Angela Mollard: My search for the ‘perfect white T-shirt’
The fashion industry fails to tackle the basics – the items most of us wear, like the simple white T-shirt. But Angela Mollard has a solution.
Sometimes I think “fashion” hates us.
He claims he loves us by dropping all kinds of yummy outfits in store windows and on Instagram feeds, but then becomes so prominent that he fails to read the play dramatically. That’s when he kicked off trends as ridiculous as stiletto heel socks, velor tracksuits, and Bermuda shorts (making a comeback, I’m sad to say).
Luckily, I’m an adult and can tolerate that kind of intransigence at the toddler level about what looks really good on real living humans. I don’t buy velor or Bermuda shorts and I take great pleasure in seeing them on the discount rails at the end of the season.
“Ha, ha, fashion,” I said to myself. “You are wrong.”
On the contrary, what really annoys me about fashion is its inability to tackle the basics. It’s great to come up with rhinestone jumpsuits and unnecessary mini handbags, but if you can’t handle the essentials – i.e. the items most of us actually wear – then you have to get off the ferris wheel and go back to the drawing board.
Unfortunately, nowhere is this oversight more apparent than in the elusive quest for a simple white T-shirt.
Yes, everyone wears them, they’re trend-proof, and there are thousands of iterations thrown at us by Big Fashion.
But most of them are horrible, which is shameful for an industry that clearly forgets that its success hinges less on what IT wants and more on what WE need. Seriously, it would be easier to get my own pet koala or convince India to ditch the smut than finding the Perfect White T-shirt (PWTS).
Not to be confused with the Ugly White T-shirt or the Transparent White T-shirt or the It’s Beneath Us To Design A Good T-shirt But here’s one Either way, the PWTS is exactly that. It’s cut well, holds its shape, is thick enough not to reveal your bra, and is generally flattering. It’s not really a tough question for an industry that, you know, sews things up.
Anyway, having just come out of a month-long wander through stores and websites, it is a measure of my civic duty to have my tired body transported and tested on a t- shirt to a keyboard to share my discoveries.
But let’s go back first. Until 18 months ago, I used to buy t-shirts from Cotton On. They came in V-necks and crew necks, washed well and, most importantly, the neck seams weren’t too thick nor the sleeves too long. They were two for a purse for $ 30.
But like so many retailers, they’ve changed the design. Now that’s no problem when it comes to pants or skirts because we all accept that fashion is an evolving industry.
But who gave the T-shirt boss permission to go thug? Gone are the dependable white T and in its place is a horrible thing made of oversized cotton, a curved hem (ugh) and the biggest parody of all – a seam in the back. No one needs a back seam.
It’s change for the sake of change – as boring as MAC Cosmetics deciding to discontinue its All That Glitters eyeshadow even though it was a bestseller and suitable for everyone.
And so began my arduous expedition to find a new PWTS. My friend Nicola wore a pretty navy blue which she said was vintage and from Bassike. Likewise, my friend Lana wore a white Jac + Jack.
An online search found that both options were over $ 100, placing them in the “high base” category. Although I would love to support Australian Made, my budget does not go that far.
That’s when I came across an article titled “32 Vogue Editors Share Best White T-Shirts”. After briefly considering that 32 was a lot of editors to come to a consensus, I kept reading and realized they were all naming different ones.
Cos and Everlane were popular, but one editor mischievously pointed out that a white T-shirt should have a touch of humor. Her choice was a Vaquera Teddy “t-shirt” costing $ 378, which certainly made me laugh.
I needed more down-to-earth advice, so I asked Brisbane stylist Brooke Falvey, who is good at making fashion friendly. She came back to me in 0.3 seconds, pointing out that when you find a white t-shirt you like, you have to buy multiples and a jar of Napisan.
Then she got down to talking about the ‘pieces’ and ‘anchor’ fashions, which I frantically browsed until I came to her recommendation – the straight fit t-shirt in pure cotton from Marks & Spencer, great value at $ 16.50 because, as she pointed out, “I goup on anything white!”
I ordered one immediately and she is right, it’s great, especially if you like long sleeves.
Of course, that’s when I got new information. The aforementioned Lana, struck by my fate, sent me an article in which the author claimed to have solved the riddle of the White T-shirt.
Coincidentally, the same morning, Kylie Gillies, the wonderful host of The Morning Show, corroborated this new information. Uniqlo, she insisted, made the best white t-shirts and her secret tip: buy men’s versions in XS.
I opted for the Supima Cotton Crew for women at $ 14.90 and it’s flawless. You’re welcome.
ANGELA LOVES …
Brene Brown’s interview with Dr. Maya Shankar, a cognitive scientist who worked for the Obama administration, is a brilliant addition to her Dare To Lead podcast. Honestly, this will revolutionize your approach to change.
They’re cheap, seasonal, and plump like baby’s butt. Perfect fresh or in a peach compote.
Apparently this is linked to sharper memory in older people. I must be Einstein the amount I make!