9 Jun 2015

Style Notes: The Best Tee Shirt

the white tee shirt worn by jane birkin

I can’t survive dressing without tee shirts.

Who can?

Tee shirts are the most humble of pieces and yet without them I would be lost.

Tee shirts are my everyday go-to in all seasons, sometimes replaced by a turtleneck in the colder months, but always ready and working under my blazers.

In my experience tee shirts are about as difficult to fit as swimsuits.

It all comes down to the neckline, the body fit and the length of the sleeves.

If the neckline is too low it shortens the body, if the sleeves are too long or too short the arms are not flattered.

A higher round neck is the most comfortable and attractive of all styles. The preferable length of sleeve is just above mid-way between shoulder and elbow.

Then there is the body fit.

Worn under a jacket, the slim fit is the answer. Alone and the tee shirt needs to be loose, not too loose, yet loose enough to conceal not emphasize. If you know what I mean?

the white tee shirt worn by jane birkinthe white tee shirt worn by jane birkinthe white tee shirt worn by jane birkinthe white tee shirt worn by jane birkin

It is a lot of talk for the most basic item of clothing.

A tee shirt is worth the extra effort to wear right. It can make or break an outfit.

Besides, is there a better look than blue jeans worn with a white tee shirt and slip-on sneakers, espadrilles or heels?

I don’t very often buy super expensive tees: my favourites are from Gap and Vince. I re-stock them every year when they start to look tired. I have worn them not only with my smartest skirts but also with my oldest jeans.

Then there is a long sleeved more dressy version when I’m feeling the need.

Did I mention colours?

Numerous white and black tee shirts with a couple of grey and navy ones thrown in are the answer.

Either way, the tee shirt is a winner, xv

Style Notes: The Best Tee Shirt

gap pure body // gap modern crew // vince little boy // eileen fisher silk tee

images jane birkin

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Angela Muller

Spot on, Vicki! The tee is essential…it is casual, elegant, a real chameleon! Remember on “Project Runway”, Michael Kors in jeans and a black tee! Is there anything sexier? However, they are not all created equal. I agree, the round neck is the most flattering because you can pair it with any piece of jewelry or jacket. I love Eileen Fischer’s silk tees, but I live in Isaac Mizrahi’s tee shirts: sleeveless, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, long sleeves, sumptuous cotton, a myriad of colors, though I tend to stick to the basic neutrals, wears like iron……do you think I love these tees? It has taken a lifetime to hit gold with just the right tee! Hmmmm, you’ve just helped me refine and simplify my wardrobe. Thanks, Vicki!

Anita Rivera

I agree Vicki. Not all tee shirts have this chic look. Either too large or too tight and short, a tee shirt needs to fit just right. I am in Carmel California right now and it’s actually cool but a turtleneck is all I need for now. But once I hit home in the midwest, it will be tee weather!

Have a marvelous day. OH, I adore your IG pics! Anita

Cathy C

Hi Vicki,
I too love the Gap’s t-shirts – I opt for the long sleeved, higher round neck, and I buy multiples in black, grey and white. They go on sale here in the US a couple times a year for a ridiculously low price of about $9 -$10. I probably have a dozen yet unworn just in case they stop making my favorite.
Even though I work out fairly often I am afraid the skin on my upper arms has become a little loose so I don’t like short sleeves but I have a few from Nordstrom’s Halogen line. Also very reasonably priced and the fabric and colors are lovely.
Couldn’t imagine life without my comfy T’s!

Karen in Oxford

Yes, yes, yes! I wholeheartedly agree. I buy a new stack of T-shirts every two years because I wear and wash them so often throughout the year and they’re usually Gap or Boden. I long ago figured out that a v-neck or scoop-neck are the most flattering on me but I also have many round necks. I wear them with everything from jeans to pencil skirts, and because I’m enduring hot flushes and cold chills these days, I even pop them on over a patterned shirt or blouse for an extra layer that I can slip on or peel off as my malfunctioning thermostat dictates! Black, white and my favourite navy – so versatile and never out of style.


Three dot T shirts are the best! Wash the best last the longest and the fit is amazing! Pluse you can’t see through!

Mimi Gregor

Every spring, I usually buy a three-pack each of Hanes white t-shirts and Hanes white tank tops. (The children’s large fits me a LOT better than a men’s small, as I am quite short.) They are inexpensive, yet I get so many compliments when I pair them with a chic suit or cardigan and some necklaces. They are an essential part of my warm weather wardrobe. I love pairing the cheap with the pricy, the casual with the dressy.


Vicki, A great looking t-shirt can make a pair of jeans look so great or for a longer, fresh skirt for summer!!

The Arts by Karena
Jackson Pollock

cindy hattersley

Totally agree! Can’t beat the ones from the Gap. I also like their favorite T. I find I do not like anything super light weight at my age…not very flattering!! Sharing this on Facebook!


I love t-shirts and my favorite is Banana Republic’s, crew neck. I also wear Gap. I buy multiples as well in all the colors everyone else likes: white, black, grey, navy. I did just buy a cute, Tommy Hilfiger, looser white t with some interesting sleeve detail.


Thank you for the t-shirt recommendations! I was just thinking that I needed a few new white tees, and some of the Gap tees are on a very good sale!

Design Chic

I love a great white tee and my favorite right now is from J. McLaughlin. And of course, a Gap tee is always a perfect choice. Happy Tuesday, Vicki

Elizabeth C

I recently purchased some lovely t-shirts from American Eagle. I was shopping with my teenage daughter and picked up two in transitional colours which will work into my wardrobe as we head towards fall. It is generally a bad idea to wear the same clothing as your teenage daughter – but these tees are so soft and fit me really well. They are on the short side – but so am I – so it works. Check them out if you are petite in height.


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