The lowly t-shirt.
It doesn’t get much press.
Yet you probably have a drawer full of them. Old and new. Solid and graphic. Purchased and given.
The lowly t-shirt has the potential to become the lovely t-shirt.
For today’s Fashion Friday, I’m exploring the challenge of finding the perfect t-shirt.
If you are not from Houston, then you may not be able to fathom our weather right now. It still hasn’t hit 100 ACTUAL degrees but we have multiple days already with “feels like” numbers up to 110 degrees. Why? Because we live in a flippin’ sauna. We basically are enduring 100 percent humidity on 95 degree days which means if you have any amount of hair on your head you look like a chia pet.
I most definitely look like a chia pet.
The other reality of living in a sauna is that Houstonians attempt to dress as cool as possible when they’re not going to work. Not cool as in “you’re a cool cat,” but cool as in “I hope my outfit doesn’t raise my temperature to such a level that I pass out walking into the grocery store.”
Enter the lowly t-shirt.
I took a hard look at my weekend baseball/swim team mom style. It wasn’t pretty. And it wasn’t actually style. It was either a pair of shorts or Athleta ‘moisture wicking’ skort with a t-shirt. An old tired t-shirt.
Yet, I realize the t-shirt has the potential to look fantastic.
Take a gander at this:
I do not look like this in a t-shirt.
So I went on a hunt. I researched articles and did some on-line shopping. I spent a ton of money on t-shirts JUST to test them out – all but two have now been returned. From the $100 t-shirt (which was going back whether I liked it or not) to the $10, I tried an assorted variety.
Here’s my review:
The big Kahuna in several fashion reviews was a t-shirt brand called Rag & Bone. I had to check it out regardless of its $90 price tag (and they had ones that were even more). I was unimpressed. The t-shirt was fine but absolutely nothing to write home about. The material was thinner than I like and it looked like a men’s undershirt.
Nordstrom’s brand, Halogen, was fine. Soft. Simple crew. But I didn’t like their scoop neck, there’s a wide variety of kinds of scoops, and I also didn’t care for how the sleeves fell on me. I also tried a Loveappella one, not pictured, but didn’t keep it because it fit like a box in the worst way.
Several friends recommended Madewell. They are still in the hunt for me. I liked how their shirt hem was designed to wear untucked and the material wasn’t too thin (though with some of their t-shirts the material is super thin so be careful). Plus they are reasonably priced. However, the sleeves fell longer than I like in a t-shirt, and these particular stripes weren’t for me. It might have made it on to the keeper list if it had been a solid color.
I absolutely adored the designs of Ted Baker’s t-shirts, and it wasn’t a icky material like I worried it might be from the website. However, is is VERY fitted. If you are carrying any weight you don’t want folks to see (like I am), then this shirt is not for you. So sad because this is only one of several clever designs. If you are slim in the torso, I definitely recommend.
My clear favorite was a brand I hadn’t heard of before, Allsaints. I do not typically wear horizontal stripes, no need to widen anything there, but I fell in love. Granted this t-shirt had some fun little ruffles on the side of the sleeves which probably put it even further in front of the pack, but the material was light but not thin and it fell straight down instead of clinging to my extra bits. I won’t shop for it again until it’s on sale because even though I want a couple of go-to tees, they shouldn’t cost more than $50!
A surprise find was a Joe’s t-shirt I got on sale at Nordstrom’s for $20. This is exactly what I was looking for. A plain gray t-shirt. No adornments. Simple. And not worn out. Half of my tees are just too worn to keep wearing. I did make myself do a drawer purge before these all arrived. But for a morning at the pool, this little gray number and a pair of flip flops is all I need.
Finally, I tried three bargain tees. One from Old Navy. One from Target. And one from Loft. The problem with most cheap tees (heck with the pricey ones too) is that they are all super thin. That means you have to wear a cami/tank underneath. In a city where you are trying to get away with wearing as few as clothes as possible in the summer, this is not ideal.
My favorite from Old Navy is the ruffled linen-blend one shoulder. It hangs loose and is thick enough to wear without an under-layer. Granted, it’s not your traditional tee because it’s an off the shoulder one, but who says you can’t play with tees in the summer? And upon review, they have this material in other designs – definitely recommend ($15). I wear my tee from Target, Universal Thread, but just around the house ($10). It is thin, though I love how it hangs, but it pills quickly. Finally, I love this vintage soft tank from Loft but DO NOT dry it ($15). It shrinks up quickly and now I’m a little hesitant about wearing it out.
So help a community out – what is your FAVORITE tee? Why? How long will it last you? Share your thoughts on finding a tee and looking polished.