T-shirts that don't feel like t-shirts
June 2, 2014 6:34 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for higher-end women's t-shirts that drape beautifully and fit great. Where do I find them? A surprising number of details and preferences and constraints inside!

My details: I'm a little overweight and rock 36dds. I like curvey, form fitting t-shirts that drape nicely and don't make me look like either a sausage or SpongeBob Squarepants. I want to look like neither of those.

-If they're too tight, I look grotesque. I keep thinking of 'mutton dressed as lamb'.
-If they're too loose and boxy, I look matronly.
-I like to show a little cleavage or skin- if they're too close to my neck I look like I have a meatloaf on my chest. V-necks are okay, wide low necks are very nice, I find boat necks weird.
-I like my curves and being female and am not trying to hide or disguise anything.
-I do not wear Spanx and like very much to be comfortable. I don't like stiff 100% cotton. I've found mixes of materials feel best.
-I want to look like a grown up, not a fourteen year old skater kid. Do they still have skater kids? I don't know. Because I am old.
-Because of the boobs, it's helpful if they're on the long side, otherwise they inconveniently ride up.
-Because of the boobs, I have to buy large. This makes the female-form fitting part particularly important, so I don't look like I'm wearing a man's t-shirt.

In the past, I've liked Land's End (they did form fitting t's for a while, I'm not sure if they still do) and Banana Republic. The Land's Ends are a little more casual/'day in the garden' than what I'm looking for. The material from Banana Republic feels nice but as far as I can tell is no better quality than t-shirts from Target.

There are a couple of examples here of what I'm looking for--however, $140 for a single t-shirt gives me the heebie jeebies. However, perhaps that's just what it takes.

Have you found any awesome t-shirts for grown ups that feel fantastic the outside and make you feel fantastic on the inside? Please share!
posted by A Terrible Llama to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
Some labels you might want to look at are Three Dots, Splendid and Graham & Spencer Velvet.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:41 AM on June 2, 2014

you might try everlane.

typically $15-$30/shirt and they run a bit large, particularly in the modal Ryan style (god, SO comfortable). you don't mention what size you are, but sizing only extends XS-L at the moment. they have a number of different cuts and necklines. I would stay away from the box tee, as it runs short, but the rest of them run very long (I am 5'2" and could almost use the Ryan tee as a dress.)
posted by dynamiiiite at 6:45 AM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've had good luck this year with the 'sunwashed t' at Loft-- as a bonus, the hem is cut a little bit curved so they look nice if you leave them untucked.
posted by travertina at 6:50 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

2nding the sunwashed tees at Loft. I just bought a few more. They're comfortable and hearty - I have a few from last year that are doing just fine.
posted by kat518 at 6:54 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Everlane was the first thing that came to my mind, too. Also J. Crew's Vintage Cotton tees (v-neck, scoopneck) are really soft and drapey without being at all clingy.
posted by payoto at 7:13 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try Vince, Splendid, or Everlane. Everlane's pretty cheap, the other two are pricey, but can be found easily on sale or at TJ Maxx. Ebay, too.
posted by sonmi at 7:13 AM on June 2, 2014

Weirdly enough, I found some really nice V-necks at Cato. The bonus is, if the L in the regular sizes doesn't work, you can go to the Plus Sizes and see if those too.

I too have a large bust, but I'm small in the ribs and waist. I want things that drape well, and look nice.

I will say that this is fast-fashion, but most of their stuff holds up really well, the denim especially.

I've never been unhappy with anything I've bought here, even though the prices are very cheap.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:18 AM on June 2, 2014

Everlane runs a little boxier than I prefer, but for $15, it's worth a try to see before you resort to more expensive options. Their shirts are nice and long, but read a little too much like a men's undershirt for my taste.

I like LA Made's v-necks, they're very long and pretty skimming, but they run quite small and are pretty low cut. If you normally take a large, I'd try an xl with them.

I've also had good luck at old navy - I'm wearing a scoopneck t that sounds like exactly what you're looking for and should still be in stores.

I agree that there are good options at Loft, but the necklines are often a little higher than I'd like (good for wearing under a blazer though).
posted by snaw at 7:28 AM on June 2, 2014

I've had dreadful luck with Vince, Splendid, and James Perse T-shirts. They fit and feel wonderful, but the tissue-weight fabric means I get tiny holes at waist level, sometimes within one or two wearings.

