There’s something so chic about a simple white T-shirt. It looks crisp and pulled together while still oozing nonchalance, no matter how much thought you’ve put into your outfit. The best white T-shirts can add a laid-back twist to tailoring, dress down evening attire and make seasonal pieces go the extra mile. But, you have to get the fit just right (and once you’ve found it, stick with it). From boxy cropped styles to slimline layering heroes, here are a few key shapes you should keep on rotation – and a few that will liven up your basics collection, too.
Looking for the best white T-shirts on the high street? Scandi brand Arket should be your first stop. This one is cut to be boxy but not oversized, so you can wear it to work and on the weekend too. And for such good value, you might as well keep seven on rotation.
Low-rise jeans and trousers are creeping back in from their noughties graves thanks to the likes of Chanel and Alexander McQueen. If you’re planning on tackling this trend, we suggest you invest in a bodysuit asap. And if you’re not, buy one anyway. Re\Done’s version will create a smooth silhouette under bias-cut dresses and cigarette pants.
In today’s casual climate, a white T-shirt should be an essential part of your workwear wardrobe. Look for something that’s slim but not too clingy (you need it to fit seamlessly underneath blazers), and longline enough to tuck into tailored trousers without riding up.
Casual weekend’s are the opportune time to experiment with basics such as shirting and jersey. Marques’ Almeida’s T-shirt has a cool asymmetrical hem and knotted sash belt – wear it with everything from cashmere joggers to pleated midi skirts.
OK so this technically isn’t a T-shirt, but its multitasking abilities make it a must-have (especially if you’re only taking hold luggage away on trips). It’s ideal for layering: over leggings, jeans or palazzo pants depending on the occasion.
The easiest way to elevate a basic white T-shirt is to involve luxe fabrics; Frances de Lourdes’ slim-fit version is knitted from cashmere and silk to create an incredibly soft handle. The fine gage means it’s lightweight and cool to wear but also slightly sheer – underpin it with a discreet camisole to temper this.
Nothing says nonchalance quite like a boyfriend fit. Aptly named ‘The Perfect T-shirt’, Joseph’s has an oversized silhouette, dropped shoulders and longline hem that looks laid-back and feels super-comfortable to wear.
For those who prefer a more feminine look, the unstructured silhouette of a T-shirt just won’t cut it. Iris & Ink has solved this issue with the sash on this number: it crosses over to highlight the smallest part of your waist and ties at the side in a pretty bow.
Cropped T-shirts aren’t just for midriff-baring cool girls, they can be the perfect companion to high-waist trousers. (When pleats and ribcage waistbands are involved, a tucked-in top can add unnecessary bulk.) Wear a bodysuitunderneath if you need more coverage.
Why not swap your standard silky camisole for a white T-shirt on evenings out? Slashed at the shoulder to showcase just a sliver of skin, Dion Lee’s strikes the perfect balance between demure and alluring.
If your trusty boxy T-shirt loses its dramatic silhouette after a few washes, opt for a heavyweight jersey to create more structure. Not only does a dense knit look luxe, it will you keep warmer in the winter too.
Trust Christopher Kane to push the white T-shirt boundaries beyond basic. Subtle features – a boxy cut, cropped hemline and mockneck – make this piece stand out, but it’s the draped crystal trims that really steal the show. Let yours add a touch of glamour to everyday outfits or tuck it into the co-ordinating skirt on evenings out.
While it’s best to stick to mock and crewnecks for smarter scenarios, if you’re channelling casual looks a deep V is the way to go. James Perse’s T-shirt is made from a semi-sheer linen knit and has dropped shoulders to enhance the relaxed feel.
This item is actually a mini dress but, since there’s nothing nicer than slipping into a fresh white T-shirt before bed, we suggest saving it for night-time. Make use of the cooling, oversized fit in the summer or layer over leggings when you’re lounging around on colder days.
Skin-tight silhouettes more your thing? Look no further than Marks & Spencer’s fitted T-shirt. It’s knitted with a hint of stretch to sit seamlessly against your figure and layers effortlessly.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.