While a shirt that comes in a 3-pack at your local five-and-dime may keep you adequately covered, these cheap tees tend to be knit much tighter. So while they're thicker and thus less likely to get holes, they're also stiff and less flattering on a woman. So when your outfit demands something more refined, try taking the material and fit into account. Pricier shirts are made from better materials, like blends that are brushed and loosely knit so they feel like a dream to wear. Make this comfy item of clothing even comfier by trying shirts from Nation Ltd, which makes its shirts from a buttery cotton. The second you touch it, you'll realize why people dish out the extra cash. Both a v-neck and crew neck are vital basics to keep lying around. Also, many people swear by organic materials, especially those made from bamboo cotton. It's extremely supple, often likened to cashmere in feel, and on top of that, it's eco-friendly, moisture-wicking (so you don't sweat through your clothes), and kills bacteria that causes odor. This Essential Crewneck T is made from bamboo cotton jersey, and it's just $26.95 (OrganicStyle.com) -- which isn't too bad considering its benefits. You can also try this Organic Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T ($15, American Apparel) which has the added benefit of supporting sustainable production as well. Of course, organic manufacturers don't bleach the material, so both of these options are more like off-white tees.
The other factor with T-shirts is the fit. Those 3-for packs usually employ a straight line from the arm to the hip, and when we last checked, a woman's shape was a bit curvier than that! Therefore, anything that either features more of a tailored shape for women or incorporates stretch is a better choice. Check out the way this Piazza Sempione Crewneck Waffle Tee carefully lays against the contours of the body. This shirt is quite an investment at $195 (Saks Fifth Avenue), but you can still incorporate the shapely design into your wardrobe without spending as much. Just go for a shirt that has a simple, yet curved, side seam or a material that contours to the body. Some of our favorites include this Velvet Ella Tunic ($58, Shopbop.com), the Splendid Very Light U Neck Tee ($46, Shopbop.com), the C&C California Vavoom V-Neck T-Shirt ($48, Bare Necessities), and the Solid Basic Tee ($16, Urban Outfitters). Once you put one of these babies on your back, you'll be hooked.
Finally, there's the shirts that employ clever construction to attain the basic shape we know and love, thus making the tee more than just an overlooked layer. They're often pieced together with interesting seaming, like this Phyl Couture Hilary Tee ($38, Stars and Infinite Darkness), which looks like a structured top because of the Union Jack seams. Slow And Steady Wins the Race is an avant garde brand that also takes the tee to another level, and it's all the more interesting because of it. You can also pique your fashion interest with this Burnout Tee ($35, Alternative Apparel), which features material that's worked to look striated and vintage. It's particularly good for layering and showing off colorful camis underneath.
Whether you're looking for a basic layer or an item that can stand on its own, the white tee deserves a bit more of your attention. Walking out in just a T-shirt and jeans can look a lot more stylish if you take note of the material, fit, and design of this classic piece.
-- Lindsay Sakraida
Note: there may be a way to make the items mentioned above an even better bang for your buck -- remember to search stylenotes for special promotions and coupon codes that may be applied to your order.