Finding and Loving That Perfect White Tee

Posted by Sally McLaren on

Without doubt, a white tee is in the top 5 essentials for a fashion-savvy woman's wardrobe. It is a clothing item that has graced iconic stars for decades. Brigitte Bardot wore one in A Very Private Affair in 1962, Marlon Brando famously wore one in A Streetcar Named Desire and Angelina Jolie channelled James Dean's rebellious side by mimicking his white tee style from Rebel Without a Cause when she played Lisa in Girl, Interrupted. More recently, Kendall Jenner had fans racing out to copy her style when she wore one with straight leg jeans and hightops as she ran errands in LA.

There are so many women's white t-shirts out there, but it is one of those key garments that it is easy to get wrong. Get one that's too clingy, too see-through, too thick, too thin, too uncomfortable, too short or too long and you'll find that, far from becoming everyday wardrobe hero item you had hoped, you will rarely reach for it when putting together an outfit. 

How many times have you thought you'd found a passable white tee, only to realise that it suited the model but doesn't suit you, or it looked great the first time you wore it, but didn't wash well, so got consigned to the pile of boyfriend t-shirts that you only wear in bed? 

We know from our own experiences, and those we have heard about from of Ivy customers, that finding your perfect crisp, classic white t-shirt can be tricky. With this in mind, we've compiled this useful guide to searching out that oh-so-wearable t-shirt, styling it countless times and caring for it just right, so that it can be a capsule wardrobe staple for years to come. 

Finding Your Perfect White T-shirt

Ignore Fashion 

Your perfect choice of white t-shirt is just that, YOURS. Your body shape, lifestyle and personal preferences are far more important that what is plastered on billboards or being paraded down the catwalks of the world right now.

Feel Happy in Your White Tee

We are repeatedly told by the media that we should love our bodies, but there are always going to bits we like and other bits that we feel a bit self-conscious about, and there is nothing wrong with feeling that way. Better to accept how we feel and work with what we've got, than to suffer being uncomfortable all day in clothes that expose bits we aren’t happy flaunting. 

Dressing for Your Comfort Zone 

If you're a bit self-conscious about your upper arms, choose a tee with elbow-length or 3/4 length sleeves. If you go for one that is also fairly lightweight (but not see-through) and loose-fitting (like our Erin 3/4 sleeve white tee) it will be as comfortable on a warm summer's day as a short-sleeve white tee would be. 

If you feel a bit self-conscious about your tummy, a boxy t-shirt over a pair of high-waist jeans could become a wardrobe staple you return to again and again. 


Search Out Great Quality Fabrics 

If you've repeatedly been disappointed in your quest for the perfect white women's t-shirt, it can be so tempting to just buy cheap white tees and view them as a throw-away commodity, to be replaced as soon as they discolour or get misshapen in the wash. However, cheap white tees aren't a sustainable fashion choice. Buying them perpetuates a system of clothing production that doesn't respect workers or the natural environment.

Spending a bit more on good quality, organic 100% cotton t-shirts that are produced sustainably is an investment, not only for your wardrobe, but also for a more sustainable future. You'll also find that they wash better and last longer than their fast fashion alternatives, so you actually get more for your money in the long run. 

The only way to end environmentally damaging clothing production is to stop buying the items it creates and the best way to start the sustainable clothing revolution is with your own wardrobe. It may feel like a tiny gesture that won't solve the bigger problem, but if we all do it, the impact will be enormous. 

Ivy was established on the premiss that a woman's wardrobe can and should be full of durable, hard-working, trans-seasonal essentials that aren't dated by fussy style features or unnecessary motifs. We feel that this is one of the most effective ways to make fashion more sustainable. The future of the clothing industry is in beautifully made basics that can be worn in every season and will last for years. That’s why we’re so proud of our white tees, because what is more foundational than a classic white t-shirt?

By finding the right white t-shirt, you make your everyday outfits feel a bit more fabulous. By finding that white tee with Ivy, it makes your everyday more sustainable too. 

Ivy White Tees 

Anyone looking at our range online can see that we have two major obsessions: the Breton and the white tee. We believe in basics that you want to wear every day and these two are the foundation of most of our outfit decisions. Our white tees come in a range of different styles, so all you need to do is find those that suit your look and your lifestyle and start discovering just how versatile they all are. 

