The quest for the perfect white t-shirt... It's something I'm sure many of you are familiar with. The search for that elusive piece of clothing, one of the most basic items, that, if found will make your whole wardrobe more functional and versatile. With the myriad of t-shirts available, you would think this would be an easy feat, but, as I'm sure you know, it can feel like a mission equivalent to the search for the Holy Grail.
Okay, I'm being a little dramatic and overly serious about a t-shirt, but hey, just roll with me on this one :p
Basic pieces may not be the most exciting thing to shop for, but they really are the core pieces that build the foundation of your wardrobe (be it capsule or otherwise).
They're the ones that you can throw on with your fun pieces, the ones that get worn again and again and are cycled through the wash more times than you can count. Without them, your wardrobe doesn't quite mesh. They're the glue that holds everything together and make getting dressed a million times easier, but by gosh they can be hard to find!
I'm a simplicity lover and wannabe minimalist so I hate buying a piece and finding out it's not quite right. (I'm never going to be a real minimalist, but hey, I try...)
I don't want to have 10 white t-shirts that don't quite work. I want one (or maybe two) perfect ones that are versatile and multifunctional and can be paired with everything I want it to!
Let's start with the perfect white t-shirt. Out of all the basics, the simple white t-shirt (or grey also in my case) is definitely king, so before you commit, consider these questions to avoid getting stuck with a dud!
1. Where and in what situation do you want to wear it?
- I want a white t-shirt that I can wear causally on the weekends, but that can also be dressed up a little. Maybe even one that is nice enough top to wear to work (eg: with a blazer over the top). It therefore means that it can't be too see-through and not too slouchy.
2. What fabric are you looking for?
- I want it to be 100% cotton because from experience I've found these wear the best - they're easy to care for and will last. They also don't cling to your body in unflattering ways (like ones that have elastane) and they are cool, breathable and oh-so-soft.
3. What do you want to wear it with?
- I want something fitted enough to tuck in easily to skirts and layer under dresses, but also loose enough that if I wear it with normal hipster jeans it doesn't cling unflatteringly to my tummy.
- For layering, I've found that round necks look best (in my opinion) and are the most versatile
4. What Style Works Best For You?
- Think about the neckline, the arm length and the overall length of the tee
- Do v-necks suit you better or is a round neck more your style?
- I don't usually like things that are too high cut around the neck (it can be unflattering for those of us with a larger bust) so I generally prefer to go for a more scoop neck style. Although there a sometimes exceptions, like in the photo above.
- The length of the arms is also important. I dislike cap sleeves as I feel they make my arms look bigger, but I'm also not a fan of sleeves that are too long. They need to be "juuuust right" as Goldilocks would say.
- Do you want a longer t-shirt or something more cropped?
- It's all about knowing what style works best for you and what makes you feel most comfortable and confident.
5. Try on a bunch of different styles in three different sizes
- Yes - three different sizes!
- It is SO important to try things on. Something may look great in a photo online, but until it's on your body you just don't know. Of course you can order online and return if it doesn't work, but for me, I find it much easier to just shop in-store.
- I have a few go-to stores for basics. Country road being my number one. The great thing about Country Road is that they have a great selection of basics and numerous styles to choose from.
- This particular time I tried on three different t-shirt styles that seemed to fit my criteria. The trick here is to try them on in a variety of sizes, because you just never know which one is going to be the best.
- The shirt above is the Country Road "Cotton Slub T-shirt" in an XXS. (I am not usually an XXS!!) The key is to always try the different sizes because sometimes a size down or up might help you find exactly what you're looking for!
6. Bring it home and try it on with your other clothes!
- Check that it tucks into the pieces you want to tuck it into
- Check that it looks great just worn loose over a pair of jeans.
- If it's not quite right, back it goes!
- With a capsule wardrobe I've become an expert at returning pieces. Sometimes you just don't know if a piece is right until you try it on with other items in your wardrobe and make sure it works. If it doesn't or if you're undecided then it really should go back. If you're not excited to wear it straight away when it's brand new, you're not going to be excited to wear it... ever.
So those are my tips to find the perfect white t-shirt. I'm not sure how I managed to write so much about something that should really be a simple task, but when you're trying to keep things minimal, it's so important to actually think through purchases and make sure they are the right ones! It saves you from buyers remorse and also ensures your wardrobe is only filled with pieces you LOVE.
Let me know if it you found this helpful or if you have any smart shopping tips to share!
Lots of Love