You know that feeling when you realise a new purchase unleashes potential in an old, beloved garment? Like getting a yellow oxford and realising it doesn’t just look good with jeans, but also with your favourite herringbone jacket?
OK, I’m going to assume at least some of you do. Well, I was playing around with outfits to show the PS black Tapered T-shirt with last month; they were going to be restocked and I realised we’d never photographed the black.
When I wear black I instinctively put it with similarly dark colours – dark brown, dark olive – or very muted ones – pale denim, cold beige. I wouldn’t naturally think it would work with tobacco.
But then I remembered an image I’d saved from an old shoot, where the female model is wearing white jeans, a black T-shirt and a tobacco-suede jacket. So I tried the PS tee with my much-loved Connolly shirt-jacket and presto! What a lovely combination.
Exciting too, because as I said it opens up possibilities. You start to think: would a black sweatshirt look good as well? Would a black knit be too dark? And how about black jeans? Would they both work with my Himel Bros? (The answers were yes, no, yes and yes respectively.)
It’s such a nice feeling – like you’ve acquired not just one piece of clothing, but also 20% of a bunch of others.
A reader mentioned recently that they like behind-the-scenes articles, such as how products are developed, or how I think through outfits.
This is one way. Given the task of finding pleasing ways to wear a new piece of clothing, I start with the obvious and easy, progress to the more unusual, and shoot off on various tangents when one combination suggests another.
The clothes are laid out on the bed, usually. Ones that seem promising are tried on (you can’t do that with everything, it just takes too long), and if they pass that test they’re recorded with a selfie.
These are kept on file, in a folder on my phone. Which is backed up by Google on some super-server somewhere. At some point I might actually get around to categorising all of these so they’re browsable.
I don’t go through this process every morning, mind. That would count as obsession. Only when there’s something new to photograph for an article or a product launch.
Most other days it’s just a case of trying out one idea, knocking it around until I decide it works. Or it doesn’t, and I revert to something standard.
The easiest combinations are those like today’s black, white and tobacco, because they’re an extension to something I already wear – just replacing the standard mid-grey layer I’d usually wear under a jacket with this washed-out black.
It’s like another twig on an existing branch, on the tree of my personal style. Or something.
OK, returning to the more concrete part of this piece: this is the black PS Tapered T-shirt, which was restocked over the weekend along with white and navy.
The vast majority of the T-shirts went to the waiting list, but there are still some available. Also, quite a few readers bought two sizes in order to check their sizing, so if you’re size isn’t available it’s worth adding yourself to the waiting list, as we’ll get a few back.
On the black tee, it’s definitely a washed black – like a pair of old black jeans, not a black knit – which I find makes it easier to wear. The contrast with white/ecru jeans is not as stark. It’s softer against the face.
The navy is also a washed navy, as should be clear from the images. Not a classic-menswear dark navy. The white is off-white.
And for those that haven’t had one of the Tapered T-shirts before, what’s special about them?
Well, the idea is they combine the quality and weight of circular-knitted Japanese T-shirts, with a fit that is tapered and therefore much more standard. It’s the style of a tee you’re used to, from a Sunspel or a Uniqlo, but made to the level way as a heritage T-shirt – with all its character, strength and drape.
As I described at length when we launched the T-shirts last year, I’ve always loved Japanese circular-knitted T-shirts – by comparison mainstream tees can feel flimsy, almost like underwear.
The problem is they’re usually cut in a traditional (‘authentic’) shape, which is short and square. If you’re remotely slim, they’re not very flattering. Proportions do vary, but brands can’t do anything about the fact that the body is one piece, like a tube.
So we make the T-shirts in the same way as those heritage pieces, but afterwards cut a seam in the sides, to give them a more regular shape.
Importantly – at least to me – the collar is also high in the back, which I find more flattering than a traditional T-shirt. It’s the only reason I like wearing most sweatshirts without a shirt underneath: a sweatshirt will often be low at the back, but the tee fills in that space.
Many of the brands we like on PS recognise this and cut their knits higher at the back of the neck – Adret, Colhay’s, Rubato – but those are jumpers. With sweatshirts it’s much rarer.
Oh, and as promised we are still working on a grey version of the T-shirt. But as with a lot of production at the moment, there have been delays and delays. It will be months before that’s available I’m afraid.
Other information on the Tapered T-shirt:
- Made for us in Osaka by the brand Allevol. Allevol tees are nice, but have a different body fit and collar shape
- They use high-grade raw American cotton, which is spun in Japan into 14-count yarn (most high-street T-shirts are around half that, as well as of course using lower quality fibre).
- The material is knitted slowly on vintage circular machines, referred to as Taimaru. These are similar to loopwheel machines, but tend to create a denser material and a richer feel.
- The T-shirts have a bound collar: a separate piece of material which uses three lines of stitching to attach it to the body. This stops the collar stretching out over time – compare it to a mainstream T-shirt, and it’s remarkable how flimsy the latter feels. To avoid the collar being too stiff or bulky, the last line of stitching is on the body, attaching only to the collar on the inside.
- Treat like a dress shirt: wash cool and hang to dry. Do not tumble dry
- The material can feel a little stiff after washing, depending on the machine and detergent. But it should soften as soon as it is worn
- Being dense and malleable, the material has some natural stretch. So after washing don’t be afraid to give it a little stretch one way or the other, to gently add length or width.
- This is the same thing denim does after its washed, coming in a little and then going out as it’s worn again, adapting to the body. Doing this reshaping after washing is just accelerating that process.
- The T-shirts fit like any regular tee in the body (from Sunspel for example) which all have a slight taper
- The only difference you will notice is that the chest is a little larger, and the shoulder seam slightly dropped. Both of which I find quite flattering
- In the images above, I am wearing a Large
- However, I could also wear a Medium – I like the Large for a slightly oversized look, and the nice thing about the taper is that it doesn’t look too big. In the images below I’m wearing a Medium. Taka is wearing a Small
|Chest (pit to pit)||49cm||52||55||58||60||63|
|Hem (bottom width)||44||47||50||53||55||58|
|Length (from back neck)||60||62||64||66||68||70|
As mentioned in the article, please do add yourself to the waiting list if your size is not available, as we will have exchanges. And apologies there weren’t more – we ordered the maximum available. In Japan as in most places at the moment, high-end production is having capacity issues
Pictured sharing a joke with the lovely, always smiling Lorenzo Cifonelli. Below with Taka of Allevol and Clutch Cafe
For the other clothes featured, please see the launch article here, or ask in the comments for details