A short time ago the lovely Pilar M at B.e contacted me to ask if I would review one of their products. The brief email read:
I am contacting you as I have seen your website and it expresses exactly the philosophy of B.e : Elegant & Simple, Comfortable. Be stands for Be Essential.
Not all pleasures are hidden, some may be worn!
…If you have not had yet the pleasure to feel a T-shirt in 100% PIMA COTTON on your skin, you are missing a unique sensation…
Be-Pima, a new Knitwear brand produced with one of the best cottons in the world: PIMA COTTON. Pima Cotton is as soft and shiny as silk.
Italian style, very Simple and Elegant and with the highest quality you may find on the market.
I am a Textile Engineer,with a strong background in Quality Control on Italian firms- high end brands, like La Perla; Argentovivo, Bacirubati, Julipet. Be-Pima is the result of combining my studies and professional experience to produce a brand based on Quality.
Now, as many of you know, I’m not much of a t-shirt kind of guy. And, the basic collection is exclusively (at this point) women’s wear. But in all fairness to you, my female readership, I thought I’d give them a try. After all, when I asked, many of you responded to my survey and told me that you wear casual clothing a lot. So, if you’re going to wear a t-shirt, I reasoned, you should wear a beautifully cut version. Could it then be elegant? I do own a cashmere t, and rarely wear it. It just isn’t something I think about and when you’re a bit “neck forward and long” as I am, I don’t think it is very flattering.
But entering into the spirit of the thing, I asked that they forward a red tunic in a medium so that Mrs. E. could put it through its paces and render a verdict. Which she has.
First things first…. it arrived in a silver mylar bag with a very nice square sticker sealing the top. The three cards tucked inside were of beautifully modern design.
The colour is stunning. A vibrant red that will not escape notice. The hand (the way the material feels to the touch) is luxurious. Indeed, it is cotton made silkily smooth.
The cut is very nice. It is, however, designed more for the Audrey Hepburn-esque among you rather than the more Monroe-esque Mrs. E. . She was unhappy with the way that the side vents opened over her hips. The neckline, length and sleeve length she pronounced superb. The neckline is particularly beautifully sculpted.
There were a couple of design issues that I wasn’t as pleased with; but judge for yourself if they matter to you.
There is, at hip level, an embroidered logo. I wear Ralph Lauren’s, Brooks Brothers’, Fred Perry, LaCoste and Peter Polo tennis shirts, so that isn’t too much of an issue with a piece of casual kit. There are some who don’t like to wear visible logos; if you are one, this may grate.
The fantastic boat neck is tagless inside, so there is nothing that might mar the line when seen from the back.
However, the tagless imprint does show through the back of the neckline. Not really an issue if you have below-shoulder length hair.
You will notice that the seams on the inside are not finished and loose threads were very much in evidence at the side vent. I like finished or at least taped seams and seamless construction is possible, I believe, using a method that creates the base of the garment in a tube shape. I could be wrong, but I’ve seen a lot of athletic clothing that is seamless to reduce chaffing. I like the look and feel of those garments. In addition, I think that the idea of hiding the size tag so as not to interfere with the neckline is very smart. Hiding it at the hip next to a side vent many not be the best location. I’m not sure there’s a better solution.
Finally, and this is a design choice, there is a seam running straight down the back. Which I find odd. I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be slimming (creating a vertical line) or not. Shaped side seams may work better to that end. I don’t know, I’m not a designer. But it was strange looking to my eye, imparting a heaviness to the back not in keeping with the ethereal lightness of the material.
So there you have it, at EU45, a mixed bag in my opinion. (Full disclosure: I was sent the shirt gratis to review.) I am not a clothing designer and don’t know if this is the most efficient design from all standpoints. I admire the packaging, the marketing materials, the thought that went into the concept. I think that the final product needs a bit more tweaking to be considered truly elegant.
But that’s just me.