Summer Essentials: The Everyday Tee

Susan B. wears an Everlane box-cut tee, light wash jeans, Paul Green sneakers. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

An easy cotton tee is one of my summer essentials. But it isn’t always easy finding one that’s the right combination of color and fit, AND quality. (Specifically, one that doesn’t develop small holes in the front after a few wearings!)

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Tee | Necklace | Bracelet | Jeans | Sneakers

For years, I kept trying to find “my” Perfect White Tee, but they never looked quite right to me. After my color analysis, I realized that my best “white” tee would be cream or ivory, and I’m still on the hunt for one.

Tee Perfection remains elusive, but I have been pretty happy with the Everlane organic cotton “box-cut” tees (both with and without pocket). Most regular tees are much too long for me. These are a petite-friendly style with a long-enough sleeve. They hold up well, are budget-friendly, and are offered in several colors.

I’m wearing size Small in the Tulip color. These tees layer nicely too…

Susan B. wears a casual outfit with jeans, red tee shirt and jacket. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Jacket | Tee | Necklace | Bracelet | Bracelet |
Ring | Jeans | Shoes

Lands' End supima cotton women's tee. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

For those of you who are taller or long-waisted, you might want to check out the Lands’ End cotton tees. They’ve been well-reviewed, and are offered in Regular, Petite, Tall and Plus sizes.

And if you prefer a v-neck, here’s one in Regular, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes. Lots of colors offered in both styles!

Here are a few more tee styles that are both affordable and well reviewed by shoppers:

Do you have a favorite style or brand of everyday tee shirts?

Stay in touch.

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66 Comments

  1. Robyn
    July 8, 2020 / 2:53 am

    How is the sizing of the Everlane tee?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 8, 2020 / 6:01 am

      I find this particular style is pretty true-to-size. I’m wearing a Small.

  2. Carol
    July 8, 2020 / 4:13 am

    Hi Susan , really cute look for you! I never wear pure white, i just dye my whites a soft ivory for years now. Works for me. Love your transformation.

    • Cindy
      July 8, 2020 / 4:51 pm

      What a great idea!

    • Kate
      July 14, 2020 / 9:15 am

      Carol and any other dyers, which brand of dyes have you found most success with for beautiful colors & dye fastness?
      Any thoughts on tea dyes?

  3. Kelly
    July 8, 2020 / 4:32 am

    Living in the southeast in the summer, I love a good tee. I wear everything from a heavier weight Lands End to very lightweight J Crew, Target and Old Navy. The super lightweight tees are actually the most comfortable in high heat and humidity but heavier weight tees do have a more refined look. Love stripes, small prints and white tees. They are great to dress up with a couple pieces of jewelry and a jacket layer or down when worn with jeans and sneakers. And you can pack a dozen of those lightweight tees in a carry on and they hardly take any space!

  4. Linda Howell
    July 8, 2020 / 4:58 am

    Ralph Lauren makes tees in lightweight cotton and a heavier weight as well. Both are nice. The Gap Essential tee has changed dramatically over the years, especially the white. Much thinner than it used to be but makes a good layering tee. They have a striped tee that is a good weight and wonderfully soft, I don’t understand why they can’t make a heavier white tee out of the same cotton fabric.

  5. July 8, 2020 / 4:58 am

    I’ve been converted to the Everlane tees as well, Sue. The website has good sizing info, especially because they give garment measurements which is helpful. I just compare the garment measurement against my other tees to get a good idea of the fit. I have both the regular box-cut tee and the pocket one and love them. I can’t stand a tee that is long through the body, because they don’t look good NOT tucked in. But these are loose through the waist without being baggy around the neck. Perfect for me.That coral looks great on you, btw. 🙂

  6. Debra
    July 8, 2020 / 5:17 am

    I love J. Crew Perfect Fit Slim tees – long and lean is the silhouette that works best on me. They are made of substantial fabric and have longer (almost elbow-length) sleeves that are nice on older arms, too. The Everlane tee looks wonderful on you, though – great color and cut.

  7. Lianne MacGregor
    July 8, 2020 / 5:46 am

    I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one with the small hole issue. What’s that about???

    • Lynne
      July 8, 2020 / 6:49 am

      Me too!!

      • Virginia Whelan
        July 8, 2020 / 7:08 am

        Me, too! I thought it was my dryer which I replaced recently

        • Leslie
          July 8, 2020 / 8:33 am

          I find they hit right where I rub against the kitchen counter – usually while washing dishes. Sometimes, when brushing my teeth. Try to remember to step back a inch or two.

