It Took Four Years
to Make the Perfect T-shirt

It’s comfortable, affordable and built-to-last

Supima crew tee by Forty Five

You know a good T-shirt when you see somebody wearing one. And you definitely know a great T-shirt when you pull one on yourself. That's why most of us have that tee we reach for over and over. The very definition of a staple, it's the kind of garment that offers countless ways to wear it. But for such an important piece, the humble T-shirt is deceptively simple. So what, exactly, separates the perfect tee from just a standard one?

Therein lies the mission of Forty Five—a new line dedicated entirely to classic, well-made tees built to be worn time and time again, from the same team that brought you Flint and Tinder. “Our mission was to create an ideal fit that was soft and came out of the wash perfect every time,” says designer Brian Rather. “But, with a T-shirt, more than any other garment I've designed, the saying, 'the simplest things are often the hardest to get right' rings true.”

Think about it. A perfect T-shirt is about the little details, isn't it? The unique satisfaction that comes with wearing a shirt that fits in all the right spots—hugging your chest ever so slightly, with sleeves that land at the exact spot to accent your biceps. The fabric must be soft yet substantial. The collar shouldn't be too thick or too thin.

Advertisement

Supima crew tee by Forty Five
Supima crew tee by Forty Five

Our mission was to create an ideal fit that was soft and came out of the wash perfect every time.”

- Forty Five designer Brian Rather

These are not achievements that come easily or quickly. The Forty Five team has been thinking about and tinkering with tees for nearly four years, workshopping hundreds of samples, refining fits and finishes with their long-time factory in Los Angeles. “We first needed to define the problem we were trying to solve,” says Rather. “Then we brought in fit models for each size, and had our tech team meticulously assess each measurement.” The result is a tee that looks and feels as good on a big, athletic and barrel-chested dude as it does on slim guys or those looking to disguise a slight belly. It's relaxed, but not boxy, tailored and elongating.

Then there's the fabric—garment dyed to achieve the perfection of well-worn vintage tees from the '60s and '70s. The Forty Five team went with Supima cotton because the fiber is up to 40% longer than conventional cotton. “This might be too 'product-nerd' specific,” Rather warns. “But long-staple fibers are not only smoother, which equals softness, but they're more stable in the wash.” He tells me that after several durability tests, they custom ordered a Supima knit that was just slightly thicker yet just as soft and breathable. “If you held both in your hand, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference, but we've found it allows you to get a lot more wears out of them.”

Supima crew tee by Forty Five

Our mission was to create a perfect fit that was soft and came out of the wash perfect every time.”

- Forty Five designer Brian Rather

That longevity is even more impressive when you consider the price. Cut, sewn and dyed in Los Angeles with itch-free low-profile labels, the tees ring in at just $32. For a quality shirt that will only get better with age, it proves that the most basic of items can be a luxury, even if it's not priced to be.

As someone who wears T-shirts most days, I was eager to try this new brand and got a sneak preview of the finished product. First impression? I was relieved at how light they were—especially going into summer. It's breezy, soft and molds to your body like you've had it forever. The lean collar lays just right—a small detail that seemingly doesn't matter until you try it on and see that it does. It's clear that all that R&D really paid off. There's a unique satisfaction with slipping on a great T-shirt. It feels at once like a second skin and a suit of armor.

Get it before anyone else

The tees are launching early on Valet., which means you've got your pick of every color and size.

Supima crew tee by Forty Five

Supima crew tee, $32 by Forty Five

Forty five records

Origin Story

The name comes from the 7-inch 45 RPM record. The single record did one thing really well. It was a smaller, more durable and higher-fidelity replacement for the previous 78 RPM shellac discs.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

The Smart Way
to Start Your Day

The Daily Valet. is your cheat sheet to what you need to know right now. Never feel caught off guard again.

More on
Dressing Well

Advertisement