It’s easy to write off the need for a great, basic clothing item. I’ve always been the girl who valued unique, creative garments over anything standard. Whenever I had a need for a basic piece, I scurried to the closest discount rack to snag a simple white tee or gray tank.
What I didn’t realize was how much I was underestimating the power of a great staple.
I recently read an interview with a designer who explained that “basics” are the hardest items to design. I found that interesting because as a consumer I couldn’t understand what’s so difficult about a plain white tee. But she went on to describe the effort it takes to discover the correct fabric that will hold its shape wash after wash, the perfect dye that won’t fade or discolor and the ideal structure that will look incredible on every body shape.
This designer pointed out what I hadn’t thought of, that basics aren’t able to hide behind the ruffles and frills that trendy pieces can. They don’t have bold prints or intricate details. They’re simple, straightforward, and you will notice their flaws if they’re without great design.
Never is the need for basics more necessary than in autumn. Layering is a must, especially in Nashville. The balmy days greet the chilly evenings with a vengeance. And that screen-printed silk tank just doesn’t cut it when 55° wind is blowing.
Thus, I embarked on my mission to find the perfect basics that could effortlessly transition from day to night during this fickle season.
Enter Groceries Apparel: This delightfully conscious and equally hip company was the answer to my basic clothing prayers.
They not only make their pieces from organic, non-GMO cotton, but they also use natural, veggie-based dyes. And it doesn’t hurt that the founders behind it — Matt Boelk and Rob Lohman — are more passionate about great, ethical designs than a paycheck. Hence the name — it was either start their own business, or buy groceries. They chose wisely.
Browsing their beautiful designs, I quickly zeroed in on what has come to be known in my wardrobe as THE white crop top. I also snagged a remarkable black maxi (made from eucalyptus, which is a surprisingly thick material) and a gray, baseball-style shirt for the man in my life.
We put these garments to the test on a perfect fall day in Tennessee — from the mild afternoon to the breezy night. They more than held up...