Why This Is The Perfect White T-shirt For Fall

9 months ago 45
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Photographed by Jackie Nickerson, Vogue, March 2020

There is no closet staple as quintessential as a white T-shirt. It has the power to clean up any outfit thanks to its perfect plainness. As Vogue’s Archive Editor, Laird Borrelli-Persson writes on the history of the white T-shirt, “The basic tee, after all, is the simplest, easiest piece of clothing imaginable—its blank-page quality functions like a screen on which we project our current cultural preoccupations.” Whether a white tee denotes minimalism, sexiness, or casual cool, it remains exempt from the trend cycle. 

But because it’s so simple, shape and fit are paramount. With no slogans or patterns to distract from flaws, procuring the perfect white tee means paying attention to detail. To me, the ideal white T-shirt has historically been a bit boxy. I’ve liked a structured, oversized fit made from heavyweight fabric. It makes the silhouette not too sweet. While this has been my go-to, in fall and winter, shoving thick, oversized white tees under open button downs, cardigans, and sweaters doesn’t quite work unless the goal is to look and feel like a rumpled mess. Allie Michler, Vogue’s director of Fashion Initiatives directed me to her favorite white tee, Petit Bateau’s “Iconic” tee. It’s a more fitted option which, judging by the photo online, looks like it would be just as versatile on it’s own in summer as it would be underneath knits in fall and winter. Michler shared that, “the Petit Bateau Iconic T-shirt is just that. It is simple, elegant, and looks just as good with a long evening skirt as it does a loose pair of worn-in denim.” 

With a banded neckline, fitted but not too fitted silhouette, and short, but not too short sleeves I quickly scooped one up. When it arrived it was easy to see this was the wear-anywhere white tee I had been looking for. It’s comfortable, elegant, cool, and layerable. As I am not one for a bodycon T-shirt, I was pleased to find that it’s fitted, but not skin tight. The “iconic” descriptor is indeed quite apt. So, whether you’re one for boxy tees, or more fitted iterations, this tee is a must-have for any closet. 

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