The Long Sleeve White Tees 

Audrey - One of our best-selling tees, this long-sleeve cotton crewneck t-shirt has a semi-fitted shape and signature rib cuff - perfect for year-round layering. 

Maya - A more relaxed fit than Audrey, this comfortable t-shirt can be dressed up for an easy-to-wear smart/casual look or dressed down for relaxing in style. 

The 3/4 Sleeve White Tee

Erin - This boxy white t-shirt is one of our spring favourites. We love wearing her simply with jeans on those warmer spring days or layering her up with winter knits on days when cooler temperatures persist. 

The Short Sleeve White Tees 

Dotty - Some women just feel happier in V-necks than in crew-neck tees and that is why we introduced Dotty to the range. Her flattering longline style and deep V-neckline make her a firm favourite with Ivy customers. 

Mable - Featuring a low crew neck, semi-fitted shape and a classic straight hem, Mabel is a timeless wardrobe staple that will never go out of fashion. 

Maggie - An essential classic crew neck t-shirt style for any woman's wardrobe, Maggie is simple, stylish and infinitely versatile. 

Styling Your White T-shirt

Once you have that perfect tee that is comfortable, breathable, washes well and suits your body shape, it's almost as good as those first few months after you met the love of your life. You want to be together all the time, you can't stop talking about them and you can't wait to introduce them to your friends. You'll probably want to wear that tee with everything, from your favourite pair of jeans to floaty, feminine summer skirts. The perfect ladies' white t-shirt is so versatile that it is entirely possible for it to be the foundation of every outfit you wear this spring.

Here are a few style tips to help you get the most of your new favourite wardrobe staple. 

Underwear is Key!

If you usually wear a white bra under your white tee, make the switch to a nude-coloured t-shirt bra with seam-free moulded cups this season. Choosing a nude bra that fits well, in a shade that is close to your own skin tone, creates the best silhouette and looks much classier. 

Take a look at this reel demonstrating the importance of the right bra!

We Like the Way You Work it 

A white tee is a well-known staple of many a casual look, but it can also make great starting point for work outfits too. Wear one under a suit, with a pair of tailored trousers and a blazer or with a smart skirt for professional work looks that give the right impression but are also super comfortable and easy-to-wear. 

Your White Tee 🫶's Denim 

Whether you wear an oversized t-shirt with loose fitting jeans for a casual weekend look, or a more fitted style with a denim maxi skirt for brunch with the girls, whites tee love denim of all shades and styles. The only thing that may sour the relationship is if your denim isn't colourfast and the dye rubs off on your new tee. To test the colourfastness of your denim rub it gently with a damp white cloth. If any colour comes off on the cloth, avoid wearing that garment with your white tee, at least until it has been through the wash a few more times. 

Washing Your White T-shirt

We know from our own experience and from the feedback of our customers that all Ivy tees wash well, holding their colour and shape for multiple seasons, but we always need to be a bit careful with washing our white tees so that they don't become grey cotton t-shirts or, worse still, become permanently decorated with an unwanted stubborn stain. 

We recommend washing all your whites together on a 30-degree cycle and drying them naturally rather than in the tumble dryer.

Eco-Friendly Ways to Get Stains Out of Your Perfect White T-Shirt

If you splash tomato sauce on your tee, line dry it in the garden and marvel at the power of the sun to completely remove what looked like a permanent stain when your top came out of the washing machine (it really is amazing). 

For fatty stains, such as gravy, butter or cooking oil, make a thick paste of bicarbonate of soda and water and apply it to the stain for 30 minutes prior to washing, then wash as normal. 

To refresh a load of slightly tired looking whites, add half a cup of white vinegar to the laundry liquid in the washing machine drawer. The acetic acid in the vinegar has brightening and deodorising properties and the vinegar smell will be gone by the time the laundry is dry. Another way to brighten the white of your favourite cotton jersey t-shirt is to add half a cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle of your wash and then line dry the load outside. 

Wear it Your Way for the (chance to) Win

Whether your favourite white tee is a classic crew t-shirt, a full-length sleeve design or an over-sized boyfriend t-shirt, we'd love to see you wearing your Ivy white tees your way. Take a bit of time to share your pics on Instagram, tag @Ivy_thebrand and be in with a chance of winning an £80 Ivy voucher in our monthly prize draw. 


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