Lady White CO.'s Perfected MADE-IN-LA tees
BY TYLER SANDOVAL
When the homies at Canoe Club hit me up and asked if I was interested in writing about the LA-based t-shirt and sportswear brand Lady White Co, I was both Pumped and Jacked. Pumped to continue my dream of becoming a fashion blogger, and Jacked because Lady White Co is exactly the kind of brand I often find myself falling in love with these days; a small, independent brand who goes all the way in on making archetypal items with unique-but-not-convoluted silhouettes, a focus on construction, a great relationship with their manufacturing partners, and crisp, substantial fabrics.
They started in 2015 as a t-shirt brand, white t-shirts, specifically, and since then have expanded into a full line of LA-made jersey-and-fleece-based sportswear. Their boxy hoodies and raglan sleeve thermals are both cult favorites, but t-shirts are still very much their flagship items. It feels like there’s an abundance of LA-based sweats-and-t-shirts brands these days, but a quick perusal through their Instagram or website shows that Lady White Co are, in fact, Built Different. Rather than the bland and seemingly inescapable algorithm-bait timeline-brand minimalism, theirs is a brand of minimalism in the Helmut Lang and Jil Sander lineage; foundational, in this case American, sportswear approached with a sense of fastidious simplicity.
I have to admit that prior to starting this piece, I didn’t have a ton of (any) first hand experience actually wearing Lady White Co tees in my daily life. The only time I’d tried on LWC stuff before this was IRL at County LTD in 2019, their previous flagship they shared with homeware retail counter-space that had the brilliantly simple tagline “T-Shirts and Chairs”.
While the white tee is an integral part of the Cool Guy Uniform, from James Dean to Dem Franchise Boyz to Carmy Berzatto, as a sloppy and disgusting eater, I tend to gravitate towards colors that have even a slightly better chance of hiding my routine cheeseburger stains. I opted for the pale pink Eraser colorway because a) it's a CC exclusive b) I wanted something that had a bit more going on than plain white but was still neutral c) it’s always nice to see an earthy washed out pink that doesn’t have Millennial Minimalism vibes. The 6 oz cotton has a really nice crisp, maybe even slightly rough, hand. The tubular (in the ‘no side seams’ way, but also the ‘90s cartoon surfer’ way) construction gives it a nice drape, and the fabric is both heavy enough to hold that shape and light enough to flow a bit without the kind of clinging that often comes with lighter fabric (and which I personally hate). My current wide/boxy t-shirt kick typically leads me to shirts with longer, elbow-length sleeves, which I do like, but these Lady White Co joints have shorter sleeves which bring a sexier vibe and a chance to hint at the fruits of my labor of adding arm work into my training routine the last few months. I’m excited to rock these in the office the next few weeks to see how they feel in action and see what, if any, comments the local office cuties (in the enlightened, gender-neutral sense) have to say about them.
While I think finding the ‘perfect t-shirt’ is an inherently Sisyphean task, and that that kind of ‘problem solving’ mindset is a kinda wack way to think about something as personal and potentially joy-inducing as clothes, it is cool to see Lady White Co get their flowers on that front. Last year, NY Times’ Wirecutter highlighted them as a “high quality, high style” option. They’re favorites at GQ, who have included them on multiple best-of t-shirt lists over the last couple years. But that isn’t what Lady White is aiming for. They have a specific, meticulously crafted vision for how they want their t-shirts to look and feel in a way that’s obvious the first time you pull one of their shirts over your head; “an uncommon approach to familiar classics”, as their website puts it. And it feels really good to be able to feel and inhabit that perspective in such a simple garment that so many of us often take for granted within our wardrobe. The search for the ‘perfect t-shirt’ isn’t about the journey, or even the destination; it’s about the company.