I tend to structure my outfits the same way everyday, come rain or shine.
I’ll wear a vest or t-shirt, with a cashmere or merino wool jumper over it and then throw on some jeans, leggings or a skirt accordingly.
This makes dressing very easy indeed as long as you have good comfortable basics – good vests, t-shirts, jumpers, leggings etc. It also means you’re ready for anything because you can shed and add layers very easily.
After messing around with women’s ‘tops’ (the kind that have three-quarter length sleeves, are completely skin tight, reveal every possible sweat patch and are unwearable if you’ve had a big lunch) I decided I would stick to the classics – t-shirts and shirts. If it’s good enough for all the men out there, it’s good enough for me.
I went in search of the best ones I could find, so I would have a foundation for every outfit without having to look too far in the mornings.
American Apparel had the answer. At first I balked at the prospect of paying £16 for a t-shirt. But a simple t-shirt that came in a variety of colours, wasn’t too feminine or clingy, nor was it too loose, wasn’t that straightforward to find.
So I bit the bullet and bought one American Apparel poly-cotton short sleeve crew neck t-shirt in a beige colour (they call it creme), and black and white fine jersey t-shirts in 100% cotton.
I’m a bit of a purist about fabric and always go for 100% cotton. But I have to admit that the poly-cotton blend is deliciously soft and washes beautifully. It also stretches out just enough to be flattering, but doesn’t lose its shape.
I soon found I was wearing them everyday, and would be lost when I went to my wardrobe to find that the colour I had wanted was indisposed.
So I took it upon myself to buy myself second black and beige ones along with a new grey one (they call it asphalt). The grey one came in a set of three with the other two from American Apparel’s website – it is definitely better value to buy them this way.
You can genuinely never go wrong with black or beige in anything. Anything at all. Not tan, which is an actual colour as opposed to a neutral base to which you can add colour. Beige is the one you want.
It’s very useful to have t-shirts like these that work for layering and that you can throw on underneath your cashmere. Even if it’s freezing cold outside, you may still overheat and if all you have on underneath is a vest top (or a random t-shirt that you would never want the world to see) it can be a little embarrassing when you shed your outer layer to reveal a Disneyland t-shirt, a skimpy vest and no doubt some pasty winter arms. Particularly as everyone else will be all covered up in their jumpers and scarves.
My vest tops of choice are Topshop, as are my leggings. They wash well and last forever, as well as being comfortable and cheap. I buy them in black and white. Calvin Klein also does very comfortable, slightly looser fitting vests which are cotton and modal and very soft indeed.
For luxury versions I go to All Saints for leggings, they do a huge range of styles and materials. My particular favourites are their Raffi leggings. The cotton, modal and elastane combination seems to make them incredibly soft and comfortable and they have a practical skirt attached! Making them the easiest item of clothing to throw on when you’re bloated or can’t be bothered to try very hard.
I also love All Saint’s Reeves boyfriend jeans which are 100% cotton and are also crazily soft and comfortable but cute at the same time (well I think so, I don’t think my boyfriend does). You can’t beat their denim shorts for summer either.
I get my luxury t-shirts from LA based brands LnA (often on sale at ASOS and sometimes Cocosa), and James Perse (who now have two stores in London and are also available on Net-a-Porter). LNA does a huge variety of colours and styles.
These t-shirts are more the main event, than the undergarments. The price bracket makes that clear. And you wouldn’t want to waste them underneath a jumper.
They’re very thin and fall well but are dry clean only, which is a bit irritating. I don’t actually abide by this rule and just hand wash them gently myself. How can you possibly have dry clean only t-shirts? You’d be going to the dry cleaners everyday and spending half your money on cleaning your t-shirts.
I’m also a big fan of wearing small men’s shirts in conservative colours like white, light blue and pale pink. I roll the sleeves up a little and tuck them into my jeans.They’re quite loose, fall nicely and give you a relaxed but chic look. A look that says I didn’t try too hard, I just threw on my boyfriend’s shirt, but doesn’t it look better on me?
Uniqlo does nice affordable ones that are 100% cotton, as does Zara Man.