Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fashionable Basics - T-Shirts

Multiple Choices  

How many t-shirts can one girl own? As many that look good and feel great.
How many t-shirts of the same style can one girl own? As many as there are colours in that style.
How many black t-shirts can one girl own? At the very least, one short sleeved, one three-quarter sleeved, and one long sleeved.
How many “boyfriend” t-shirts should a girl lay claim to? As many as she can get away with but only if she is in her teens or early twenties. After a particular age, it’s no longer a “boyfriend” t-shirt, it’s just big and sloppy.

Closet Content Analysis:

NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED

I think there's something incredibly sexy about a woman wearing her boyfriend's T-shirt and underwear.
- Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein would change his idea of sexy if he saw me in my husband’s T-shirt, let alone his underwear. But t-shirts whether fitted and worn under a blazer or over-sized and worn as pyjamas, have become a necessity in a stylish closet.

It's interesting that men like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren who have the money to dress in cashmere and silk have chosen classic jeans and t-shirts as their looks. There’s no doubt that this item, which started out as men's underwear has become a fashionable closet staple. Now, t-shirts, blended with spandex and stamped by a designer, can cost up to three figures. No matter where your wallet places you on the price continuum, t-shirts fulfill many of our wardrobe’s complementary needs.

I've always thought of the T-shirt as the Alpha and Omega of the fashion alphabet.
- Giorgio Armani

NICE: My favourite tee is a style rather than a brand. V-neck, 3/4 length sleeves with a small percentage of spandex are the required attributes for a NICE t-shirt. I find that whenever I wear a long sleeve t-shirt, I pull up the sleeves to sit at mid-forearm. I’ve always liked wearing a t-shirt with a suit just to take the formal edge off. I like that look on a guy too.

NOTE-WORTHY: A Ralph Lauren Sport Polo (light blue emblem) v-neck white t-shirt with short sleeves. I found it at Winners for cheap but it was a size small and at the time of purchase, I was not a small. It’s NOTE-WORTHY because it took me two years before I could finally fit it. In the shopping tips, this would be an absolute do not do. Yet I did it and it worked.

NO THANKS: T-shirts with any lettering, full frontal (or back) advertising or bold overdone embellishments unless you're in a marathon or some fund raiser. Begin the psychoanalysis — I just don't like anyone looking at my chest and wondering, "what does that say?" or "what is that?"

NEED: I probably don’t NEED any more t-shirts in my closet except maybe two or three in the following: "tangerine tango, sodalite blue, cockatoo, solar power, cabaret and starfish", all Panetone colours considered to be the trendy spring and summer choices for 2012.

T-shirt Buying Tips: Just from the existing posts, you will be able to predict my recommendations. If you find a great t-shirt that fits nicely, not too tight, buy it in as many colours as available. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll always have something to wear.

Crew neck t-shirts look fine on a smaller framed body but if you are on the double digit size side of the clothing rack, v-necks work better.

What is too tight? The line between too tight and form-fitting can be fractional. Just look at your chest and then turn and look at your back, paying attention to the bra lines. If you see lumps and bumps, it's too tight. Move your eyes down. Do you see any indication of muffin top? If the fabric is pulling, stretching or bunching, it doesn't fit. You might not even need a bigger size, you might just have to try another brand name; there will be one that is perfect.

What is too big? Check your shoulders. If the seam is past where the upper arm meets the shoulder, guess what, look for a smaller size. And yes, you will find that you will try t-shirts on that fit beautifully in the shoulders but then pull across the bustline. Same advice applies, try on a different brand name in the medium and large ranges.

T-shirt sizes are some of the most variable in the fashion market. There are brands where the size Large looks like a small and small's that fit sloppily through the body.

T-shirt Caring Tips: Black and other dark t-shirts can easily begin looking dull and grayish. Inside out, cold water and laundry detergents specifically for dark colours help keep dark cotton dark. When I'm in France I like using Décolor Stop Intense by Eau Ecarlate. Hang to dry. Dryers are really hard on clothing. I don't have a dryer in France and have to hang everything outside. The clothes have a different smell - fresh is the best way to describe it.

There are those who will stop reading and go to the next blog when they read, iron your t-shirts. The difference between the dryer crinkles and a flat matte finish is the difference between well-dressed and sloppily dressed even if it’s only a t-shirt. A t-shirt can be ironed in less than a minute. Iron inside out, sleeves first, then shoulders and neckline, and finally the body. Thank-you mom.  

Welcoming your  NICE, NO THANKS, NOTE-WORTHY and NEED t-shirt stories.


  1. Relaxing in Kelowna19 March 2012 at 22:25

    I'm with you on the ironing. I love ironing!!!! It can take the ordinary to the extraordinary; no kidding! An inexpensive t-shirt, pair of pants, blouse, tablecloth, can look great if an iron is put to it. It only takes minutes and can elevate whatever it is you, or your table, is wearing. Keep up the great work JoyD!

    1. I agree with you about the transformation ironing can make (linen aside). You need the right tools. I bought a great Rowenta iron with a separate water reservoir (made in France, mais oui) and a wide board. Ironing has become perhaps not so much something I love doing, but certainly something that I take a little more pleasure in doing. I think it's because of the ease in the actual movement this iron affords, the steam capacity and the of course, the results with considerably less effort. I am also thinking you should change your moniker from "relaxing" in Kelowna.

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