Trends come and go, but sticking to a classic uniform can provide a stylish, signature look you’ll never regret. That’s the funny thing about fashion: In a revolving merry-go-round of recycled trends and kooky style tricks, most tastemakers—stylists, designers, and editors—simply stick to a minimalist uniform. No muss, no fuss.
As a style editor, I’ve developed my own sort of uniform. It adjusts by occasion—sometimes swapping a leather Moto jacket for a tailored blazer—but I constantly wear a simple black T-shirt. It might sound basic, but not just any black T-shirt will cut it. The beauty of developing an everyday uniform is knowing you’ll get the most wear of an item, and once you find the perfect pieces of your timeless style equation, you’ll never have to to think twice about what you’ll be wearing next season. Because you’re saving your hard-earned dollars avoiding tricky trends, you can invest in the best-of-the-best options on the market. For me, it’s Sunspel’s classic cotton tees.
Consider this the Goldilocks of minimalist T-Shirts: not too fitted or loose, not too thick or thin, and definitely not too long for the average man’s torso (blame Bieber for that trend). Beyond the perfect shape, this T-shirt has become an essential in my closet for its high-quality fabric and impeccable construction—something Sunspel has mastered with their luxe offerings.
You might not have heard of the British luxury brand before, but you’ve seen Hollywood’s dapper leading men don the brand on the big screen; both Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.
“Dressing Daniel Craig as the new James Bond, I thought that it would be a perfect collaboration of quality and Britishness to ask Sunspel to create all his T-shirts, polo shirts, and underwear, which they duly did, excellently,” says Casino Royale costume designer Lindy Hemming. “He looks very sexy and happy in their clothing.”
If Sunspel’s polished T-shirt can transform Craig into a suave James Bond, it surely can elevate your everyday look with a touch of swagger. However, this T-shirt will cost you $90 a pop.
Sunspel Men’s Classic Cotton T-Shirt in Black
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Truthfully, this tee is nothing like that cheap multiple-pack you might have impulse purchased with your household goods on Amazon. It’s an elegant, refined T-shirt that’s been tweaked to perfection for over a hundred years. We’re talking about an exceptionally soft T-shirt that’s so smooth, it has a natural sheen, making it versatile for casual and formal occasions—meaning you can finally ditch that uncomfortable button down.
On a recent trip to London, I travelled to Sunspel’s factory in Long Eaton—where the brand has produced their classic T-shirt for over 80 years—to learn how they make this irresistible wardrobe essential that justifies spending almost $100 on a single tee.
“The difference for me, a designer,—having worked at more affordable brands before Sunspel—is that we would never know where our cotton is coming from,” says David Telfer, Head Designer of Sunspel, on the difference between their luxe tee and cheaper alternatives. “At other brands, we’d just pick it up and go “oh, that’s nice”. It was the first time I had not even heard the phrase “long staple cotton” before working at Sunspel. Here, we know we’re getting a good fiber, we know the way we’re knitting it, and we know we’re able to deliver a great product.”
As we walked through the spotless factory—nothing like the big textile mill fight scene in Wanted that I was picturing—Telfer and his team explained the importance of long staple cotton in making incredibly soft and durable T-shirts. Within a cotton boll, the majority of fibers are short staple (most likely used by cheaper clothing brands) and only approximately 20 percent of those fibers have a longer length that Sunspel uses in their cotton tees, making it a pricier purchase. When fine spun, long staple cotton creates a silky-soft texture and a natural sheen.
Sunspel puts their fabric through multiple processes—such as gassing that burns off any external hairs for the smoothest finish—and utilizes a specific dying process with less water to give their tees rich color. With multiple stages of quality check in a factory filled with highly-skilled employees that have worked there for decades, the brand is able to produce a perfected product that merits every penny of its price tag.
To have the perfect, utterly-stylish uniform, timeless pieces made of finest materials and impeccable construction are more justifiable—and more sustainable— than cheap duds that fall apart after few wears. Sure, you can argue that Bond might have the cars, the babes, and the tricked-out gadgets to carry himself with confidence and swagger, but without the armor of well-made, timeless garb, we highly doubt any skilled actor could possibly channel the fictional style icon that’s inspired men for generations.
Score Sunspel’s Perfect Cotton T-Shirts Here:
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