For what feels like a long time now I have stopped wearing t-shirts except as workout gear and pyjamas. I blame this also on the weather. The UK hardly provides ideal t-shirt weather. But in my quest to renovate my basics they have suddenly become an obsession. Up until recently most of the t-shirts I did own that weren't workout gear or pyjamas were either embellished, printed or had some interesting design feature that called more attention to them as a standalone piece. What I lacked was something simple and obsequious that would allow a dressy jacket to be the focal point of the outfit.
It might have something to do with that laid back layered look that has taken over fashion of late - its hard not to notice how dressier items suddenly look much more wearable worn with a simple tee or vest. Net-a-porter has been combining everything with the Kain range of slouchy pocket tees or vests or with Alexander Wang's t-shirt range. These have just the right amount of slouch and draping to act as a casual counterfoil to dressy waistcoats or gilets, smart jackets and blazers and statement leggings. But at those prices I think I'll pass.
I did venture into the expensive tee territory last year with a purchase of a couple of items from American Vintage. A slate grey crew neck t-shirt dress and a fine knit short sleeve t-shirt with a draped neckline in a more silvery shade. Although they do look great and the fabric is supersoft, the stress of finding holes in them after little more than a few wears did make me reassess whether their quality was worth the money I paid for them.
For a while it seemed that such elegant simplicity in t-shirt design was only available at designer prices. Now though, I have noticed that the High Street has caught on to this and reacted with its typical lightning reflexes. I have been delighted with the choice of t-shirts that has been on offer recently. They can be found in classic shades of white, grey, navy, black and nude, in various necklines and fabric weights, and at prices that do actually allow you to stock up in different colours.
Cos has to be first on my list. They first enticed me back into t-shirt wearing last year with a dark charcoal cotton cap sleeve tee which has kept its shape and colour until today despite constant wear and washing. There I also found the perfect tran-seasonal pocket t-shirt dress with three quarter length sleeves and a gentle flare, as well as some very Kain-esque scoop neck pocket tees in an extremely fine viscose in off-white and navy.
Warehouse offered good standard oversize pocket t-shirts in white, grey and black and I've been tempted by Oasis' long jersey maxi dresses. I bought a couple of vests from Topshop Boutique's range of cashmere mix basics and they too are offering a classic white tee and t-shirt and singlet dresses in every length. Their colour pallete also extends to a pretty nude blush, olive and coral.
From top to bottom:
Jewel embellished tee by Christopher Kane for Topshop
Off white scoop neck pocket tee by Cos
Cream lace t-shirt by Sportsgirl
Grey bird skull print t-shirt by Topshop Boutique
Customised grey Che Guevera print t-shirt from Cuba
Silver grey short sleeved draped tee by American Vintage
Grey oversize pocket t-shirt by Warehouse
Grey ribknit crewneck tee by Atmosphere
Grey t-shirt dress with ruched panelling by Cos
Slate Grey t-shirt dress by American Vintage
Charcoal grey cap sleeved t-shirt by Cos
Charcoal grey longline slashed t-shirt with angel wing sleeves by m)phosis
Maroon split back t-shirt by Diesel
Crocodile print t-shirt dress by Christopher Kane for Topshop
Dark navy scoop neck pocket tee by Cos
Black short sleeve v-neck with ribbon trim by Joseph
Black cap sleeve v-neck longline tee by Metallicus
Black short sleeved t-shirt with gathered yoke at neckline by Mango
Black oversize pocket t-shirt by Warehouse
Sleeveless cowl neck tee by Tokito
Black lace t-shirt with exposed shoulder pads and exposed zip by Mango