          • Chris Reynaud
            July 8, 2020 / 8:45 am

            I have the same problem! I think it is where the fabric rubs against my belt buckles.

          • Kim
            July 8, 2020 / 3:34 pm

            Me too! I went through a dozen tops after I got my new granite counter tops. Learned not to lean against it and no more holes.

        • Lisa B
          July 11, 2020 / 1:37 pm

          Me too!!! So frustrating. Two years ago I kept all my receipts from J Crew tees and brought back a bagful.

    • Janice
      July 8, 2020 / 10:23 am

      I wear a slim smooth belt thru the belt loops of my jeans and put the buckle way over on my right side. That way the belt smooths over the spot in front where the button is. Only done if wearing the tee-shit loose – no tucks.

      • Janice
        July 8, 2020 / 10:26 am

        Tee-shirt!!! Tee-shirt!!!
        Stupid spellcheck!

        • Susan Blakey
          Author
          July 8, 2020 / 11:36 am

          LOL! 😀

          • Connie
            July 8, 2020 / 5:42 pm

            I thought it was the buttons as I live in jeans but my daughter says it’s the edge of the jeans on the buttonhole side in front…very stiff & hits at that very place. Either way I’ve started tucking a little just in front. Is that “tacky?”

  8. Barbara McFadden
    July 8, 2020 / 5:55 am

    I have loved following your fashion journey and you have helped me travel better, pack lighter and add joy and color to dressing. Thank you! On that home issue – I have deduced that mine occur at exactly the height where I rub against my stone kitchen counterrops. I think minute variances in the stone surface must snag the shirt material. I bought some beautiful, colorful aprons and try to pop those on when in kitchen…. seems to have helped!

    • Barbara McFadden
      July 8, 2020 / 5:56 am

      Shoot! Stupid spell check! I meant “hole issue.” Not “home issue.”

  9. Leoni
    July 8, 2020 / 5:56 am

    I developed small Unaccounted-for holes in some of my favorite tees and talked to Chico’s and JJill salespeople about this experience. I also read about the problem in a column in one of the newspapers. No solutions. I discovered that when I wear a crossbody purse positioned in front of my body, where the purse hangs naturally, the purse rubs the fabric of the T-shirt against the placard and buttons on jeans and creates small holes. Nothing else seems to account for those holes and their location. I stopped wearing jeans with buttons and plackets and have not had a hole since (I cannot give up crossbody purses).

    • Jane
      July 8, 2020 / 8:35 am

      I had the same problem but found some silicone button covers. These seem to work. Amazon was sold out so ordered from Hole` in the UK.

  10. Eliz
    July 8, 2020 / 5:59 am

    My daily work-from-home outfit is a pair of yoga pants and a tee, long sleeved or short. I was hooked on Lands End tees until my sensitive skin revolted at the neckline seams. Now, while home alone or in the evenings, I wear the tees inside out — this solves the issue. I wish necklines had a finer finisher — in fact, if you turn the shirt inside out and check the seams, it’s pretty eye-opening how poor quality everything is. The shirt fabric can be the finest Supima cotton, but the seams are sewn with your basic polyester thread and rough edges.

  11. Nancy H. Hall
    July 8, 2020 / 6:06 am

    Alas!!!!! Teashirts!!!! I have two very nice Eileen Fisher tees – but they aren’t for wearing around the house – last year I found Arizona Jean tee shirts in the boys department at J.C. Penney’s. They are great – wash well and the colors are great – are a bit longer than the usual tee shirt. Sadly, JC is going out of business!!!! I raced back to get some of the shirts and they were sold out – I took an extra large (I am 5/2 and short) and now the shirts I have are more valuable to me!!!!!

    • Maria
      July 8, 2020 / 9:24 am

      My understanding is that J. C. Penney’s is closing about 150 stores permanently, as part of their restructuring plan; but it has no plans to go out of business yet. Keep watching your local store or online for fall.merchandise. The tees may be available.

  12. Jaye
    July 8, 2020 / 6:07 am

    Land’s End tees have been a staple for me for years. I stock up on new colors when they go on sale. They wash well and the colors stay true. I prefer their Women’s All Cotton Short Sleeve Crewneck T-shirt. They have an ultra fine rib and a slimmer fit than the relaxed supima tee.

  13. Anne
    July 8, 2020 / 6:49 am

    Since I changed over to pull on, flat front jeans and crops, I’ve had no more holes. The metal button on jeans causes it.

