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FASHION: FALL ISSUE : T-Shirts Find Way Into Mainstream of Fashion Wear

September 12, 1990|FRANCINE PARNES | ASSOCIATED PRESS

When Warren Beatty showed up time and again for "Dick Tracy" press interviews wearing a gray double-breasted suit and black T-shirt, style watchers took note.

T-shirts have become bona fide men's fashion.

Sure, they started in the street as walking advertisements, vacation souvenirs, personal statements. One of the hottest right now is a bootleg Bart Simpson T-shirt--with a black Bart. But we're talking upscale, as in Beatty chic.

T-shirts represent a $2.6-billion annual market in America, and the average retail consumer buys 6.6 a year, according to a recent survey by the Nike shoe people. They should know. They do the "Bo Don't Know" shirts.

"Beatty wasn't the first one to wear the look," says Larry Hotz of the Men's Fashion Assn. in New York, "but he certainly might be the catalyst to induce a lot more people to pick up on it."

For upper-end customers, such as Beatty, there's Giorgio Armani, who counts T-shirts as a major part of his collection. For next summer he has cotton, cotton-linen and silk-linen blends, ranging from $100 to $300. They're ideal with an Armani slouch suit.

For cooler days ahead, look for Armani's long sleeve woolen polos. They range from $250 for a woven knit to $700 for cashmere.

Likewise, you can keep warm with a dark wool polo shirt from Studio 000.1 by Ferre, $270. Another cold-weather option comes from designer Tommy Hilfiger, who offers a long sleeve, crew-neck T-shirt that comes in eight colors for around $39.50.

Designers are also coming up with T-shirts reflecting concern for the environment.

Joe Boxer, an American menswear designer, has a cotton T-shirt with the slogan, "If this T-shirt was a rain forest, it's gonna be a tank top in no time." About $18.

For spring '91, Boxer will offer whimsical T-shirts, around $18, some with laundry soap box messages such as "Makes dull people fun."

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