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How Much Should A T-Shirt Cost?

How much should a t-shirt cost? Some say twenty dollars is the right price for a shirt. Some say over $1500 is acceptable. So what should we be spending on t-shirts?

To start, let me analyze my most recent purchase of shirts. So we’re all clear, my definition of “t-shirt” is a lightweight cotton shirt that is short sleeved.

• American Apparel Tri-Blend T-Shirt: $14.00 (On sale.)
• Oneohtrix Point Never Hahaharsh T-Shirt: $20.00
• Oneohtrix Point Never Runaway Horse T-Shirt: $20.00
• J.Crew Camp T-Shirt: $24.99
• 3rd Class LA Queer T-Shirt: $30
• Wacky Wacko Lather Daddy T-Shirt: $29.95

By some iPhone calculating, these purchases would tell me that my average t-shirt is $23.16. If you asked me what my maximum for a t-shirt, I would probably tell you $50.00. I’m sure I have spent that. What is the maximum I have ever spent? Likely eightysomething dollars? Although I cannot actually remember if I actually have done that. That isn’t something to be proud of but a fact: I’m sure I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a stupid t-shirt.

Some things do require a ridiculous amount of money, like nice sweaters and nice shorts, most of which I can rationalize for getting around a hundred dollars, purchased infrequently. But a t-shirt? Something I’m going to sweat and stink and occupy most intimately? That shouldn’t be more than twenty dollars.

The same goes for underwear. Something that you are literally going to wear down, in casual or formal settings, should not be more than twenty dollars. Brag all you want about Etiquette Clothiers or James Perse or Hanro—but I am calling bullshit. If you spend more than $10 on a single pair of underwear, you are dumb. You are ridiculous. You have some stuck up balls.

So how much should a t-shirt cost? Probably twenty dollars. With inflation, thirty dollars for a smaller brand, to help people make a living. Anything more is ridiculous—and anything over fifty dollars is ridiculous as well.

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