White T-shirts are arguably one of the most comfortable and versatile wardrobe staples every woman needs in her closet. With so many brands and designers to choose from, we round up the top 10 best styles and fabrics to help you build up your essentials.
For a piece of clothing that looks so simple, you’d be surprised how different fabrics can be from one to another. Durability, issues with pilling and retaining colour can factor into whether or not you’ll be purchasing a brand again. In this top 10 list we’ll give you options of basic tees to the best quality t-shirts.
Let’s talk about textiles to start. The fibers of t-shirts range from short to long. You’ll find that shorter fibers actually ball up into little “pills” creating a worn look that doesn’t look as crisp. Look for high quality fabrics with longer fibers to prevent this. It may cost you more than what you hoped on a plain white t-shirt, but in reality you’ll have to replace poorly made ones much faster and probably spend more. Just think of a cost per wear equation!
The Best T-Shirt Fabrics To Look For
Try to find 100% cotton fabric. The question is: how do you tell the difference between low quality and high quality cotton? You’re looking for a tighter, softer knit, this means the fibers are longer and there’s a better chance for lasting durability. It will feel heavier and less sheer. The looser the weave, the more likely it’ll wear down quicker. If you are reading labels look for Pima or Egyptian cotton, they are generally considered top quality.
What about lycra or spandex combinations? For active lifestyles, these mixed fabrics may be a better option. The elasticity provided by them will be more form hugging if you aren’t into the contemporary boxy cuts. Not as heavy as thick cottons, you’ll feel cooler in them.
Tencel is another fabric, though synthetic, it has decent durability with a velvety surface. Washable and easy to care for, a lot of designers and brands look at tencel for their t-shirts and tops.
Taking all these into consideration, here are our top 10 best white t-shirts for women from most affordable to top-tier designers.
The Top 10 Best White T-shirts For Women
Crew Neck T-shirts
The classic, rounded crew neck will always be a major preference for women. It was historically created for the military, and then for workwear and athletics. Though not as decorative, the crew neck will be one of your best layering pieces.
Where to get it: ASOS The Ultimate Easy Longline T-shirt, £12, COS Classic T-shirt, £35, T By Alexander Wang Round Neck T-shirt, £228.95.
The V neckline is made to be hidden under another shirt, but now functions as a stand alone piece. From higher to more daring, deep V cuts, here’s a few of our favourite white v necks to consider.
Where to get it: Zara Organic Cotton T-shirt, £5.99, J. Crew Linen V-neck T-shirt, £18, Ann Demeulemeester V-neck T-shirt, £285.
Long Sleeve T-shirts
Your white t-shirts don’t have to be exclusively short-sleeved. Long sleeves will be great for under your outerwear and jackets. It’ll help from wearing down the inner lining of your coat’s sleeves.
Where to get it: J. Crew Vintage Cotton Long Sleeve T-shirt, £34.50, T By Alexander Wang Long Sleeve T-shirt, £83, Helmut Lang Long Sleeve T-shirt, £208.
Fitted white t-shirts are great for tucking into a pencil skirt, trousers or a pair of denim jeans. More curve-hugging, and helpful for tighter bottoms so you don’t feel unbalanced with your appearance.
Where to get it: New Look V-neck Ribbed T-shirt, £8, Oasis Boat Neck Top, £15, Frame Denim ‘Le Fitted’ T-shirt, £119.53.
Ultra comfortable, loose enough to slip off a shoulder, oversized white t-shirts can be your sexier leisure wear go-to. Don’t want it too loose, try relaxed boyfriend ones.
Where to get it: ASOS Oversized T-shirt With Cut Out Detail, £28, Faith Connexion Oversized T-shirt, £92, Isabel Benenato Oversized T-shirt, £534.
Though we discussed how sheerer white t-shirts may not have great longevity, if you are looking for pieces to layer over, you can try lighter silk chiffons or even athleisure meshes. If you don’t mind the durability issue as much, there’s plenty of cotton blends to look at too.
Where to get it: Nike Bonded Oversized T-shirt, £40, IRO Semi Sheer Pocket Detail T-shirt, £67, Junya Watanabe Comme Des Garcons Textured Sheer T-shirt, £126.
For your architectural fans out there, boring white t-shirts may not cut it for you. Luckily, many designers have created stunning masterpieces for you.
Where to get it: ASOS Origami T-shirt, £30, FreaksKIMTAEHOON Cubic Gleichung Monica Jersey Dress, £52, Jil Sander Structured Sleeve T-shirt, £560.
