Fashion & Beauty

A Good T-Shirt Is Hard to Find

DESPITE THE recent lack of cooperation from the weather gods, for the past month I’ve been obsessed about buying T-shirts. It’s the underpinning of my go-to daily summer uniform: a jacket and a white, black or striped tee paired with cropped jeans/pants or a skirt. That more or less covers me for a lunch date/meetings and (sans jacket) casual weekends. My requirements: a slightly fitted torso or a slightly slouchy one, a neckline that lies flat, a durable material that’s not see-through (must withstand the washing machine) and a price tag of less than $100, please.

Some history: If I had to rank my T-shirts in order of longevity and value, then that honor would go to a Gap navy-and-white striped short-sleeved crew neck that I’ve owned for the past seven or eight years. It’s a little pill-y, but I’m not quite ready to give it up. On the value end, my niece who was living with my husband and me for the summer after college left it at our house, and, sorry, Maggie, I kept it! Around the same time I bought a black James Perse T-shirt for about $35 (the price has gone up considerably) or so and was almost as pleased. In the meantime, I have bought plenty of T-shirts in all price ranges with not as much success. I was enamored with my Vince tee that I bought on sale two summers ago until it inexplicably got a hole in it several months later. I also loved my Saint James marinière, also purchased on sale, but it’s beginning to look, as the French say, “triste,” after only a few months of wear. And in spite of careful cold-water laundering, a Wolford sleeveless top that I paid big bucks for ($120) and don’t wear very often is starting to look frayed. (And I was so hopeful because their tights are simply the best!) My subsequent T-shirt buys at the Gap have been disappointing, too, with necklines that bulge and sub-par materials.

But not to be deterred, I’m on the hunt for new possibilities. My latest purchase is a $22 black, boxy Everlane Clean Edge Short-Sleeve T with side vents, chest pocket and a finished hem. I’m planning to wear it with slim white jeans and sandals. Last week’s Wall Street Journal story put white T-shirts from Aritzia and Anthony Thomas Melilla on my radar, although at $85, the latter is bumping up against my price limit. On the other end of the price spectrum, one of my most stylish friends is a fan of Old Navy tees — “they come in so many different colors and choices of neckline.” My well-informed New York City shopper has put me on to a site called Zady, a “sustainability-focused fashion company.” Like Everlane, it’s transparent about its sources, and the price point is reasonable.

The photos above show some of the T-shirts I’ve worn and liked and ones I intend to try. But, dear reader, we would love to hear what you think. Got a favorite brand? Share it with us by e-mailing

— Janet Kelly
Janet Kelly is the editor of Read more about Janet here.
She last posted on the jewelry business of Lizzie and
Kathryn  Fortunato. 






2 thoughts on “A Good T-Shirt Is Hard to Find

  1. Kathy Legg says:

    Like you Janet I’m always on the hunt for the perfect T. Thanks so much for doing the leg work for me this time. I have my credit card out and I’m ordering now.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Happy to help you spend your money well!

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