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.
Luckily for me someone told me about apparel finishing service, they offer the best materials.
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.
CatherineSeptember 1, 2014 at 1:44 pm
Really glad to know about the quality control issues, since Everlane markets themselves as being high quality. However, I do feel the need to defend their bags. I own one of their small backpacks and the weekender, and both have held up to a lot of wear and tear. The backpack certainly shows the wear in places, but is still perfectly useable after a year of constant and sometimes rough use. So if you ever need a bag, I wouldn’t immediately discount the brand. Thanks for the review!
NikkiSeptember 3, 2014 at 8:47 am
Good to know about the bags, thanks!
JMarch 14, 2015 at 10:14 pm
What are your recommendations for men’s U and V neck?
NikkiMarch 14, 2015 at 10:18 pm
Sorry, I haven’t tried them. But I’d expect them to have the same quality control (or lack thereof) since they’re made at the same factory.
SamJune 3, 2016 at 1:40 pm
I have tried their crew neck and polo t shirt. I have always been a great fan of the way they positioned their brand. However I was greatly disappointed with quality of the t shirts. After just a couple of washes t shirts started to deform. They lost their shape and fit completely. I do not recommended buying from them from my first experience.
SusanMarch 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm
Thanks for you review! I had a similar product failure as well from the Everlane slim wallet. The zipper broke after just one year of use. I emailed them about the product defect and they refunded me the full amount. I was greatly disappointed because I really like the slim fit and color. The concept is there just not the product quality that Everlane touts.
kristinJuly 31, 2015 at 11:25 pm
thanks so much for your review! i’m on the hunt for good quality tanks and tshirts, as i’ve just gotten sick of how most of them do not last. i had a bunch from madewell and jcrew and they’ve all gotten holes in them within 6 months. i don’t know, is it too much to ask that they last at least a year?
anyway, if you have found better quality shirts anywhere else, i would love to know.
NikkiAugust 2, 2015 at 5:43 pm
Glad it helped! I’m still on the quest for the perfect tshirt, sadly. So far the only one I have that hasn’t twisted in the wash is one of the Halogen slub-knit ones from Nordstrom, but even that has thinned out more than I’d like. It made it past the one-year mark though! So not bad if you can catch it on sale (usually ends up around $16).
AshleyAugust 24, 2015 at 7:38 am
Super helpful blog post and thanks so much or sharing this info.
Margaret CertainOctober 17, 2015 at 10:54 am
I’ve had similar issues with the Everlane cotton T’s, but not with their Ryan line of T-shirts. Those are made of rayon, I think, and there hasn’t been any twisting after many washes. In case anyone wants to give those a try.
NikkiOctober 20, 2015 at 12:08 pm
Good to know! How does the sizing run on the Ryan?
Judy MurdochMarch 30, 2016 at 6:31 pm
The Everlane boyfriend cardi looked so luxe on the website. But it began to pill and collected lint like mad. Hand washing it created a small hole. Although customer support accepted the return they advised me that the cardi should be dry cleaned only. Sorry I’ve owned many cashmere sweaters and they’re all hand washable.
I so want Everlane products to be the high quality they market but I’m skeptical after reading your review and after my personal experience with their cashmere.
After my experience with J. Crew I wonder if retailers see quality as a calculated risk. That most consumer don’t understand quality or don’t care so they can make their products sound amazing without having to deliver. I wonder if disposable fashion has lowered expectations to the point where this is possible.
I have considered finding someone who does costume design and hiring them to make me custom pieces. Then I have control over fabric quality, construction, and fit. I can’t help but wonder whether there’s a burgeoning niche developing.
NikkiMarch 31, 2016 at 12:05 pm
I agree, it seems like with the rise of fast fashion it’s getting almost impossible for brands to compete. At least, not if they want to provide high quality and use fair labor practices. I think you’re onto something with the costume design! I’ve started getting most of my accessories from etsy – I’m thinking about trying some made to order clothes from there too.