Review: Everlane Tees
My uniform is t-shirt and jeans. Call me boring, but being comfortable is high on my priority list for everyday dressing. That being the case, you’d think I would have found the perfect basic tee already, right? Wrong. I was still on the hunt for one at the beginning of this year, and I picked up a couple Everlane shirts after seeing a lot of people online recommend them – and for about three weeks I was convinced that my search was finally over. Wrong again.
On the surface, there’s nothing not to love about Everlane. They market themselves as making designer-quality clothing at affordable price by cutting out middlemen and avoiding the overhead costs that come with brick and mortar stores (they sell exclusively online). Their online tours of the factories they use gives the impression that they’re a truly fair trade operation with meticulous attention to detail. The product photos are great – they’re all shown as worn, and have gorgeous soft lighting. Between that and all the dedicated fans of the brand, when I made my first order I was ready to fall in love.
When the first package came in, I felt like I had made the right decision. The fabric was incredibly soft, thick enough to be opaque but thin enough to drape well. The fit of the v-neck tees isn’t oversized, but it’s not form-fitting either – just the sort of casual tee I wanted. The u-neck has a looser fit for a much more weekend-y look. I was so excited about them, and they looked so great when I put them on, that I ordered some more just a couple weeks later.
After around a month of wearing them, I noticed something odd about a couple of the v-necks – the seams didn’t line up correctly when I laid them on the drying rack to dry. I found that a little bit odd but didn’t think much of it. Then a little while later I noticed that the neckline on the v-necks – especially the white one – seemed to creep to one side when I was wearing them, and I had to keep adjusting it to keep it centered. But when the neckline was centered, the side seams didn’t actually fall at my sides; one was at the front of my hip, and the other one fell slightly to the back. And that’s when I realized that there was a problem. Over the course of about four months, the seams on all of the v-necks had twisted so much that they didn’t fit correctly anymore, despite the fact that I wash them in cold water and air-dry them. I thought maybe the u-necks had escaped the same fate, but nope. It’s just not as noticeable when wearing them since they’re a little more billowy. So I inspected all of them, and found a definite pattern.
Taking the photos was kind of difficult since they don’t lay flat correctly. I eventually decided to line up the underarm seams on each shirt and hang them on the drying rack. If you check out the right side of each shirt, you can see that the side seam has migrated to the front by varying amounts. One of the u-necks also has some major issues around the shoulders and neck:
When I hang them up (shoulder seams lined up on the hanger), the issue with draping is pretty obvious – the sides are majorly off center, and the point of the V pulls about 1.5-2 inches to the right. It’s also worth noting that the fabric on the white shirt (just the white one, none of the others) has gotten significantly thinner, to the point that I need to wear a cami under it.
I was afraid I had done something to cause all these malfunctions, so I took to the internet for a little bit of research in hopes of avoiding it in the future. What I learned from various fashion and sewing forums is that it’s all in the cut. I remember from my brief attempt at learning to sew that fabric is supposed to be cut along the grain (ie, straight along the woven threads), but I never knew why. Well, apparently twisty seams is what happens if you don’t cut on the grain. So when I learned that, of course I was massively disappointed. I could definitely understand having the occasional shirt that wasn’t cut properly – but five, in two different styles? Poor quality control is the simplest explanation for that, and the simplest answer is usually the right one.
Even though these shirts aren’t terribly expensive ($15 each), I did contact Everlane customer support about the possibility of getting a refund since there was a defect in the construction. After I sent the photos they requested, they did process two refunds – one for $15, and one for $25. I’m not sure where they came up with that second number, since I’ve never ordered anything from them that was priced at $25. That also didn’t add up to the full amount of the shirts, but I don’t plan on trying to get them to correct it. After all, I did get a couple months of wear out of them, and it’s just not worth the trouble. It doesn’t leave me with a great impression of their customer service though.
In Short: As great as these seemed at first, they fell far short of the high quality that Everlane advertises. I will not be purchasing from the brand again.
Everlane tees ($15) are available at everlane.com, if you for some reason still want one.