Where in the UK can I buy good quality, plain women's T-shirts?
July 6, 2014 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I want something that won't stretch out of shape within half a dozen washes, that isn't floral, pastel, see-through or low-cut. Surely this must be possible?

Once upon a time you could at least rely on Gap to make T-shirts in a material and finish substantial enough that they wouldn't lose their shape or stretch at the neck within a few washes.
But alas, they seem to have joined the "T-shirts are disposable garments that we must spend as little as possible on" gang now.

I'm looking for T-shirts I can wear to work in a smart casual office, preferably:
* Plain colours - black, white, navy etc rather than pastels
* Crew neck rather that V or low cut.
* Properly opaque, not so thin I have to wear a vest top underneath
* Slightly fitted rather than the straight/square BHS look.

FWIW, I'm a fairly curvy 12-14 with a long torso, and have access to most high street stores. Thanks in advance, hive shoppers!
posted by penguin pie to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a little fuzzy on UK sizes, but could you wear a large at Petit Bateau? Their stuff runs small (even the women's line), but their crew neck shirts last forever and sound like what you're looking for. I have one from 2000(!) that is still going strong, if a tiny bit faded. I have a long torso and the length works well for me.
posted by chocotaco at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2014

Best answer: A UK 12-14 is a US 8-10, so a US small-medium is going to fit the bill if you buy from the States. US sizes are usually more generous than UK fittings, in my experience.

I've had good results from M&S t-shirts in the last couple of years. They're slightly fitted, and there's a range of colours in the crew-neck option.
posted by essexjan at 1:20 PM on July 6, 2014

Tesco and Next should do T-shirts that fit the bill. At least they always used to. Not tried to buy any from Tesco for a while though.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:30 PM on July 6, 2014

John Lewis. A plain white tee will probably cost you around £15, but it is good quality (if maybe not the cutting edge of fashion).
posted by kariebookish at 1:50 PM on July 6, 2014

H&M always have some plain color or striped t-shirts around.
posted by sukeban at 2:18 PM on July 6, 2014

I agree with essexjan that M&S is a good source. East is also very good, although its range of T-shirts is not as wide.

It's not on the UK high street (and indeed the website is not in English although UK shipping is available), but I get a lot of my T-shirts from the German chain zero. I wear and wash my zero T-shirts a lot; they are very resilient and they fit really well.
posted by sueinnyc at 6:17 PM on July 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a lot of merino tshirts from Icebreaker - they are expensive but I find they last extremely well if looked after, and they hang a bit better than cotton too, good for work as they look a bit smarter. Some of mine are 5 or 6 years old and still look like new. Look out for sales - Snow and Rock are particularly good for this, I've bought most of mine for half price or less. There are other companies making merino now too, but so far, I've found icebreaker to have the best fit.
posted by tardigrade at 6:32 PM on July 6, 2014

The last time I was in Matalan I bought four of their Perfect Plain T-Shirt. The neck might be a little lower than you want, but they are comfy, wash well and come in a bunch of colours (though for some reason they only have black and white on the website). They're perfect for my rather casual office.
posted by daisyk at 10:29 PM on July 6, 2014

Uniqlo are great if you have a long body. I'm a 5ft 10 curvy person and they fit me perfectly.
posted by mippy at 5:58 AM on July 7, 2014

Cos do excellent basics on top of more high-fashion things. Their tshirts are fabulous.
posted by mymbleth at 7:19 AM on July 7, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. M&S have done me right - I had looked in there before but only seen the scoop-neck ones hanging up. On further investigation, inspired by essexjan, I discovered that there were also crew-neck T-shirts tucked away on a table display.

Next and H&M had already been tried and rejected - they do indeed always have T-shirts but are prime offenders of going down the the 'flimsy, low-necked' route, at least right now.

I might try and work my way around some of the other suggestions in due course, so thanks very much for all your input. Yay, stress-free dressing for work!
posted by penguin pie at 5:22 AM on July 9, 2014

I know you mentioned that you had already rejected H&M, but they also have a line of higher quality cotton tops (I have one in long and 3/4 sleeved) that are fantastic. They are made with Pima cotton, which has longer fibers (supposedly making it last longer). I think they cost about 2-3x as much as their regular tops. I have crew neck one in blue and one with a v neck in grey, which I bought at the H&M in Knightsbridge. Have lasted 50+ washes, and still look good.

White tops might be the most difficult. I have yet to find good ones that aren't see through!

(With washing it, I find all tops need to be washed cold these days. It used to be that warm, or even hot, was ok)
posted by troytroy at 9:22 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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