The crop trend is still going strong. Here are some picks that will look excellent with your high-waisted bottoms. Also, try a cropped t-shirt over or under a 90s throwback slip dress.
Where to get it: ASOS Crop T-shirt With Tipping, £10, AllSaints Tyler Cropped Tee, £28, Chiara Ferragni ‘Flirting’ Cropped T-shirt, £55.63.
Cap Sleeve T-shirts
Cap sleeves can make white t-shirts look lovely and feminine. They give just the right amount of sleeve to cover your shoulder without being considered a vest.
Where to get it: ASOS Crop Top With Cap Sleeves, £12, J. Crew Ballet Cap Sleeve T-shirt, £29.50, Rick Owens Drkshdw Cap Sleeve Top, £247.
If you need to dress for a more formal function or office, but don’t want to compromise your comfort here are a few designs that will keep you looking top shape.
Where to get it: Zara Contrast T-shirt, £19.99, AllSaints Amie Tee, £48, COS Wide Sleeve Silk Top, £125.
What To Wear With A White T-shirt
The styling ability of a white t-shirt is endless. A favourite with celebrity and fashion influencers, you’ll find inspiration everywhere. Here’s some ideas we can’t get enough of.
White Denim Jeans And Trousers
Every colour of denim jeans works amazing with a white t-shirt. Take it up a notch with white denim. It will look seamless paired with your favourite t-shirt. Throw on a white blazer over your top for an extra chic moment. Gold accessories and heeled sandals or shoes will give an elegant finish. The same goes for a crisp pair of tailored trousers. We definitely love the flowing, wide-leg fits right now. You’ll look statuesque.
Street Cool Kicks
Sneakers, slip-ons, even classic running shoes, they all match well with a white t-shirt. We definitely love us a pair of classic Adidas Superstars. Slip-on sneakers are another style that will give you diversity. Made from leather to canvas, some are more dressier than others. A great way to amp up your white t-shirts is to look for interesting textures such as calf hair. Novesta makes sneakers unique with their tire-marked rubber soles, and their sleek, colourful Marathon runners. Combine your kicks and t-shirts with a pair of slim jogger sweats or distressed denim for easy weekends.
Jackets: Bombers to Bikers
White t-shirts and jackets go hand-in-hand. Wear your most fitted jackets comfortably over a thin t-shirt. Biker jackets can be designed rather tight around the shoulders and arms, so saving those for your t-shirt days will be ideal. You can go timeless with a medium-wash denim jacket. Let it hang open and show off your favourite on-trend necklaces. Bomber jackets are a favourite for the athleisure movement and can work with any neckline style.
Where To Buy Good Quality Shirts
The debate about buying online is not being able to actually hold and feel the fabric weight. Ultimately, if you are able to dive into a Zara you’ll be able to find quality t-shirts at fair prices. Another place to really consider shopping if budget isn’t a concern to you, is some of the top tier department stores. House of Fraser and Fenwick hold some of the most luxurious brands out there. However, if you are looking for designer on a budget, Farfetch and Yoox can score you some serious treasures. It may be overwhelming browsing through thousands of items online, but both sites have some of the best designer sales.
How To Look After White T-shirts
When it comes to white t-shirts, laundering properly is key.
- Follow the instructions on the tag. If it needs to be dry-cleaned, spend the extra to have it done.
- Hand washing your t-shirts gently will help from fibers breaking down. Never twist tightly to wring out water. When you twist and pull, damage occurs to the threads.
- Use hot or warm water, though this can cause some shrinkage, it’s better for getting pesky stains out.
- If you really need to bleach, try to use only half the amount. Bleach is rough on your fabrics.
- For machine washables, really stick to true whites. It’s easy to toss in a pale colour or just not bother separating, but don’t do it. The best way to maintain that vividness is to keep them apart from anything with a hint of colour.
- Sometimes you’ll get those ugly yellow tinges, you can try to use bluing agents to counteract it. As always, when using any chemicals follow the directions carefully.
On a final note…
With the proper care instructions on hand, you’ll be able to maintain your favourite white t-shirts and hunt down some more. We covered the top 10 best styles of t-shirts, but there are endless designs available. Easy to live in on a daily basis along with a high comfort level, we can understand why white t-shirts will never be considered a quick fad.
Be sure to check out more women’s styling advice on Alexie.