The essential white tee- a key item our wardrobes cannot do without. As necessary as a pair of jeans, this simple, white, cotton top enhances the look of many outfits and is classic yet contemporary. What is it that makes this piece so easy, versatile and feminine? And what makes it so sexy? Because let’s face it, whether on men or women it emanates an incredible look of confidence with its ‘I haven’t made much of an effort but I look hot’ attitude. This laid back garment has years and years of fine tuning behind it. It has also taken me years of nagging and brainwashing my husband to understand that a white V-neck T-shirt is always a safe bet, especially when I’m not around and he makes his own dress decisions.
The most classic version, a white cotton jersey crewneck that became standard military issue in World War II, descends from undergarments worn by Navy men in the 1910s. Chanel famously adapted jersey, a fabric traditionally used for underwear, into fashionable womenswear in the twenties. It became a fast fashion staple in the nineties, and continues to receive designer treatment from the likes of Karl Lagerfeld who in 1991 layered Chanel’s signature tweed cardigan jackets over white tees. And that’s precisely the measure of its success: The basic tee, after all, is the simplest, easiest piece of clothing imaginable. It can denote working-class status (if, for example, you’re the Boss); symbolize rebellion (James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause), athleticism (just ask any sports figure from dancers to boxers and everyone in between); accentuate sexiness (Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman). And it’s the most versatile piece imaginable too—the T-shirt can be worn anywhere, from the backwaters of New Orleans (Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire) to the red carpet.
No wonder, then, that along with jeans, the classic white tee remains a key element of the quintessential casual-cool uniform: Its very plainness, after all, leaves room for self-invention, the root of the American dream.
But is this white T- shirt so easy to find? The answer is no! For me, my perfect white tee has become a blessing lately to bump into because when looking for it, I never find it. Too tight, too much Lycra, not long enough, not wide enough, not soft enough, neck line too high or too low- these variations just don’t meet my wants and needs. Whether designer or high street it is always a struggle! I like mine soft, cotton or linen (no mixed fibres) to drop gracefully, long enough to be tucked in, to flatter my waist line, to be a soft V-neck and to look slightly distressed with no logos/ slogans/prints. When I find my perfect white Tee I never stay at one. The following brands have been very good to me:
Like the tee, the white vest works in the same way, it works well with a pair of all time classic jeans, trousers, a skirt, a dress, or under a jumper or a satin slip. A sexy outfit for any hour of the day.
Is there anything hotter and sexier than a pair of 501s, a white t-shirt, a blazer or leather biker and a pair of sling back, kitten heels? Team this look up with a bag of the moment and you are good to go at any time of the day. Morning, noon and night. So easy!
Iconic moments that live on: