Amid claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing kitchen scenes and existential post-service cigarettes in the back alley of the restaurant, one particular piece of clothing has captured the viewer’s attention in the TV show The Bear, that is Jeremy Allen White’s, or Carmy’s, iconic white t-shirt. 

This T-shirt, from Merz b. Schwanen, a German brand, owes its origin to a rediscovered loopwheel factory from the 1920s. Reviving this vintage machinery, the brand now crafts its signature white shirts in the same way they were made a century ago, with a continuous loop of material. The only modern change is the price tag—just under $100.

If you have seen The Bear, you’ll sense how Carmy’s sense of perfectionism comes out early in the series and is perfectly reflected on the custom design. His busy life, dedicated to perfecting culinary art, leaves no room for the distraction of loud, ephemeral styles. Much like the craft of fine cooking, Merz b. Schwanen’s T-shirt embodies craftsmanship and history, making it the perfect chef-core fit for him.

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But is it worth paying that much for a white T-shirt? 

The simple answer is yes. While you might not want to cook in it like Jeremy Allen White aka Carmy does—tomato stains could reduce its cost-per-wear to nearly nothing— but as with all things, if you take care of it, the reward will be nothing short of timeless. 

The beauty of Merz b. Schwanen’s basics lie in their honest production by passionate people. Made on vintage loop wheel machines, these shirts lack side seams, offering a great fit and exceptional wearability. The detailed construction includes a bound neck and cover-stitched shoulders, making the T-shirt more robust and durable.

In a world where time equates to money, this T-shirt stands out from fast-fashion alternatives. Amidst the flashy, often misleading marketing of high-fashion brands, it’s crucial to invest in timeless pieces made with care, quality fabrics, and genuine authenticity—the Merz b. Schwanen T-shirt exemplifies this philosophy, offering simplicity and elegance that goes unnoticed by the untrained eye but is cherished by those who value enduring quality.

Another reason why investing in an expensive white t-shirt is because the simplest T-shirt in the world, with a round neckline, short sleeves, and without any decoration or print, represents the essence of clothing. So straightforward and essential that it constitutes the degree zero of clothing, from its non-color to its absence of messages, it is THE garment par excellence in many ways. 

Here is our selection of premium white t-shirts like the ones in The Bear. 

Highsnobiety's own

Trust me when I say we took our time with crafting our version of the perfect white t-shirt . A lot of trials and errors, a lot of variations and designs, tirelessly calculating the perfect weight. Finally, we got to the bottom of it and created one of our favorite essentials in our in-line collection so far.

British Luxury

Image on Highsnobiety
Orlebar BrownCotton Jersey T-shirt
Buy at mytheresa

The British luxury brand Orlebar created arguably one of the most perfect white tees in the market. No fuss, no frills.

The Row's quiet luxury

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The RowWhite Cotton T-Shirt
Buy at Browns

I'd love to believe that the Olsen' sisters wear this t-shirt almost everyday. Perfect for layering opportunities. Great quality. And a truly iykyk quiet luxury item.

Tom Ford's elevated basic

Image on Highsnobiety
Tom FordSlim-Fit Cold-Dyed Cotton T-Shirt
Buy at Mr Porter

As I said, we are not talking about cheap white t-shirts here but only the best of the best luxury white t-shirts in the market. Tom Ford' slim fit cold dyed cotton t-shirt is exactly that. Expensive. High-quality. Timeless. Just please don't stain it if you do decide to buy it.

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