Interested in the elevated basics brand Anthony Thomas Melillo? Check out my hands-on review of a few ATM pieces.
It takes a lot of confidence to launch a basic brand. I mean, what’s the difference between your essential slub t-shirt and that other brand’s slub shirt? Why should we check you out when most of us already have a go-to place to get our basics?
However, Anthony Thomas Melillo caught my eye, and they’ve seemed to have caught the eye of many.
So, how exactly are ATM pieces “elevated”? Should basics be luxurious at all? And how consequential is it to have simple cotton pieces made with this level of craft and thought? Relatedly, does that level of elevated comfort and style justify the cost?
I’ll answer these questions and more after trying out a few of their pieces. Let’s find out if ATM meets its brand promises!
About the Brand
Anthony Thomas Melillo, or Tony Melillo, launched his eponymous brand in 2012. Inspired by the exceptional cottons made in Peru that he was exposed to as a sportswear designer prior.
A particular factory caught his attention. Their yarns came from beech trees, used less water, and didn’t use chemicals or toxic solvents.
Melillo partnered with this factory, dedicating months to creating exclusive modal, slub, and vintage jersey fabrics. They labored over fit, weight, drape, and every single minute detail.
Using these special in-house fabrics, ATM debuted with just one perfect t-shirt. Today, the brand has expanded to a whole line of luxurious basics. Many pieces are made out of lush cashmere, soft silk charmeuse, and the signature slub jersey.
Though based in New York, Melillo still visits his Peruvian factory partner four times a year to meet with his team and for product reviews.
Today, I’ll be reviewing three pieces:
I’m 5’7” and a half (easily 5’8″ and up in shoes) and 130lbs at my fittest. I have a 35” chest and wear XS tops. My waist is a size 28, but my equestrian thighs sometimes mean I have to size up for non-tailored, slim-fit pants.
Slub Jersey Destroyed Wash Henley
ATM’s Slub Destroyed Wash Henley gets its name from the raw edges of the hem and sleeve ends of the shirt. It’s otherwise a traditional three-button henley made out of slub cotton.
This means you can see the purposefully uneven yarns throughout the shirt’s surface. I ordered a small size in the Bellflower colorway, which is a hue between a mid-toned lavender and light but vivid purple.
Slub Jersey: Details and Stitching
Immediately, I appreciated the vivid color of this shirt. I purposefully chose a brighter, more conspicuous tone because I wanted to see how well the dye job took to the fabric.
It’s exceptional, with the variation of lilacs, lavenders, and royal purples on the slub cotton. Of course, it’s pretty subtle. This shirt definitely serves as a color block on your outfit, not a pattern, especially since the buttons are tonal.
The fabric is soft, slightly sheer, and definitely meets the brand’s promise of comfort. This shirt is comfortable and airy enough to sleep in.
Regarding its stitching, I want to start with the hem and sleeve ends because I wasn’t sure I’d be a total believer in the concept of raw edging.
Sure, it has a cool factor in that pre-distressed sneaker kind of way (I’ll go deeper into that in the fit and style section). But, from a practical point of view, is it fortified like the rest of the shirt?
The answer is that it is.
Instead of being completely raw, there’s intermittent double stitching across the hem, like a giant dotted line.
Functionally, this locks in the look since these fortifications ensure the hem isn’t just loose yarn waiting to fray. I also think the alternating and no-stitching moments are a lovely aesthetic.
The rest of the stitching is top-notch. The collar is refined, the button holes are strong, and every seam looks double-stitched. I even pulled on the collar stitching to see if there’d be any stretching, and it’s super solid.
Overall, I can say that the quality is exactly where it needs to be.
My only complaint is that this shirt needs to be hand washed. You can throw it in a gentle cycle, but you have to protect it by putting it in a mesh bag. It’s not surprising for this kind of material, but it’s mildly inconvenient nonetheless.
Slub Jersey: Fit and Style
I liked the fit overall. I usually wear an XS in shirts, but ATM doesn’t offer that for this piece (though they have an XL and XXL). So, I ordered a small.
Thanks to the refined neckline and defined shoulders, it has a loose but straight drape. I think having it too close to the body would make the raw edges look less purposeful.
It also drapes across your chest in a really flattering way.
As mentioned, this shirt looks like a color block but a far more interesting one. I’ve always been a fan of slub cotton, and I think the visual movement throughout the shirt’s surface adds dimensionality and sophistication. Plus, it matches the raw edges in that they’re both textured instead of clean and straight.
Because of how lightweight it is, you can wear this shirt at the beach, alone with jeans, or as a layer on cooler days.
Though I like the look of this shirt, and though I do think it achieves what ATM sets out to do, my one small grievance comes from the fact that XS sizes aren’t available.
I just think it would give me more styling options. I imagine I could transform it into a more refined shirt by folding the sleeves, sort of like how one cuffs pants and tucking the shirt in to hide the raw edging.
