Welcome to our new recurring feature, I Can’t Stop Buying, where we talk to people who can’t stop buying very particular things. Strategist associate editor Katy Schneider tells us about her favorite T-shirts.
There is generally not much intention behind a T-shirt collection — like snack and sock drawers, they tend to dwindle and build, dwindle and build, seemingly of their own accord. In mine: a Worcester Fire Department tee, a freebie from a New Haven–based production of Grease the Musical, and a threadbare beer shirt that reads, “The Best You Can Get If You Can Get It.”
But having an intentional, out-of-the-house T-shirt collection is an investment worth making — a nice, more-than-$15, didn’t-just-appear-in-your-drawer T-shirt has the ability to flatter your body without dragging attention away from the rest of your outfit. The T-shirts I like — and the ones I think generally do the best job of fulfilling the above — are a sort of baby tee/crop top/undershirt hybrid: small and boxy, crewnecked, lightly structured, and subtly cropped at the waist and the arms. A warning, before we delve into links: Some of these shirts may seem expensive. It’s absurd, you’ll probably say to yourself, to spend $80 on a simple tee. But hear me out: These T-shirts are the retail equivalent of no-makeup makeup. These are T-shirts that will pull together an entire outfit handily, no matter what you are wearing — they’ll elevate jeans, and even out skirts and fancy pants. And most importantly, these are T-shirts you can wear almost every day — for days in a row, without anyone so much as noticing.
Sidenote: If you are T-shirt or boxy-fit adverse, try a more fitted tee with a three-quarters-length sleeve. These are equally versatile, with the added benefit of being almost bafflingly flattering on the arm. And they’re really, really great tucked into a wide-legged pant — which might be why they’re a thing all of a sudden.
This is the tee you imagine you could find at a vintage store for $15 dollars, but will not. You’ll never regret owning this.
A perfect, subtle crop on the arm without being too Coachella at the waist. And available in several pretty pastels, too.
Or this version, also from Lacausa, whose waist, sleeves, and neckline have a feminine merrowing cut.
To be transparent: This shirt is made by my friend Lili, who started a clothing company based around her idea of the perfect tee — relaxed in the stomach, flattering on the arms. Also to be transparent: I wore this shirt for four days last week.
Not exactly a three-quarters shirt — the sleeve is above the elbow, after all — but still bound to be extremely flattering on the arm, especially in black.