Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Little White Tee and Thee

It's time to revisit an oldie, but goody.  The Post My Little White Tee originally appeared two years ago, but, with spring in full flower and summer beginning to bud, it's the perfect time to take another look at one of the hardest working wardrobe basics in your closet.  

White House Black Market

Among the hardest working pieces in a woman’s wardrobe, along with the perfect pair of jeans and the perfect LBD, is the perfect LWT – Little White Tee – especially in summer, when it becomes her favorite go-to piece. 

But it often seems that finding the perfect LWT is even harder than finding the perfect LBD. 
It should be a no-brainer.  We should be able to just order it on line or grab one off the rack without even trying it on.  After all, it’s just a simple white Tee -- nothing special, right?  Wrong. 
Finding your perfect LWT is a bit more complicated than that.  It is essential to try it before you buy it to determine the following:


The fabric should feel soft and comfortable to the touch.  I prefer a light, silky Tee with a bit of stretch to it; however, the silkier the fabric, the more transparent it is likely to be, so make sure to check that out.  Personally, I’m not into totally see-through Tees (M-T Note:  Make sure to wear a nude bra, rather than white, under your white Tee, unless you want people to focus on your bra.). 


If you are larger on top, a V-neck will be more flattering than a round or crew neck.  V-necks create diagonal lines which break up any roundness.  You never want to repeat the same shape in your neckline.

White House Black Market
For example, if you have narrow shoulders, a bateau neckline will make them seem wider.  For the pear-shaped woman this adds width at the top to balance a wider bottom. 


A large, shapeless Tee will make you look the same.  It doesn’t have to fit like a second skin, but it should hug the body enough to show some shape underneath.  If you wear a loose-fitting Tee, wear skinny jeans or a slim, straight skirt to create a more flattering proportion. 


How long is the Tee?  Is it too long/too short?  Does it hit you at the right spot?   Here’s where trying it on is crucial.  Here’s also where you determine whether or not the Tee can be worn over (Does the zipper on my jeans poke through?) or under (too bulky?) your bottoms or both – valuable information to have. 

Once you’ve found your perfect LWT, I always advise getting two (or three).  You’ll be glad you did when your one perfect LWT is in the laundry.  If it comes in other colors that the store doesn’t have in stock, that’s the time to go on line and order it in black, navy or coral.  After all, you already know it works. 
And to those of you who don’t wear white well, no problem.  The color “white” is not in my autumn color palette either, so I always make sure I have a flattering color near my face in a scarf, necklace or earrings.  It’s the color nearest your face that counts. 

While we’re on the subject of accessories, you don’t have to stick with the tried-and-true LWT, skinny jeans and scarf. 

How about this to shake things up a bit?




  1. M-T, your little white tee post is perfectly timed! I have unsuccessfully shopped for a PWT over the last year (one too small, one too baggy and one too transparent). I ordered them all online. Silly me! Now with your advice, I will search out the perfect for me PWT on my next shopping trip.
    Thank you!

    1. Isn't always the way, Cheri, that when we think we are saving time by ordering on line, it often costs us time in returning the item and having to shop all over again?

      Let me know how you make out now that you know what to look for.

      Cheers, M-T

  2. I so agree. I am finding it extremely difficult to find a good white T. Gap used to do some good basic ones but no longer. I don't like the ones that sling they eventuate the "bit" round the middle. I am going to have a good search when I get back to London.

    1. It really is ridiculous that it's so hard to find the perfect LWT, Josephine. I quite agree. Depending on the shape and where it hits you, it can really accentuate those trouble spots.

      When you get back to London, let us know how your search goes.

      P.S.: So glad you were able to "resurrect" your Blog.

  3. Funny how something so simple can be so hard to find.

    Hope you're doing well, M-T!

    1. That's so often the way it works, but it's worth the hunt, because the simplest things are usually the things that give us the most pleasure over time. Don't you think?

      I am doing very well, thank you, Deborah. Always wonderful to hear from you.

      Cheers, M-T

  4. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    Absolutely true about the LWT and yes, I do have several and they always are perfect to wear. Also the ones with the long sleeves. My favorites are the ones from Wolford, which I found at the Outlet in Sawgrass Mills, FL.
    Sending you hugs,

    1. Dearest Mariette,

      Great tip on Wolford. I'll check them out. One of my favorite ways to wear a Tee, especially when it's in a great color, is over a sleeveless sheath and belted. Great casual look and you suddenly have twice as many outfits when you travel.

      Big hugs to you, too.


  5. I received this comment via e-mail from J. Hus, Paris, who gave me permission to post it. I think you will find the information very interesting, as I did.

    “Concerning the little white T, I go out of my way to avoid any manufacturer who outsources to low-wage countries. Which means owning fewer, but better things.

    "OSCALITO, the Italian knit-wear manufacturer, does some beauties in their BASICS line in mercerised cotton, as well as high-fashion, mercerised cotton knitwear in their seasonal lines, often embellished with lace. Everything is 100% made in Italy.

    "I've been wearing some Oscalito T-shirts for over ten years, and they are still in perfect nick. Not cheap at first sight, but virtually indestructible, at least in European washing machines.

    Mercerised cotton (Filo Scozia, Fil d'écosse) is as beautiful as silk, perfectly washable, and keeps its shape and colour over dozens of washings. It can only be made from long-fibre, Egyptian-type cotton.

    "Bernard SOLFIN, a French on-line retailer of 100% French-made natural-fabric clothing,
    also has lines in less fashionable though excellent-quality cotton and merino wool (NB: Solfin is not the place to go for very small sizes), as does the Armor Lux on-line shop (type 'coton mercerisé' in the search engine). The Armor Lux white cotton T-shirts are in the "lingerie" or "underwear" section.

    "There's also a manufacturer at Montreal (on-line) who does beautiful Canadian-made merino wool,
    linen, silk and mercerised cotton knitwear but i've forgotten the name
    for the time being. Not to speak of John Smedley (on-line too) , but both are right off the usual price-charts ...."

    1. Here's a P.S. from J. Hus, Paris, which she has asked me to add:

      "And of course I've just remembered (in the night, while sleeping!), the name of the Montreal manufacturer. It's Ca va de soie https://www.cavadesoi.com/

      on-line boutique. Perhaps you could add it?"


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