I know this isn’t the point of this shirt, though, but options are always good. Plus, it would still look great tucked into your pants with a suit jacket or blazer over it.
Recycled Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater
ATM’s turtleneck sweater is a standard cashmere model with ribbed edges throughout and a fold-over neck.
I ordered a small in the Midnight variation, which is a dark navy, though it also comes in charcoal and black.
Recycled Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater: Details and Stitching
Right off the bat, this sweater is my favorite item that I received.
It’s super soft, lightweight, and even has that fresh but lightly worn way about it that you get from high-quality cashmere. It’s airier than most cashmere but keeps you warm when it’s cool out.
ATM uses a special recycled cashmere that blends virgin cashmeres with excess fibers that come from the spinning process. They get extra points for applying the sustainability factor to their cashmere.
There isn’t as much stitching on this since it’s a cashmere sweater, but the shoulders are well-structured, and all of the ribbing is solid but still soft.
And, of course, as with all cashmere, this sweater is dry-cleaned only.
Recycled Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater: Fit and Style
As mentioned, I ordered a small one that fits quite well. In fact, it fits and wears just like the product photo on the website, which isn’t always the case with clothes you order online. It’s smart, sophisticated, and incredibly versatile.
The fold-over turtleneck gives just enough fold action without being overly wrinkled and without collapsing, and the lines are exceptionally clean.
The sleeves are a bit long, but thanks to the ribbing, you can always roll them up to your wrists or even all the way up if you want to go for the bare-arm look. It’s certainly better than being too short.
I love pairing it with a full gray suit or even with tweed. The natural makeup of the cashmere goes well with stronger textures because of how neutral the dark navy hue is.
Ponte Slim Pant
I ordered the Ponte Slim Pant in their smallest size, a 28. It comes in charcoal and navy, and I opted for the former.
ATM designed these pants focusing on form and fit, with a slim-cut silhouette and classic tailoring. It’s meant to be seasonless and both relaxed and elegant.
Ponte Slim Pant: Details and Stitching
The Ponte Slim Pant has a substantial drape you can feel when you hold it up by the waist. It feels thick yet soft, the exact kind of composition you want from an everyday trouser.
Upon closer inspection, all of the stitching is fortified, which I’m not surprised by at this point. Even the seams of the seam pockets are thick, and the belt loops, though stretchy, are well attached. And yes, I pulled on them to see how strong they were.
As with the rest of the garments I’ve tried in the line, these pants are well stitched, with great structural integrity and no loose threads.
Upon reading the product description, this all makes sense. It’s mostly polyester, which explains the durability factor, but it also has rayon and spandex, which explains the smooth look and strong stretch.
It’s also easy to maintain and can be washed in with cold settings.
Ponte Slim Pant: Fit and Style
Though stylish, well-designed, and nicely composed, I hate to report that these pants don’t fit very well. At least they don’t on me.
I’m a slim guy, again, 5’7”, 130 lbs, though I’m stronger in the seat and thigh area than the rest of my body. These pants were long, too loose for my waist, and sat right above where my seat started.
To be honest, this has never happened to me. Typically, slim-fit pants will at least hug my thigh area well, even if the waist is loose.
I can’t deny the fact that the off-the-rack fit is pretty poor.
But I do like the style of the pants. They aren’t so completely off that I can’t tailor them into submission (and I tailor all of my pants anyway).
I can already tell the potential because of the excellent structure. It’ll likely fit somewhere in between regular and slim. I like this, not least of which is because this fit is trending right now, but it’s also in line with ATM’s effortless aesthetic.
The lines are straight enough, and the potential fit is relaxed yet classic enough.
I do recommend that people size down if you don’t tailor all of your pants. However, as always, this also depends on your body type.
I love the clean lines and the adaptable look. Both colorways are easy year-rounders and can be worn with blazers, t-shirts, and any henleys that ATM makes.
Overall, the Ponte is indeed well-structured and meets the design intention of a seasonless pant. It simply needs more tailoring than I’m used to.
Final Thoughts on Anthony Thomas Melillo
Based on ATM’s brand promise to provide leveled-up basics, I’d say they definitely hit the mark.
They have a great foundation if the slub cotton shirt is the tentpole design. It’s soft, well-built, beautifully dyed, and classic enough to be worn with anything, yet distinct enough to offer something more than the average essentials brand does with their shirts.
Meanwhile, the Ponte Slim Pant needs major tailoring. That aside, I like the design and composition and am keeping it since year-round pants are a great thing to have in your arsenal.
My favorite piece is the cashmere turtleneck, which is classy, versatile, and highly functional.
Overall, ATM is worth the price, given it meets its brand promises for elevated and luxurious basics that are eco-conscious, well-built, and adaptable.
My main recommendation to the brand is to add an XS to your shirt options and one or two smaller pant sizes as well.
If you have questions or comments about this review, leave them down below!