Knowing that Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Alicia Silverstone, Elle Macpherson, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Bella Hadid, Suki Waterhouse, Elle Fanning and Behati Prinsloo are all fans of designer Linda Meltzer’s baby tees and tanks, we just had to pick her brain on how exactly the shrunken tops rose to be the thing for stars to wear when they’re off-duty — and she had a lot of fascinating insights!
As for how she got interested in going baby? The designer started out as a music video and film stylist and was attracted to the style of the baby tee since she was a young girl. “The French cut tee was my first fashion obsession as a tween back in the ‘70s. When I came across these vintage tees at thrift stores decades later, nothing made me happier,” she explains to Stylish.
But discovering the perfect vintage tee later on in the ‘90s before they made a resurgence in the fashion world was difficult. “Finding those thin, soft, baby rib T-shirts 20 years later was almost impossible. … Loose baggy tees had dominated the market for over a decade. The baby tee was a true fashion disrupter in 1993 with its ultra-shrunken silhouette and was even smaller than the tight French cut tees of the ‘70s,” she reveals.
When Melzter couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for, she decided to make her own and called her line Tease Tee’s. They took off and were seen on Friends numerous times, appeared in Clueless and were spotted on magazine covers, red carpets and in stores.
What made them stand out: “We were just slipping into a big recession and the baby tees required minimal fabric and offered a relatively inexpensive way to quickly update your wardrobe with a statement piece. The white elastic at the neck and the contrast, overlock edging in all the rainbow of colors was instantly recognizable, and last but not least, they were playfully sexy,” she says.
Since then, they’ve come back again in a big way and Meltzer has gone on to create dresses, pants, boy shorts, lingerie and more. In 2016, she decided to rebrand her line, open up a store in Venice, California and call it Pretties.
Stylists went wild over the revamped baby tees and soon after, major celebs were adding them to their list of wardrobe essentials. “Fashion is cyclical. Just like I wanted to wear the clothes from the carefree days of my youth, so do the women today. The baby tee fits that bill perfectly with memories of Clueless and Friends and reminds everyone of easier times,” she dishes.
“My customer loves vintage, are detailed oriented and love soft clothing. … Pretties fills a niche in the market. We are the antidote to the big chain lingerie store in both design and messaging.”