My second type of new genre of post this week (figured it was time for some edit changes) is the Basics Breakdown–a monthly attempt at helping you navigate those necessary, but sometimes frustrating, wardrobe go-tos you need in your life. Because who wants to order 10 white T-shirts, try them all on, send some back, them maybe look for more, etc.? In the name of fashion research, I do.
Is there one ultimate? No. Perfection is rare, that’s also the point (if I was after perfection, I wouldn’t put my image on this story). That said, there are a lot of great options, some that are even new to this fashion veteran.
So with all of that in mind, I ordered a dozen white tees from Net-a-Porter and a couple of fave brands and the results follow. I also realize we are all not the same shape and size, and I try to take that into account with my research.
The Favorite Everyday Tee: Karla x Hanes, The Crew
Pros: It is thicker than your average Hanes T-shirt so your bra doesn’t show through, the fit is tailored without being tight. Because white T-shirts can be stain magnets, the price is right. (It’s the one I’m wearing at top.)
Cons: Getting my head through the top is a squeeze (no stretch here), but if you like a high neckline you deal. The cotton quality is standard. Also, I look nothing like Kaia Gerber who models it on Karla’s site.
The Sporty Weekend Tee: Kule
Pros: Details matter and the little red/blue stripe on the edge of this shirt makes it. The cut is loose but not baggy and the cotton is good quality. Decent price.
Cons: If you’re not sporty (at least in spirit) I’m not sure this works for you.
The Sexy T-Shirt: Frances des Lourdes
Pros: This Italian slub silk jersey T-shirt is the most grown-up, luxurious-feeling basic you can put on. If you are a T-shirt girl no matter what the occasion and wear them when you dress up, it is worth the investment.
Cons: It’s not pure white (if that is a must in your book). It’s also slightly sheer, which is what makes it sexy, but you have to be comfortable letting your underpinnings show (I personally prefer a basic black bra underneath.) Also you must hand wash, don’t learn the hard way like I did!
Three-Pack Splurge: Prada
Pros: The stretch cotton is great, it’s thick enough to wear solo, the high arm-holes (though not for everyone), give it a tailored appeal.
Cons: It runs small, I am a small in everything else except this, which I would need a medium.
Coolest Neckline Detail: Toteme
Pros: It is hard to tell until you have it your hands, but the curved-in seams at the arms give this shirt a modern twist. Sometimes it’s nice to have something different.
Cons: It’s off-white and not classic. (Not cons to me, but just saying.)
Better On Than Expected: Alexander Wang. T
Pros: A reversible T-shirt? I was curious. But even out of the box, not convinced until I put it on. The fit is boxy and slightly cropped so you feel like a cool A Wang girl, but not so cool it hurts. And the off-white shade with the white trim when worn in reverse is actually flattering. This was a pleasant surprise.
Cons: At $175 stay away from salad dressing and condiments, and the putty shade on the the reverse might not flatter everyone.
The Other Every Day: ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo
Pros: If the Karla x Hanes is too fitted for you, this boxier version has a nice weight cotton. I’ve never tried ATM pieces, but they get my two thumbs up.
Cons: Can’t think of one, unless you don’t like something a little loose.
What Jackie O. Would Have Worn: Petite Bateau
Pros: I love the slim 70s-era fit of a Petite Bateau T-shirt–worn with a pair of flared jeans and sandals, it feels like the ultimate summer weekend ensemble.
Cons: Because it’s fitted and white you can’t hide anything (in fact, I favor the darker, more forgiving shades). Also, they sell out fast. I wear a kids size 16, but if you are a size 6/8 women’s, you need an 18 or 20 which constantly seem to be out of stock.