Our Favorite Basic Tees - Does Quality Count?

Photo: Sarah Dorweiler

Photo: Sarah Dorweiler

The key to a great flexible wardrobe is having a mix of well fitting basics and fashion pieces. The basics category should act like the back bone connecting seasonal and wow pieces. Basics help gel everything together in a cohesive way and save wear on key pieces when layering.  

Because they are such important pieces in your outfitting equation, we encourage clients to buy the best quality they can afford. Obviously if you have toddlers or are accident prone you may not need to invest in an expensive tee right now.

For California men and women, this means selecting a few t-shirts to keep looks cool and fresh. You can dress up a tee with a blazer, keep it casual with denim or layer with a sweater. They match pretty much anything and let's be honest, nothing looks better than a crisp white tee.

Here are some pointers on selecting the best quality and our favorites tees by price point.

Stay Stylish,


How To Pick Out A Quality Tee

While we don't think you need to spend $150 on a tee, we do believe you should invest in quality. Quality expands past just the name on the label. Here are 5 top things to review when picking out a tee.


1. Hand-feel - A good tee will never feel stiff or sticky. If the fabric feels soft but firm at the same time, then chances are that it is a good quality material. Prima cotton means the best and longest fibers were used so the tee won't loose its luster as quickly.

2. Weave - Always look at the weave. The tighter it is, the longer the garment will last. Also review how the tee hangs on a hanger. Does it pull to the right or left? Some tees are cut on the bias which can mean there is good drape but be wary of something that will eventually sag.

3. Transparency - Hold the shirt up to the light and see how transparent it becomes. The more transparency, then the less density. While "tissue" weight tees were in vogue (thanks J.Crew) several years ago they are less so now. Be very careful with see-through white tees. Having to layer can make the tee high maintenance and can ruin the crisp look.

4. Fabric - The fabric content is key. Many tees are a cotton blend, which means that they are a mix of materials that will wear/age differently. This is often done to improve fit, color fastness, and reduce cost (cotton can be expensive). Depending on the blend, your shirt may lose it's shape faster or pill quickly. We prefer tees that are as close to 100% cotton as possible.

5. Wrinkle test - Crumple a part of the tee in your hand and release it. If there are a lot of wrinkles remaining, then it is probably poor quality or a linen base. If there aren't any wrinkles at all then it is probably a synthetic material. Ideally, you want something between the two that can hold its shape and breathe.

Our Favorite Tees By Price Point

Under $20:
Maison Jules for Macy's ($19.50) - I always recommend these to clients. They are super soft, the perfect shaped v-neck and come in tons of seasonal colors. 

Whisper Cotton V-neck Tee ($19.50) - A great overall basic v-neck with a little pocket detail. We love that these are offered in seasonal colors.

Under $50:
Jigsaw London Pima Cotton T-Shirt ($43) - this T-shirt is made from the softest pima cotton. It has an elegant scoop neck, good weight and will last many washes.

Three Dots 3/4 Scoop Neck T-Shirt ($46)- this T-shirt is 100% combed cotton and is enzyme-washed for longevity and to prevent pilling. This brand can run a little small or true to actual sizes so consider ordering up.

Mod-o-doc Short Sleeve T-Shirt ($34)- this T-shirt is a bias cut slub (think texture) and 100% cotton. We like this brand for new mom or ladies who want a loose fit at the hips.

Luxe (over $100):
Majestic Paris ($150) - If we could only wear one shirt for the rest of our lifes, it would be Majestic Paris (sold at Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales). Yes, they have a higher price point, but it is worth it! The fabric layers beautifully and feels amazing on the skin.

Posted on February 7, 2018 and filed under Stylish Living, Women.