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Thursday, July 13, 2017


Image result for OLIVERS APPAREL SLEEVELESSOlivers Apparel: Los Angeles-based Olivers makes shorts, shirts, and sweat clothes for runners and gym-goers.  Their tank tops also would work well as streetwear.

Patagonia: With Ventura-based Patagonia, you get what you pay for.  What you pay is a lot.  What you get is exactly what you want.  Patagonia’s gear and clothing looks great, it works perfectly, and it is manufactured as ethically and sustainably as reasonably possible.  I do not yet own a Patagonia tank top.  But I do own a broad cross-section Patagonia clothing and gear, all of which may very well last me forever. 

American Giant: San Francisco-based American Giant claims to make The Perfect Hoodie.  I bought one.  It is.  They also make muscle shirts. 

Mountain Hardwear: Richmond-based Mountain Hardware has been my go-to supplier for camping-and-backpacking clothing and gear for more than a decade.  They also make some athletic tank tops, which probably are of high quality, and which look nice, in a a-backpacking-company-made-this sort of way.

Chubbies: San Francisco-based Chubbies makes pool/beach clothes with anti-fashion prints for the Weekend At Bernie’s crowd, including some tank tops.  Personally, I’ve never seen a Chubbies shirt that I can imagine myself wearing.  But their Weekend Love exuberance keeps me returning to their site.

Body Glove: Redondo Beach-based Body Glove claims that its founders used insulation from the back of a refrigerator to invent "the first practical wetsuit."  I have no idea whether that's true.  But I have worn enough of Body Glove's offerings over the years to trust them to provide me with solid surfing-related apparel at a fair price. 

Runyon Canyon Apparel: Los Angeles-based Runyon designs and manufactures USA-milled, USA-cut, and USA-sewn clothes that are great for running around outdoors.  Their tank tops also would work for streetwear.  One thing: their shirts run a bit big -- I recommend buying a size down.

Volcom: Orange County-based Volcom is a one-stop shop for skater/surfer/snowboarder fashion, from tank tops to board shorts to two-piece suits.  Because they target skaters – who shred clothes quickly, no matter how high quality – I did not expect Volcom to put much effort into the second-thing-to-go elements of clothing construction.  After all, why double-stitch a garment that’s going to be rags within weeks regardless?  But I was pleasantly surprised.  A few years back, I bought a Volcom button-up. It was a good purchase.  The shirt had a clean silhouette, but with slightly skewed seams that bent people’s eyes just enough to prevent them from looking past me.  And – because I do not lead a tear-through-fabric lifestyle – it lasted for years.

American Apparel: So here's the thing about Los Angeles-based AA: It's well made, and it looks great on the people who it looks great on.  For everyone else, AA seems designed specifically to highlight the ways in which it does not look great on them.  Don't know which category you fall into?  Well, the folks around you do.  Ask someone you trust if you're one of the people who AA designs its clothes to fit.  If the answer is yes, then lucky you -- you have a one-stop shop for relatively inexpensive, ethically manufactured, long-lasting basics.  If the answer is no, walk away from this brand forever. 

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