Banana Republic Pima cotton/spandex shirts (e.g., Timeless V-neck T, sorry, mobile link) feel good and look good. The non-Pima Ts are hilariously mixed quality.

I'm also really liking the J Crew linen Ts. They're somewhat fussy (hand-wash, seriously?) but hang great.

The T-shirts I've been happiest with lately are the Gap Favorite Ts (I wear the crew neck because I recently dieted away my boobs; they have V and scoop necks, though), and a Kirkland Pima cotton T that I picked up randomly because I am apparently now that lady who wears clothes from Costco.

tl;dr: Tissue-weight Ts will betray you; look for Pima cotton.
posted by purpleclover at 7:37 AM on June 2, 2014

Hello, we are shape twins except that I am very short on top of being moderately curvy and quite chesty. I was thinking yesterday that I should ask metafilter about what I should use to upgrade my wardrobe of Target and Old Navy v-neck tees to something a little more grown up and now I don't have to and this is the best. I would add that the Target tees have held up better than the Old Navy ones, for actual casual wear.
posted by SeedStitch at 7:41 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really like Uniqlo's supima t-shirts. They're fitted, but not overly so, and they're nice enough to wear to work: soft and lightweight but still substantial, durable, and totally opaque. They're not cleavagey but they won't give you that wall-o-chest look, either. And the price is really hard to beat for the quality.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:59 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

J. Jill has nice Pima t-shirts in a stirrup of necklines. I really, really like their linen/cotton knit t-shirts and tanks. That blend helps them look and feel very grown up and polished.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:26 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Clearly they don't have a stirrup of necklines.... But they DO have a variety of necklines. Thanks, Autocorrect!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:18 AM on June 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

and a Kirkland Pima cotton T that I picked up randomly because I am apparently now that lady who wears clothes from Costco.

Holy crap me too - I was skimming this thread and thinking "if that t-shirt I bought at Costco was a V- or scoop-neck instead of a crewneck, it would be freaking perfect" - worth a look if you want a nice tee to wear under a jacket this fall though.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:37 AM on June 2, 2014

I want to second purpleclover on the J Crew linen Ts, which I love and buy whenever there is a sale (all the darned time). I will further add that I wash them on hot and throw them in the dryer. They have totally shrunk a little bit, and would look better if I treated them better, but they're still totally wearable and my favorite t-shirts. I need to wear mine over a tank top though, since the necklines are loose and they're a bit see-through.
posted by chocotaco at 10:10 AM on June 2, 2014

I love my J Crew vintage cotton T's. which come in a variety of necklines. I'm not as busty as you but I am tall, and they're not too short on me. I wash them just like all my other laundry and nothing bad has happened yet, despite the dire warning on the product page.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2014

If you like Eileen Fisher, it's worth getting on their mailing list. They have pretty routine $25 off sales which you can combine with sale/clearance prices to make for more reasonable T-shirt prices. There are a bunch of Eileen Fisher T-shirts at Nordstrom, too.
posted by yarntheory at 8:16 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'll be looking forward to checking these out.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:24 AM on June 3, 2014

Oh, hey!!

I'm late to the party, but this just arrived on my doorstep today, from ASOS:


It's the ASOS 'Forever Tee', if the link doesn't work (link is to the Australian site). It's a wide-ish V-neck, beautifully drapey and soft, and I'm soooo impressed. And all for less than $25! I got it in grey, but am about to go and buy the black, plus they have nude and white!
posted by Salamander at 10:16 PM on June 4, 2014

I love the Bowery Supersoft line at the Gap. They fit me great when I was an XL and now that I am on the smaller side of Large they fit well too.
posted by getawaysticks at 1:54 PM on June 5, 2014

If you're still reading, or for others. Chico's.
They have several different cuts (and their sizes are just odd) but I love them for their girly t shirt look. The blend of materials also helps them keep their shape where fully cotton don't.
Sounds like the Tinley cut may be the neckline you're after. Stay away from Ninas. Definitely the meat loaf feel you don't lie.

While they're not cheap, they're almost always on sale.
posted by TravellingCari at 10:43 AM on June 29, 2014

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