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Wardrobe Rehab: the Perfect White tee

Inspiration Mar 7, 2013

As winter slowly transitions into Spring, most of have started thinking about our warmer weather wardrobes. At this time of year there’s often a major rush to buy new season trends – surely I’m not the only person who feels the urge to go out and acquire a floral dress.  Maybe it’s something in the less-chilly air but for me, this is the time of year when I make the most of my wardrobe mistakes, buying new season items without much thought for how they will fit into my closet. This year, I’ve decided to take a moment to work out what my wardrobe needs this Spring. And in the meantime, it’s the perfect time to stock up on spring basics that I’ll wear all year – like the white tee. An all important wardrobe staple, it’s the perfect segue into summer.

Choosing the perfect white t-shirt is not as easy as one would think, it’s all about choosing the right cut and fabric for your body. I bought this white t-shirt from a thrift store a few years ago and have worn it over and over, the rounded neckline and slightly stiff fabric have meant it can be worn with just about anything and has lasted a long time. Here are some thoughts on the humble white tee before you click ‘add to cart’.

  • Fabric – The fabric you choose will be one of the biggest factors in how it looks on, a softer marl fabric will be more clingy, a ribbed fabric will stretch out horizontally while a thicker fabric will have more shape. To be honest, I often bypass super slouchy tees because I find they are the ones that are more likely to fall apart, opting instead for the thicker, closely woven cotton fabric.
  • Sleeve Length – Cap sleeve or mid-way between the shoulder and elbow? There are so many options for sleeve length when it comes to the white tee and what you choose will come down to your body shape and where you want to wear said tee. For ease of wear I usually go for a slightly longer sleeve when I buy white tees rather than a super short capped sleeve, I’ve always found that length a little more flattering, and when you want a casual look you can always roll it up a few times.
  • Sheerness – Sheer slouchy white tees are the perfect weekend look but tend to be a little unforgiving when it comes to any bumps you may have.
  • Neckline – I find that a high rounded neckline is often more versatile than a v neck, but it will come down to your body shape in terms of choosing one that works for you. Some say that V necklines are more flattering for all body and face shapes, but it’s best to just experiment with a few different looks before deciding.

Where to look in your search for the perfect white tee? This soft cotton J Crew tee is so incredibly comfortable you may find yourself wanting to wear it to bed (although in my experience they stretch more than most), while this Cos tee is great because it doesn’t suffer from the twisty seams after washing that you find is other tees. This Zara tee is a simple basic with a nice heavy fabric, while this Velvet one is a little more luxe. I love these Kain tees while this Mango one is a steal. For a slightly different look I love this cropped Topshop version, perfect for wearing with high waisted denim shorts or showing a little skin when wearing maxi skirts. And it wouldn’t be a t-shirt conversation without saying that these Alexander Wang Tees are the ultimate in shirting for those of you who love a slouchy style – but obviously come at a pretty penny. Does anyone else have recommendations about where I can find the perfect white tee?

See below for a few options on how to wear your white tees – tucked into a high waisted skirt is my personal fave!

Images: Vanessa Jackman, Stockholm Streetstyle, Harpers Bazaar, Mr Newton, The Sartorialist

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