The designer at work: Inspecting the details of a T-shirt sample.

(Photos: Courtesy of J.Crew)

The Process

Making the Perfect

Funny thing about T-shirts: they're so simple, so basic and ubiquitous that you'd think that they're all essentially the same. But you know a quality one when you see it. It hangs differently than your standard tee. There are small, almost indistinguishable details. It just looks cool, right? That's the vibe Frank Muytjens and the design team at J.Crew were going for when they set out to make a new line of garment-dyed T-shirts. "We wanted to replicate that faded old T-shirt you just can't let go of," says Muytjens, who boasts an impressive personal collection of decade-old tees.


The softer shades of the shirts are a great way to introduce some subtle, easy color into a menswear palette.”


Hand-crafted in Los Angeles, the shirts start out as a lightweight but textured cotton fabric. The T-shirt's design was given thowback details like a slightly twisted, thinner neck trim and a simpler patch pocket. Once the shirts have been sewn, they are dyed and washed together as whole pieces (hence the name "garment-dyed"), resulting in unique highs and lows of colors because of the way the dye pools at the seams. The process also creates that lived-in, washed-out, perfectly imperfect feel. "The nature of the garment-dying process also means the color of each shirt is going to be slightly different," says Muytjens. "Which just adds to their charm."

$45, at J.Crew

The Process