee," boxes started checking for me right off the bat. Here's why I think it'll do the same for you.
It is (you guessed it!) sturdy
If you haven't experienced the pleasing heft of 225gsm (that's "grams per square meter," in case you're wondering) cotton settling around your torso, let me tell you right now: It's nice. At this weight, you're getting something denser and more structured than those gauzy tees I mentioned before. It's not so heavy that it's stifling or difficult to move around in, but you know it's there. Instead of clinging to your body, it skims it. So if you put on a few pounds during the pandemic—or just had a particularly indulgent spring—you don't have to worry about tugging your tee away from your gut all day. Plus, the Sturdy Tee's heavier cotton wears in better than its lightweight counterparts. I haven't managed to wash mine enough to mimic the kind of wear a shirt will get after longterm of ownership, but I know from experience with other weighty tees that durability is a standard feature. And having tested the Sturdy Tee, I'd be shocked—shocked, I say!—to see it develop any holes or general threadbareness before many years have passed.
But it's also soft
The thing about some of those other weighty T-shirts I've worn in the past? They start out crispy. Like raw denim, they aren't exactly kind to your skin in the early stages of their evolution. Some folks don't mind that. Some do. If you fall in the latter camp—and let's be real, most of us do—then you'll be pleased to learn that the Sturdy Tee arrives feeling like it's already been broken in. That's thanks to the garment-dying process, which softens things up considerably. Some sturdy tees, like the one in Raven that I've been wearing, get their hue from reactive dye, which offers the sort of uniform, solid color you've likely come to expect from your basic shirts. Others use pigment dyes, so in addition to feeling like they've been worn to perfection, they also have the vintage-y vibe that comes from slightly more faded look. All you have to do is pick your poison. And if you can't choose, well, at $25 a shirt, there's no harm in trying both options.
It doesn't take things to extremes
Line of Trade's tee isn't the only heavyweight-but-still-soft tee on the market. In fact, the style is kind of (dare I say it?) trendy right now. One advantage the Sturdy Tee has in the marketplace, though, is that it doesn't go too far with any one element. The weight of the cotton is reassuringly heavy, but it's not like you're dropping an armored chest plate onto yourself in the height of the summer heat. And the fit is relaxed, but not too boxy. So if you've become accustomed to lighter-weight, slimmer-fit T-shirts, you're not going to deliver a massive shock to your system by trying this one out. It'll just feel a little easier and a little, well...sturdier. And that's the whole point.