Here’s a fun email exchange with a reader who had fallen in love with the stretch pima crew neck undershirt from AX, but during a recent visit to their website, could no longer find them. The great news about the information below, is that the reader tried out some of my recommendations and wound up providing some great information and feedback about the new J Ferrar stretch undershirts from JCPenny!
I frequent your site often, and sometime last year read about the Armani Exchange Stretch Pima underwear crews. They are by far some of the best shirts I’ve ever worn. I bought about a half dozen last year, and recently returned to their website intending to buy more, but they aren’t listed anywhere. Do you happen to know if the shirts were discontinued?
My Initial Response:
thanks for being frequent reader and for sending in your question about the a/x stretch pima underwear crews.
I don’t know definitively, but based on what I saw on the a/x website, it appears they have discontinued that product. one indication is that the same undershirt in the v-neck style is still available for purchase, but they are selling it at the discounted price of $15 (clearance price). also, if you look at this amani exchange crew neck product page (was on centurycity.nearbynow.com) from westfield shopping mall in century city, you’ll notice they show the crew neck for $15 as well, but is shows that the product is not currently available. based on former undershirt style survey statistics, I assume that their crew necks out sold their v-necks and that would lead me to believe that they still have a bunch of v-necks in inventory that they are trying to sell off.
I may be wrong, but they may have dropped that line to consolidate down the number of similar undershirt styles they offer guys. if you take a look on barenecessities.com or freshpair.com, you’ll notice that AE does offer a different cotton stretch crew that is made up of 95% cotton / 5% spandex, so since the stretch pima cotton crew is similar, they may have just discontinued it.
although pima cotton undershirts are normally really soft, I’ve found that other similar fabric blends are equally as comfortable. so you might want to try out the 95/5 a/x cotton stretch crew, you might want to look at other 95/5 cotton undershirts, other blends that include tencel and spandex, or even modal and spandex. if you find something you like and you think it’s too long (as the pima a/x had a shorter cut), you can always consider having the bottom cut off and hemmed.
hope that information helps. keep me posted on what you choose as an alternative.
Thanks for the quick response Tug! The reason I loved the AX shirts was because they were euro-cut – slim fitting, short hems, and high armholes. Since I have thin arms, the high armholes gave the shirt a near perfect fit. Most other brands, even emporio armani, don’t cut the armholes as high as AX did. I think I will either go back to Calvin Klein (I used the 365 brand before I got the AX shirts), or maybe try out the new J Ferrar shirts from JCPenney that you mentioned a couple of days ago. I saw them on the racks yesterday, and the description lists it as having a euro style modern fit. If I end up getting the J Ferrar shirts, I’ll be sure to let you know how they fit!
He emailed me back a couple weeks later with some great information about the J Ferrar and how it compares to the A/X Stretch Pima Crew Neck Undershirt:
So here are my findings on the J Ferar undershirts. First, the shirt is indeed a modern cut shirt – it is definitely slimmer than most standard cut shirts. The build quality of the shirt is pretty good too. I managed to get two wash cycles in, and the shirt shrinks a bit after the first wash, but keeps it shape after that. There is a good amount of stretch to it as well, it compares favorably to other 95/5 shirts that are sold. The fabric seems to be a bit on the thin side – I noticed that my Hanes undershirts were a bit heavier than the JF, but not by much. The shirt is also very soft and comfortable to sleep in.
Now, as a replacement for the Armani Exchange shirts, there are two ways to look at it. The reason I loved the AX shirts was because they were euro-cut with high armholes. I’ve attached some pictures comparing my white JF shirt and my black AX shirt. The arm sleeves on the AX are about a 1/2 inch thinner and higher on the shirt than the JF (the AX are 7in flat top shoulder to underarm and 4.5in sleeve width flat). I believe the JF uses the standard cut for its sleeves like most of the other manufacturers do. I prefer the euro cut arms since I am on the short side with skinny arms. With the AX shirt there isn’t a problem of having the sleeves bunch up around the underarm area. the JF shirts aren’t too bad, but the Calvin Klein 365 shirts seem to be a bit better fit around the arms for me.
For the average person, I would assume that the JF shirts would fit perfectly fine. It’s $18 for a 2-pack, and right now (and it seems every other week) JCPenney seems to put them in a buy 1 get one 50% off promotion. I’ve already bought a few to replace my Hanes undershirts.
For reference, I wear a size small, and the AX shirts measure (shirt flat) 16in across the chest, 17in from underarm to bottom hem, 5in shoulders, and 7.5in sleeve length. The JF shirts are pretty much the exact same measurements with the exception of the difference in the arm cuts referenced above.
Hope this helps,