Think buying a plain white cotton T-shirt is easy? The wardrobe basic has moved beyond the Gap, and local boutiques offer lots of high-end versions. Which are worth the money?
Keeping in mind fit, fabric, and durability (we washed each shirt ten times according to each tag’s instructions), we set out to find the perfect tee for those $300 jeans.
Splendid ($42 at Nordstrom). A classic but sexy shape and buttery cotton made this crewneck a winner. It neither shrank nor stretched in the wash.
Michael Stars ($40 at Nordstrom). Stars’s soft, stretchy T is a comfy second. But the “one size fits most” tag is a misnomer—the shirts are small.
All ($45 at Intermix, Georgetown). These super-stretchy shirts run tiny (a small at Banana Republic translates to large here), but they’re well cut, our favorite for layering, and thin without being transparent. One problem: It’s hand-wash only.
James Perse ($38 at All About Jane, Arlington). Perse’s stiff, boy-cut top shrank the most and ended up feeling restrictive.
Generra ($58 at Blush, Potomac). An odd fit—tight in the bodice, loose in the arms—and too much transparency makes this Italian shirt fit for one use: wearing under a sweater.