  14. Rondi
    July 8, 2020 / 6:51 am

    I wear a lot of tees. My favorite are the Lands End relaxed supima cotton. They have lots of colors. I usually buy the v-neck. I’m 5’3″ and find the petite works. They carried an ivory a couple seasons ago but, unfortunately, discontinued it.

  15. Lagatta de Montréal
    July 8, 2020 / 6:57 am

    My favourites recently have been the Simon’s chains home brand; many in organic or pima cotton. They also have linen tees. Many are on sale now. Unfortunately some have a very boxy cut this year, which looks terrible on me. But not all.

    Susan, bummer that someone is stealing your work. Any way to complain?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 8, 2020 / 7:07 am

      Thanks, yes I’ve filed copyright infringement complaints with the thief’s blog platform, the hosting provider, and with g**gle.

      • Jacqueline
        July 8, 2020 / 9:46 am

        Please keep us informed, if you can, on this disturbing thievery. Hoping for a just outcome.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        July 9, 2020 / 6:00 pm

        Many of us “creatives” have been hit by the same thievery (so far, I don’t seem to have been) and it is especially galling when we have very little work. I worked on several summer fesivals here in Montréal, where we are sort of the northern New Orleans, and almost all of them are cancelled or the virtual versions very much reduced. At least I have my pension now, though it isn’t much.

        I do wish the authorities would take intellectual theft as seriously as the more “material” varieties. Brainwork also takes years of training and many hours of work, and there are some kinds of creative work (dancers, sculptors, craftspersons, etc) that are at least as physical as intellectual.

  16. patricia valentic
    July 8, 2020 / 6:57 am

    Old Navy has my favorite around the house tee. It has shirt tails which I find flattering for my shape. patval

  17. Susan
    July 8, 2020 / 7:39 am

    I recommend the tees from Jenny Kayne. They are perfectly cut from Pima cotton.

  18. txu
    July 8, 2020 / 7:42 am

    Most regular tees are much too long for me too.
    Fortunately I discovered Eddie Bauer’s petite “favorite” line. Two neckline styles (crew and v) and two sleeve lengths (short and long) are available. The tees come in a range of colors (some season’s choices are better than others…) They are slightly fitted, which I like, but I do need to order a size up. You might want to check them out. Oh, and they happen to be on sale now!

  19. Jan Whichard
    July 8, 2020 / 7:44 am

    Good morning! I just left a note on your post from the other day about the Chico’s jacket. I ordered it and it arrived but it is a dark brassy Gold….not like your soft creamy gold. I believe I used your link. It is dark. Did you order a color that no longer is a choice? I love the look! Thanks to you, I’m back shopping my colors…no longer hiding in black!

  20. Becky
    July 8, 2020 / 7:50 am

    I like Everlane tees but I LOVE Bombas t shirts. Most may think of them only for socks, but their t shirts are amazing. Very high quality fabric with almost a silky feel. They are offered in cotton or merino, both wash and wear beautifully.

    • Deborah
      July 12, 2020 / 3:36 pm

      Thanks for that suggestion – I’ve just ordered two to give them a try.

  21. Lynn in Va
    July 8, 2020 / 8:14 am

    Those tiny holes are caused by seatbelt abrasion. Throw a dishtowel across your lap before you buckle your seatbelt – you’ll be amazed. Of course there is a huge range of quality in tee shirt fabrics. I’ve had brand new tees get holes after one trip to the grocery store.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      July 8, 2020 / 3:58 pm

      I love black and always will, but I’m putting more effort into seeking out my favourite colours. And certain cool greys that make my salt-and-pepper hair glow. Susan, doubt you’ll be shopping at the Canadian chain Simons , but here is their website. https://www.simons.ca/fr I sent you the French version , but it is easy to switch to English. I think they might also have a US version (with respect to currency exchange). We don’t want TWIK, which is for teenagers and not very good quality.

      I’ve been a freelancer for many years, so I certainly understand how easy it is to get swindled, and conversely how difficult it is to get law enforcement and justice to take “virtual” thievery as seriously as the material type.

  22. Eva
    July 8, 2020 / 8:28 am

    I was going to get my colors ‘done’ when we went to London in October; of course, those plans have changed. I had been going on Color Me Beautiful but could not figure out my season (to many details such as the colors of the flecks in your eyes). They now have streamlined the process & find your season easily. I found that I am a winter & all of the colors in the Winter season I dearly love! I had cleaned out my closets not long ago & have found that what I kept, all the colors are in my season. I guess I knew instinctively what colors I should wear. All of the colors in this post are ‘my’ colors as well! I so love reading your blog, there is so much information on here, that I have learned a good deal; thank you!

