I was in a cold sweat the other morning tearing the house apart looking for my favorite white t-shirt. I was ripping through closets, drawers, dirty laundry, even accusing the dog of taking it. Then I had the opposite of a Oprah Aha moment, it was more like a Homer Simpson D’Oh moment.
Remember my post the other week when I showed how great different necklaces look against a plain white t-shirt?
Yes, there it was. On my Marshalls/HomeGoods mannequin. Our 5-year-old son is already fascinated by the anatomy on it. Okay so now all is right in the world. But it reminded me of the importance having that perfect white t-shirt in your wardrobe. I think we all know the horrors of pulling out last year’s perfect white t-shirt and seeing that tell-tale yellowing of the armpits. Why oh why must we have to sweat? It is just not fair, to us or our clothing.
When shopping for a t-shirt, in any color, the cut is crucial. Do you have a rather large bosom? Aka the girls, boobies, knockers, ta-tas. Whatever you call them they can be a blessing and curse. Having been pregnant I have been on both sides of the spectrum. A v neck or scoop shape is the saving grace for the large expanse of chest. Not too deep and not too short. Stay away from the higher crew neck which just has too much fabric over the expanse of boobs.
Are you the opposite in the chest department? You can do a v-neck but make sure the fabric has a little drape to balance out your smaller frame. A classic crew neck is also a good option.
Somewhere in between? You can really wear any of the above.
As for sleeves. Cap-sleeves are a four letter word in my house. They are evil. They cut off at the worst part of every woman’s arm. If you have great arms you are better off in a sleeveless style. Otherwise opt for a little bit longer than the cap sleeve. Just the tiniest bit more fabric makes all the difference.
Do you hate your arms? Opt for this season’s very popular cold shoulder top. A little skin is exposed at the top of the arm but is connected underneath the sleeve. Batwings be gone!
The other biggie is fabric, very important with white. Just like with the denim it can be a Goldilocks situation, not too sheer, not too thick, just right. Just because the fabric feels great to the touch doesn’t mean it will be flattering on. I had a customer that kept buying t-shirts based on the way they felt but she hated them on. We had to re-work strategy for her t-shirt shopping. Some of the nicest feeling fabrics are the ultra thin ones. But the ultra thin ones often drape too much and hang funny and cling in all the wrong places. A t-shirt needs some structure to gently skim over your particular shape. One hundred percent cotton is great, but look for keywords such as ringspun or pima to ensure it is not too thick and has enough stretch. My favorite is a blend of cotton and modal. I pretty much walk across hot coals for an item with modal as I love the way it feels on my skin and the way it fits.
Some favorite brands?
Low-cost $15 and under – Target’s Mossimo line has great options. And Hanes men’s t-shirts in small or even a boys large.
Mid range – $15-$25 – J. Crew, especially their vintage cotton, Ann Taylor Loft, Lands End semi-fitted.
Pricier but worth it- $25 and up – Splendid, Three Dots, James Perse, and Michael Stars are some of my favs.
*Insider Tip – When trying on t-shirts I’ve witnessed so many women pull them down as far as they can go. Stop that! It should fit with a little bit of movement, even if you tuck in it shouldn’t be stretched taut. It looks more natural and relaxed if there is a little fabric gathering around the waist. Pulling down all the way to the hip just makes it too long and unflattering. If you are hippy than it stops at and highlights your hips. If you have a little extra in the middle then it stretches it right over it.
*Insider Tip – It may be a t-shirt but wash it with care. Bleach is not good for the fibers because it can break them down. If you have stains try oxy-clean or vinegar, diluted with water. Wash on delicate, throw in the dryer for a short stint, then hang to dry. Is this convenient and practical? Hell no. My husband requests this treatment with his golf shirts and I basically tell him to do it himself. I am a serious domestic failure. But will it save you time and money when your perfect shirt is hanging perfectly ready to go in your closet. Hell yes. I’ve ruined too many to keep on being lazy about it. Or I’ve lost them on a mannequin.