Battle of the (Favorite Ethical T-Shirt) Brands: A Case for American Giant, by Jen Panaro

Several yeas ago, before being more thoughtful about what I wore, who made my clothes, where they came from, and why I bought them, I didn’t really have any favorite apparel brands. I bought myriad items I liked from clearance racks and discount stores, and I hoped they would meld together into some interesting and flattering combination.

Maybe I believed in the magic powers of these items coming together stylishly simply by coexisting in my closet? Needless-to-say, my haphazard shopping techniques were a recipe for routine style stumbles.

I don’t recommend it.

Hanging out in secondhand stores, reading more about the fashion industry, and learning about ethical brands from blogs like Leah’s, I quickly realized I had so much more to gain from thoughtful consumption than just a few more stylish outfits.

An Introduction 

Before getting into any more details about one of my favorite discoveries on my ethical consumption journey, let me tell you a little more about myself. My name is Jen, and I blog over at Honestly Modern, an ethical life and style blog that’s been my creative playground for nearly three and half years. In between raising two young boys with my husband and the daily grind of my corporate job, I love creating and sharing about our family’s conscious consumption adventures on Honestly Modern.

I’m more than thrilled to have the chance to “meet” all of you through StyleWise today. If you’re missing your daily dose of Leah, she’s over on Honestly Modern sharing all about one of her favorite brands. So don’t be shy. Pop on over there and see what good stuff she’s spilling the beans about.

Casual Perfection 

Now… to gushing praise for a brand I love that you might love too.

I’m a jeans and t-shirt (or maybe yoga pants, if I’m being honest with you) kind of girl. I like dressing up on occasion, and I’ve spent over a decade wearing business casual every weekday to visit clients. But if it’s entirely up to me, comfort is king queen when I’m in my element.

At the same time, I’m not a fan of feeling sloppy.

American Giant, an American-made casual apparel brand, has created a line of clothing that caters to just that appeal. Although their collections include sweat pants, t-shirts and hoodies, the company has expended extensive effort mastering fit and feel of their products (atypical for these types of clothes). They’re rocking and reinventing the market for the casual yet pulled together classic American vibe.

The brand spent years tinkering with their first piece, the perfect hoodie, which earned renowned media acclaim as “The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made”. I own a Classic Full Zip Hoodie in maroon and can attest that the quality and fit live up to the reputation and only get better with age (as intended).

Buying All the T-shirts 

Over the summer, following a move from Chicago to Philadelphia, I found myself living in much warmer weather and needing to expand my summer wardrobe a bit. I couldn’t wear the same three t-shirts all day, every day.

I researched a host of ethical brands, found a few that struck my fancy (including Leah’s beloved Everlane), and tried them all. While I like my Everlane shirt, and don’t disagree that the company has earned its acclaim, I fell in love with the American Giant Premium V-neck T. The shirt is a bit heavier, yet still breathable, a little longer than most t-shirts, and maintains a perfect casual yet flattering fit.

Over the course of the last few months, I purchased the shirt in black, navy, olive and blush, which is a pretty big deal for me. I (almost) never buy two of anything, let alone four. Yet now I live in my American Giant t-shirts almost every day.

Although I wish they had patterned options (currently only solid colors are available) like Everlane has recently added, I suspect they will come with time and appreciate the focus on quality of each piece as they build their collections.

These days, sustainable and ethical fashion brands seem to be flourishing, and bloggers like Leah and I have opportunities to share them with you. Despite the flow of new options, there are a few brands like American Giant, that stand out from the crowd. They’ve taken a different approach to business. They make products we can feel proud to wear and are built on stories and values we can be excited to share. And they’re never comfortable; they’re always striving for more greatness out of their products.

If you’re new to American Giant and I’ve piqued your interest, consider getting 15% off your first purchase with this referral link.

If you’re interested, stop by Honestly Modern to check out a few more brands I’ve highlighted that share our ethical values like Industry Standard (made in the USA denim), Nisolo (fair trade accessories) and thredUP (convenient and high quality secondhand).

Most importantly, stop over to see why Leah loves her favorite t-shirt brand, Everlane, as we “duke it out” in our friendly “battle of the (favorite ethical t-shirt) brands”. In this battle, I think you’ll find they’re both winners.

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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