  23. Anon
    July 8, 2020 / 8:32 am

    Isn’t that the truth! Finding a quality, simple T-shirt is not easy. The length is skimped on, the sleeves are unusual lengths with unusual features that don’t fit under jackets. The sewing lacks. Hemlines unravel or are twisted. Batch cutting sends side seams askew. Sleeveless options are cut ridiculously low. Whose armpits and VBL (visible bra line) are attractive features to show off in public? After the first washing, the shape becomes twisted. And my personal favorite, patterns are de rigeur because much of the fabric is so thin you can see through it, even on the models in online photos. I’ve given up the search for another year. Good luck!

  24. July 8, 2020 / 8:48 am

    T-shirts are a problem for me too. I want 3/4 sleeves to hide the wrinkled skin on my arms, a high enough neckline to do the same, but not too high. Not too loose, not too tight… It is a delicate thing.
    Greetje

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      July 8, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      They were a problem for me when in the Netherlands as they were as long as nightgowns on vertically-challenged me! Don’t get me wrong; I was very happy during my working stay there.

  25. Cathy
    July 8, 2020 / 9:32 am

    On a whim, I added a 2-pack of Amazon Essentials Tees into my last order, and have been very pleasantly surprised with the quality and heft of the fabric. These are not 100% cotton, but the spandex gives them some shape and they’re nice for layering. Also, the price is right. They are on the long side, so are better for the half-tucked look.

  26. Lyn
    July 8, 2020 / 10:17 am

    My hunt for the Perfect White Tee a few years ago ended up with the Lands End relaxed supima tee. It is comfortable, light weight but not see-through, and drapes well. (Because it is a relaxed fit, I go down one size.) It’s not my color pallet, but “everyone” said it is a must-have staple, and “they” might be right. It’s a classic with no true substitute. I have it in other colors and wear them a lot, but there is something iconic about a White Tee that brings out my inner James Dean or Audrey Hepburn. I feel younger, somewhat chic. It’s like the Little Black Dress — I feel different when I’m wearing one. (I use accessories in “my colors” to make my off-pallet clothes work. If I love it, I can find a way to wear it.)

  27. Karen
    July 8, 2020 / 11:35 am

    I have been very satisfied with basic tees from Uniqlo. The color selections are somewhat limited, but the 100% cotton fabric is soft and substantial.

  28. Cathy D.
    July 8, 2020 / 11:37 am

    I’ve been wearing LL Bean pima cotton tees for years. I love them and have never had any holes. They come in a huge range of colors, styles and sizes. I wear one nearly every day, and sometimes even sleep in one… they’re wonderfully soft and comfortable.
    Thanks for all the work you put into your terrific blog!

  29. Eve
    July 8, 2020 / 12:55 pm

    I love the yellow on the shoes and the red watch. You have acessiorizing down. I love your details.
    T shirts are hit and miss but I discovered the softest and best length for me are from a place I would never had thought about until I got a free shipping coupon. Blair is their name. Good price and they wash well. Not thin which I very much appreciate. A name brand isn’t always the best.

  30. Sharon Mulliken
    July 8, 2020 / 2:48 pm

    I like tees from a lot of the places mentioned already…..but no one mentioned Talbots. I love Talbot’s pima tees. I wear petite and they are proportioned perfectly for my build and I usually wear v-necks because of a short neck. LLBean and Lands End are also favs. I will have to look at Eddie Bauer since they have petites as well! I was unaware of that. Thanks, Susan for your practical fashion tips and outfit suggestions. I am fairly new to your blog and am loving it. Where do you live? So many bloggers live in the south and their seasons are so very different from midwest Nebraska, which definitely experiences all four seasons. Thanks again for your great tips!

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      July 8, 2020 / 4:20 pm

      Susan lives in L.A. I live in Montréal, but it is boiling hot here! Yes, places like Nebraska get extreme weather hot or cold,

  31. July 8, 2020 / 6:05 pm

    I have three favorite tee’s that I buy in bulk when in the US…Target | Merona, 3/4 sleeve, modified boat neck. Everlane | 100% cotton, I buy the longer sleeve, it sits just above my wrist. Zara | 100% cotton – there is always an assortment, most of the long sleeves are similar to Everlane and sit just above the wrist. I buy mostly black, navy, grey, and white. Actually, Merona white is a perfect weight not too thin, not too thick. I love the 3/4 sleeve, but it’s a little cooler here most of the time, so I’m leaning toward the longer sleeve.
    And, you look fabulous in your colors. Sign me up when you begin your consulting… xo

  32. Holly Beaver
    July 8, 2020 / 6:44 pm

    I love t-shirts, long sleeve or short sleeve so this post hit the mark for me. I have several pairs of Paul Green shoes and have been eyeing the pair you have modeled in a couple of your posts. However the reviews are a little discouraging; several people said this particular style kept slipping in the heel. Have you had this problem with this Paul Green style?

