Thursday, May 13, 2010

The simplicity of a tee

Everyone has a definition of “comfortable” wear. For some it is a breezy cotton dress that moves with them and another a fitted velour tracksuit. We’ll withhold judgment on the latter, but consensus says there is nothing better than the feel and simplicity of a basic tee.

Unlike other garments, the tee translates across socio-economic boundaries; therefore making it a wardrobe essential. There is a price point for everyone, a shade complementary to any skin tone, and necklines fitting for long and short necks. And in the spirit of entrepreneurship, the tee has ventured into the realm of dresses (i.e., Alexander Wang’s slim halter tank dress) and promotion of social issues (i.e., The Gap’s RED Campaign or celebrity designed graphics to support a cause).

But there are a few rules to get the most for your buck.

o Invest in quality fabrics – think about it, spending $80 on a high-quality tee is cheaper in the long run: last longer than the $10 tees you end up replacing bi-monthly (high quality doesn’t necessarily mean thick fabric)
o Choose tees that are tailored, rather than boxy
o Shoulder seam should sit right at the widest part of your natural shoulder
o No extra fabric under your arm
o Cap sleeves flatter most figures (broadens shoulders)
o Long sleeves should hit at the heel of your hand
o Ribbing is a big no-no – it loses shape after a few washes (again, always think in terms of clothes as an investment) and adds bulk
o A lightweight, fitted cotton tank worn as an undergarment will save you from soiling your top and additional trips to the dry cleaners!

Ladies, when aiming for a “comfortable” outfit, consider a well-cut tee with jeans, a pencil skirt, or shorts and add interest with jewelry and appropriate bag depending on the occasion. For guys, there is nothing wrong with jeans and a tee but opt for vintage tees to enhance that cool factor.

Tees making the cut

The Atlanta-based Alternative Apparel has dominated the tee market since 1995 with their über-soft fabrics and bright colors. The Alternative Earth eco line includes tees and pants made from organic cotton, recycled polyesther and man-made fibers derived from sustainable raw materials. Sold at Rue14, 1803A 14th Street NW, Washington DC.

Guys, stock up on tees by Comune, sold at South Moon Under (2700 Clarendon Ave., Arlington, VA), and Worn Free vintage tees and Nudie Jeans “Miles the Night Before” tee at the Denim Bar (Pentagon Row and 4939 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, MD). While there, surprise her with a Worn Free tee as well or the “Kathi Wrap top” by Velvet.
Worn Free

Nudie Jeans


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