Blue Collar No More

They're versatile, stylish and flying off the racks. The lowly T shirt enjoys a high-fashion moment

Barneys New York, the upscale department store, is not the sort of place one tends to shop for basics. Last December, when the luxury retailer opened a new floor dedicated to casual wear at its flagship location on Madison Avenue, the space was stocked with exotic caged birds (which are not for sale) and $150 pairs of jeans (which are). Perhaps more noteworthy, roughly one-third of the floor was devoted entirely to that most prosaic of wardrobe necessities, the T shirt. As Julie Gilhart, vice president for fashion merchandising, explains, "We are in a T-shirt moment."

What distinguishes this T-shirt moment...

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