  33. July 8, 2020 / 7:00 pm

    I agree with Sharon, the Talbots pima t-shirts are perfect. Neither too tight or too loose and a bit heavier weight. Needless to say, in the several years I’ve worn them, they have not develop holes at the waist or anywhere else. They are available in a slew of colors.

  34. Lily
    July 9, 2020 / 7:58 am

    The manufacturers want us to blame ourselves for tee shirts developing holes. Think about it. I have tees from a decade ago that have worn beautifully. It’s the cutting corners with fabric, cutting and sewing on their end.

    My favorite tee is Eddie Bauer’s favorite Tee. Comes in lots of colors, good price, cut straight to grain, 100% mid-weight cotton, not too short/long, sensible vee neck.

    • lagatta à montréal
      July 9, 2020 / 6:25 pm

      Absolutely. The charming but scarcely insulated places we lived in here in Montréal 40 years ago certainly didn’t have counters etc in good shape, but we never got those little holes. I just washed a violet camisole that I must have bought at least 30 years ago. Of course it is housework wear now, but there are no little holes and it is pure cotton of a decent weight, not even that bit of lycra that wouldn’t be necessary (except in sport garments) if things were sized properly.

    • lagatta à montréal
      July 9, 2020 / 6:45 pm

      Absolutely. The charming but scarcely insulated places we lived in here in Montréal 40 years ago certainly didn’t have counters etc in good shape, but we never got those little holes. I’ve just washed a violet camisole that I must have bought at least 30 years ago. Of course it is housework wear now, but there are no little holes and it is pure cotton of a decent weight, not even that bit of lycra that wouldn’t be necessary (except in sport garments) if things were sized properly.

  35. Book Goddess
    July 9, 2020 / 8:13 am

    The softest T-shirts I have found are from Universal Standard, (T Rex or V Rex) and they drape well, too. They do not have a lot of bright happy colors, mostly dark neutrals and a few very light pastels. I did get an Eileen Fisher organic cotton T-shirt in royal blue during a big sale, and it is lovely! Not sure I can bring myself to pay full price, though.

    For a slightly more dressed-up look – and a bit more coverage – the bateau-neck 3/4 sleeve from Talbot’s is a very good choice.

  36. Sf-dre
    July 9, 2020 / 9:01 pm

    LL Bean Pima cotton in the split neck tunic style, have a half dozen in different colors. Universal standard uses Pima cotton and modal in some of their tees and they’ve held up well, so far.

  37. Lisa B
    July 11, 2020 / 1:40 pm

    I’ve had excellent luck with Everlane tees and still have some in good shape from two years ago. They keep their shape too. I love their v neck tees but they sell out very quickly, especially the striped models.

  38. Lisa B
    July 11, 2020 / 1:44 pm

    Question: Susan, have you found any bracelet length, petite tees? I’d love to find one. And, if it had a boatneck it would be even better. Found one in Vince online but it’s offered in only two colors and I’ve sworn off black for a bit.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 11, 2020 / 1:45 pm

      No, not really. I have one on order from Talbots to try, will report back.

  39. Ann Marie
    July 12, 2020 / 4:18 am

    I bought the Lands End t-shirts and they are OK but not great. They material is not that soft, they wrinkle when you take them out of the washing machine, and they stretch out a bit. The J. Crew perfect slim fit t-shirt someone else mentioned is the best in my opinion. The J Crew linen roll-sleeve also is really good. The L.L. Bean pima cotton shirts are good too. The Lands End is simply not as good so I would choose J.Crew or L.L. Bean instead.

    As for colors, they can be hit or miss depending on the season but I find there are plenty to choose from and I can always find a couple in one of “my” colors.

  40. Deborah Bowers
    July 14, 2020 / 3:44 pm

    Uniqlo essential tee! It’s the best – nice tight neckline that doesn’t stretch out and fully opaque white cotton. And only 9 bucks! You can’t get anything better even at a higher price point.

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