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How This New Luxury Basics Brand Is Solving the Great T-Shirt Debate

Top Expert

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As any architect will tell you, the secret to a sturdy home lies in good bones. The same applies to our wardrobes, and a new LA-based label wants to reinvent our sartorial foundations by getting back to the basics. Meet Top Expert, a luxury line of tees that goes beyond the traditional small-medium-large concept.

Founded by fashion industry vet Justina Anzulovich (she previously designed for A.L.C., among other luxe labels), the brand crafts modern essentials that fit perfectly into any luxe closet. The result: effortless scoop- and crew-neck tees in slim, relaxed, and boyfriend microfits, each spun from linen or Top Expert's fancy vortex-spun viscose. Available in a boxed trio ($240 to $290) of black or white options, the tees are finished with a curved hem ("for a clean and easy front tuck") and french seams on the backs and shoulders.

"I wanted to put the attention to cut and detail that goes into a tailored suit jacket, into what you wear underneath almost everything: a simple tee," Anzulovich tells us. "As far as the silhouette goes, there is not one perfect shirt for every occasion—there's an endless supply of beautiful clothing [and] show pieces in the marketplace. I think the very essence of effortless style is having the most beautiful pieces, in the simplest form."

The merch is shoppable online and in LA at Mona Moore, Satine, and Curve; below, discover how a Hong Kong research paper inspired Top Expert's founder, where Anzulovich gets her creative juices flowing in LA, and more.

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What did you find missing from other basic tees or your own wardrobe that inspired you to create your own line?

The belief at Top Expert is that the perfect tee shirt actually lies within a range or options instead of a singular form. There are tees I enjoyed wearing with particular pants and particular jackets but I was constantly running into the problem - my favorite tee would be too loose to tuck into a skirt, or pair with tailored trousers. I thought, "What if I had this tee in every fit? I would have one to match with anything. It was at that moment the concept was really [born].

How did your past design experience help in creating Top Expert?

I love finding new ways to do old things—fashion moves at such a rapid pace, that I wanted to take the time to really refine the details on the simplest pieces that seem to get overlooked. I approached designing our tees like one would approach tailored suiting. I wanted to bring in elements of industrial design into clothing, where function becomes the first priority. I am a natural problem solver. For women, the endless problem is always "I have nothing to wear with that!" I wanted to create a simple answer by starting from the foundation. I wanted to work with the base-layer, and move up.

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Tell us more about the material you developed. What was the research process like?

The material development was a whole huge thing. I was really inspired by an essay this professor wrote in Hong Kong about the four different factors that our bodies were satisfied with feeling in regards to fabric; it's is actually a super intense paper, but really set me on my path.

I set out to create the optimal comfort in a fabric and I even went as far to license a special technology that's purpose was to mill a viscose that would be much more pill-resistant.

How has LA inspired your brand?

Once you arrive in Los Angeles there is a sense that anything is possible here. I love to people watch. I think LA is a city where people come to live the lives they dreamed about. It is very self-aware and confident. I am not a conventional thinker and I think this is a city that supports that brand of creativity. Art is something that really inspires me. My favorite gallery here is the Gagosian. In LA you can dive right in and be around interesting people or you can retreat and get lost in your own solitude.


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Any plans to expand the line beyond tees?

The essence of the brand revolves around foundational luxury. The reason I created a single product brand is because I think its important to know what you stand for and what you want to bring into the world. The line is expanding but it all revolves around the same ideas of meeting the needs of the most beautifully designed essentials.

Who would you love to see wearing your pieces?

Women with a true vision of what they want to put out into the world, women that have the confidence to set out and accomplish things they have dreamed of doing. I am endlessly inspired by women in art, design, business and philanthropy who have taken the time to learn how do something really well, and become a "Top Expert" in their field. I think its really important to never stop setting goals, and always aspire to push boundaries. That is really what the brand belief is.

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What are a few of your favorite LA shops?

Mona Moore is like walking into your best friend’s closet, its such a personal collection; I love their shoe collection. The curation at Curve is somehow magical—I walk in there and I literarily want everything. Additional notes: Top Expert was actually a bit of reaction to that. I think we have tackled the great t-shirt debate, and turned it on its head a little. Rather than asking others to prescribe to a standard, we provide a range of microfits in classic cuts. I think it’s our way of being a little tongue-in-cheek.