spoiler alert, if you’ve read this blog recently, you may already know that about a month ago, i finally found what i believe to be the perfect white t-shirt. but if white cotton garments is anything like love, sometimes you have to cross a lot of frogs before you find your prince. so in an interest in helping you narrow your personal search for the crowning jewel in your minimalist closet, i’ve teamed up with elisabeth ensor, author of the natural health, recipes, and fashion tips instagram account @lizzyloveshealth to share our respective journeys (we sound like an episode of the bachelor) of how we finally came to find our favorite white tee. swing on over to lizzy’s account to view more about her own t-shirt parameters, the stores she tried, and the end result.
for my journey, keep reading 🙂
truth be told, i feel like i’ve been searching for the quintessential white t-shirt for years. my criteria has always been fairly simple -something slightly billowy but with good shape, preferably v-neck, long enough to fit my elongated torso, and most importantly, not see-through. after hearing fashion magazines praise designer brands for years (for example), i wondered if there was any truth to the idea that higher-end brands offered superior products -at least when it came to this wardrobe staple. granted higher-end is a relative term, of course. in this example, my “higher-end” brands are still relatively budget-friendly, but i understand not everyone thinks a t-shirt should cost more than $20. so i mixed two stores widely known for their budgetary offerings (h&m and target) and two more seen as carrying “investment” pieces (madewell and anthropologie). below are my honest opinions.
please excuse my dressing room selfies, but i wanted to show off the style and fit of each shirt i tried. and also to tell you that anthropologie has hands-down the best lighting in any dressing room i’ve ever been in. details correspond with each photo -starting with the one in the top left corner, and working clockwise:
h&m basic v-neck tee ($5.99, size medium -sized up) || ask anyone pretty much anywhere in the world (since the store is an international brand) and they’ll tell you h&m is a great place for inexpensive basics and takes on the season’s hottest trends. like a forever 21 but on a global scale. now i’m not sure if my particular local store was picked over or what, but i was surprised at the lack of inventory when i ventured in last week. i finally managed to find a white v-neck but when i grabbed it in my size, it was noticeably tiny (h&m sizing definitely has a learning curve since it’s a european company and things tend to run a lot smaller). so i ended up sizing up to ensure a relatively flattering fit. even in a larger size, the shirt was still too tight for my liking -especially around the shoulder/arm area. i think the extra lycra in the fabric blend was to blame for the slim fit. even at under $10, the fit wasn’t desirable enough to justify spending the money. in my mind, that’s four visits to starbuck’s (see where my priorities lie?) and i’d rather spend my money there than on a shirt i’d probably just end up tossing after one wear.
mossimo supply boyfriend v-neck tee ($9.00, size small -TTS) || ahh the beloved bulls-eye. let’s be honest, i’ve been a loyal tar-jay shopper since my elementary school days. and over the past umpteen years, the store has really stepped up their fashion game. from featuring exclusive designers to the occasional collaborative collection, target has reaffirmed its spot in my shopping rotation. as soon as i slipped this shirt on, i was instantly comfortable. the cotton is thick but not too thick and the shirt hung on my body without being a sausage casing (i was TTS). so for those reasons alone, i’m endorsing it as my pick for “best budget buy.” way to go, target!
madewell slub v-neck tee ($25.00, size small -sized up for a looser fit) || this review is pretty moot seeing as i’ve already revealed that it’s my top pick, but i wanted to elaborate a bit more on why it received top honors. as you know, my main goal as a fashion blogger is to showcase how it doesn’t take a celebrity-sized closet to look chic. less really can be more when you invest quality, classic pieces and get creative with your styling techniques. though it may seem frivolous to spend $25 on a t-shirt, when it’s a shirt that fits you to a tee (pun intended), makes you feel good about yourself, and is high enough quality that it will last weeks of habitual wear, in my opinion, it’s money well-spent. plus it’s important to note that this particular tee was purchased at a fraction of the listed price because madewell is always having some sort of promotional and as a savvy shopper, it pays (literally) to be informed when your favorite sometimes-just-out-of-budget-stores are having a sale!
t.la roll-cuff tee ($48 (sold at anthropologie, size x-small -sized down) || while anthropologie will always hold a special place in my heart for novelty items and for swoon-worthy housewares, a place to buy wardrobe basics it is not. i actually had a hard time locating a basic white tee, but finally found one on a table in their “lounge wear” section. as soon as i picked up the shirt, i could tell that its quality hardly matched its price tag. despite being very soft, it was completely see-through. thank goodness i was wearing a nude-colored bra, or this photo would have been very, um, revealing? to my original point, just because the shirt boasts a laudable label doesn’t mean it’s the best quality or most flattering. in fact, of the four shirts i tried on, it was my least favorite! but hey anthro, like i said, despite your lack of basics, your dressing room game is on point.
clearly there are far more important decisions in life than which white t-shirt to purchase for your wardrobe, but for a versatile staple such as this, it’s okay to take your time and find the absolute perfect brand, size, fit, and shape for you. like anything else you put on your body, a white t-shirt should make you feel like your best version -confident and beautiful. and in this madewell tee, i feel just that.
if you’re still here, first of all, thank you! and secondly, don’t forget to swing over to @lizzyloveshealth to see more of her journey of finding the quintessential white t-shirt and which one she finally picked!