You guys, it's 2015. This is an age of instant access, of profound and rapid change, and of advancement. I hold in my hand right now, the power to research just about any topic my heart desires. My phone and my TV communicate with each other. I can order something from Amazon using wifi on an airplane and have it WAITING FOR ME AT HOME WHEN I LAND. It's amazing, right? So then why, I ask, in a time when so much is possible, can't I find a basic white tee shirt that is opaque enough to not require a cami?
After asking some friends, I have come to realize that this is a shared problem. Thus I took it upon myself to dive into research, and do some comparative shopping. Here is what I learned:
- Everyone has slightly different definitions of the perfect white tee, but most agree that the sheerness factor of what is currently on the market is a problem.
- People are usually either in camp cotton or camp rayon.
- As fabulous as The Row's white tee probably is, not many of us are willing to shell out $280 for this wardrobe staple.
I knew I wanted to include a quality white tee in my spring wardrobe, and so following the capsule mantra I took an intentional and deliberate approach to research before pulling the trigger. Many people (here, here, here) have tackled this issue, and inspired by their findings, I conducted my own independent review. Both scoop and v-necks were considered, and I purposefully bought two cotton and two rayon options to try out. Shirts were rated on fit, comfort, opacity, and price, and while this is by no means an exhaustive search, it's a start. After a few weeks of online hunting, I bought tops from Everlane, J.Crew, and Nordstrom, and came to the following conclusions:
(by the way, I'm a new blogger - all opinions are my own, and based on my experience, which is paid for with my own money)
First of all, let me just say that I love Everlane. In addition to buying less, I am also using this capsule experiment as an opportunity to choose well. Everlane is an ethical company with sustainable practices and a commitment to transparency. Plus their products are generally fantastic. For this particular white tee comparison, I purchased both the Ryan Tee and the Basic Cotton Tee.
Though I loved the feeling of the rayon, and the overall fit, the white Ryan tee was very sheer and thus, not quite right. The fabric and drape lent an air of luxury to this very simple basic, and I really liked the pocket and slouchiness. The scoop neck was elegant, if a tad oversized, and the price is excellent. But alas, it would have required a cami. Based on that knowledge and my love of the style, I ended up purchasing the black version and plan to incorporate the darker, completely opaque color into my summer capsule. As much as I wanted to love this top in white, it was just too sheer for my liking.
2. Everlane Cotton V $15
You definitely can't beat this price tag. I love that Everlane produces sustainable products while maintaining affordability. This basic cotton v-neck was more structured and more substantial than the Ryan tee, but the shape of the v didn't quite do it for me (though I bet it would be killer on someone with slender shoulders). I enjoyed the slightly boxy fit and sleeve cut, yet despite being a stronger cotton, the shirt itself was still too transparent to not require a second layer. After some deliberation, it went back to the kind folks at Everlane (great return policy, btw).
3. J.Crew V-Neck $26.50
This was my first exploration of J.Crew's basics, and unfortunately this cotton shirt was the most see-through of the bunch. If you're going for the "I want to the world to know what color my bra is" look, then this is the top for you. I enjoyed the fit of this tee more than Everlane's basic tee - mostly because the v was more flattering on my shape. J.Crew sells this in a variety of colors, however, and I have heard that many of the other hues are perfectly opaque.
4. Majestic Scoop Neck $120.00 (purchased on clearance for $35)
This Majestic top is extremely close to perfect, but it is also significantly more expensive than the other tops I reviewed. I somehow managed to luck out and find it on clearance at Nordstrom Rack, thank goodness, because unfortunately I am not at a place in my life right now where I can spend $120 on a single shirt and not feel twangs of panic, anxiety and general remorse. I love the fit, the softness of the rayon, and the slouchy cut, and found it the least sheer of all of options I tried. That said, it's still not completely opaque. In the end, it was the one I chose to add to my spring capsule and I'm very happy that I did. It's seriously a work-horse of a top. The rayon is forgiving, wrinkles don't stay for long, and I can easily dress it up or down.
And for comparison's sake all four shirts are below.
J.Crew - Everlane Ryan - Everlane Cotton V - Majestic
(also, here's the shirt in action under my unfortunate looking raincoat. plus my sister is adorable)
What do you think? Do you have a favorite basic tee? Maybe you prefer a bit of sheerness? I'd love to keep researching this - let me know what your go-to white tee is!