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Knickerbocker Mfg. Co. Tube Tee in Milk T-Shirt Review

This review is a piece of our  Great White T-Shirt Review series, in which we tested nearly two dozen plain white t-shirts to help you understand what’s on the market today. In it, we tested for qualities like fit, construction quality, fabric density, shrinkage, and see-through-ness, amongst many others.


Knickerbocker is one of those brands that has a look. It’s one part zoot suit, one skater scum, and flower pressed into a book of Bukowski poetry. It can be hard to style individual pieces ala carte, but taken all together it’s got an identity that’s completely unique. And their Tube Tee is inextricably a piece of that Knickerbocker universe, making it one of the more interesting pieces we tested.

By The Numbers

  • Fabric: 100% cotton
  • Made in: USA
  • Postwash Fabric Density: 1.40g/LI
  • Postwash Total Weight: 105g
  • Construction: Tubeknit blind stitch
  • Postwash Measurements (inches):
    • Front Length: 22
    • Pit to Pit: 21.5
    • Shoulder to Shoulder: 18
    • Hem Width: 21.5
    • Neck Width: 6.5
    • Sleeve Length: 7
    • Sleeve Height: 8.5
  • Sizing Recommendation: True to Size/Size Up
  • Shrinkage: 2.33%
  • Weight Loss: 3.92%
  • Price Per Shirt: $40
  • Available for $40 at Knickerbocker

Fit

The KMFG shirt is cut small. It’s short in the body, the sleeves are high and the neck is wide. But don’t mistake that this shirt is undersized. This is the look and fit they’re going for. Knickerbocker pants are high-waisted so the shirts are high to match. The proportions also make the wider collar evoke sportswear of the 1930s.

The-Great-White-T-Shirt-Review-kmfg-front-back

If you’re looking for a more regular fit, I’d recommend sizing up but I like the way the shirt looks and what it’s going for.

Fabric

The advertised color is “Milk”, which comes off more like a cream or an eggshell and not a true white. You can tell you’re not looking at a standard white tee at a glance but it takes a couple seconds to figure out why.

The fabric also has an incredibly soft hand and is springy with a satisfying bounce back to its original shape. It feels heavier than its midweight 1.40g/LI would have you believe.

You can still make out that’s “Heddels” up above, but that slightly off-white color also helps to make it slightly less transparent.

Construction and Details

This tee has probably the most tasteful branding of anything I saw. It’s a small, rectangular woven label sewn in about a half inch below the collar ribbing with a woven size tag dangling beneath it, like something you might expect on a robe in the closet of a fancy hotel in the 1950s. There’s also a less elegant paper tag sewn to the hem with the more relevant fiber content and care instructions, but that’s easily removed.

The ribbing is good and feels like it matches the tee well.

If I have one gripe, it’s that the tee uses a blind stitch to secure the hem, which is a period detail that often makes for a cleaner look. A blind stitch works well on heavier fabrics, but the springy knit on this tee has the hem flipping up constantly and making the shirt even shorter in the body than it already is.

Verdict

Knickerbocker has made far from “just another white t-shirt”. Love it or hate it, this tee is uniquely them and I think that’s admirable either way. It’s a niche product for sure but if the KMFG look is your jam, and you can get over a mildly annoying hem, there is no better shirt for you at any price point.

Consider if:

  • You wear your pants above your hips
  • You prefer your white tee off-white
  • You know who Jean Paul Belmondo is

Avoid if:

  • You want something loose fitting
  • You launder with bleach

Available for $40 at Knickerbocker


As mentioned, this was just one of many other reviews of plain white tees. Have a look at the full comprehensive review including all the other t-shirts.