I fear it's an age thing.

I'm talking tee shirts now.  Those tops that you buy in the Spring to wear every day.  Over jeans, shorts, loose drawstring trousers - easy, throw them on tops that are your wardrobe staple. 

Except they are ridiculously difficult to buy.  Now I thought this was just me but on speaking to other people, no, apparently it's a problem that other people are burdened with too (middle class problems here clearly....) 

And I wonder if it is in fact an age thing.  Or is the fabric they make tee shirts out of, getting thinner?  As it seems to me that the majority of them are paper thin, shapeless, go out of shape after three washes or you end up with tiny holes in them.  I actually don't want to have to layer a tee shirt with a vest so that you can't see my bra.  This sort of defeats the object in warmer weather.  I also don't want them to be so shapeless that I look like I'm wearing a sack on my top half.  Or one that manages to cling just in the wrong places ie highlighting my muffin or mum tum for all the world to see. 

Don't get me started on straight hem ones.  They may work for a lot of people and yes, they're fine if you're going to tuck them in with boyfriend jeans (and I clearly never tuck the whole lot in now - but a tuck in at the front or one side which sounds totally random and naff, does actually work) .  

Basically it's a minefield.  And I'm not even sure that throwing money at the situation helps.   I will explore this in more detail but certainly some of the ones I've tried that are more expensive, yes the fabric is definitely more flattering in its drape but still thin enough to see my underwear.  Which at 41 is frankly a massive no. 

So the other option is to look at an alternative.   Essentially what I need is a casual top that I can wear every day as previously mentioned 

Ground rules are 

  1. It can't be too baggy or oversized - I want to be able to wear a blazer/jacket over it without looking like the Michelin woman.
  2. It can't be too fitted - I have finally faced the reality that me and the gym are casual lovers and I will never have a torso like Elle McPherson.  Whilst I appreciate I am very much on the slim side, I collect my fat around my stomach and there are rolls a plenty which do NOT need to be accentuated.
  3. It can't be too long 
  4. It can't be too short
  5. It has to go in the washing machine
  6. It can't be too thick 
  7. It can't be too thin
Not much then?

But I've actually managed to find a few.  Now the downside is that none of these are cheap.  Which, to be honest, may be where I have been going wrong in the past.  Isn't there a saying, buy cheap, buy often?  I love a bargain, that's true, but I have definitely been guilty of buying cheaper tops, just because it would be ridiculous to spend more than £50 just on a top to wear every day. 

Would it though?  What about if we bring the cost per wear theory into it.  Some of the tops I've found are the most amazing basics that you could wear a couple of times a week and would last.  You could also dress them up as well for smarter occasions - back to my old favourite adage of "clothes that work hard for you".  They'd also work over skirts and would be ideal for work as well.  Plus you haven't got to factor the purchase of a vest as well.  A one top wonder.

That's enough chuntering on for now though, let me introduce you to my idea.  Yet again, I'm not reinventing the wheel here and I may be on my own here but I get Tee Shirt obsessed.  Must.  Find.  Good.  Ones.  Well frankly, balls to that, I'm going off piste. 

Starting with some knit versions.  Now these may be straight along the hem but because the hem is heavier with a slight gather to it - just by the nature that a knitted hem has to have, they don't just hang there, they give the top a bit more of a shape.

I don't usually start with my favourite but here we are. 

Hobbs Grey Marley Sweater £55  This look a lot better on that it does off.  I'm wearing it in a Medium and am usually a 10/12 on top. 


They also do it in a Pink for £55

And a black 

But my preference would definitely be the grey.  For me the most versatile colour and the easiest to match other colours do - certainly in the Spring/Summer.  

Another grey top from Jaeger - this is lovely but personally I prefer the more capped shape sleeves of the Hobbs one. 

Jaeger Fine Gauge Merino Under Piece Jumper £99


Some other versions out there.

Another V Neck from Kin by John Lewis - 100% Cashmere was £89 now £44

Cashmere from M&S

Pure Cashmere Knitted T-shirt £69 in Apple - lovely pastel shade of green, would look lovely with whites or greys, alongside navy. 

And in, for me, a more useful neutral Soft White also £69

More Cashmere from M&S, this time in lilac. I'd say this one is more of a shell shape with less of a nipped in bottom.  Still exceptionally useful. 

Pure Cashmere Raglan Sleeve Jumper £69

From The White Company 

Stitch Front Jumper in Silver Grey £80 - silk and cashmere mix This would be ideal to wear out in the evening as well as throwing on over jeans with sneakers for total downtime.

I do also love the colourblock one they have in the sale. 

Silk front sweaters are a great idea - thin enough to wear when it's warm but with enough body in them to give a hold a decent shape. 

Jigsaw Riverbank Silk front Sweater £89 (this one does say dry clean but I can't see why you couldn't handwash.  Don't quote me on that though....) 

Alma Print Knit Back Top £59 from Mint Velvet

Excuse the slightly maniacal look in my eyes...... 


Not not a silk front but another "print" one if you like.  I love this - would look amazing with jeans and a black blazer.  Gorgeous with a leather skirt too - or culottes.  Cream or black full midi skirt?  I've got my eye on this for underneath my leopard print coat.  Or my green Zara coat..... Let alone the navy H&M coat.....  Or how about with grey cargo pants and a biker jacket, black skater shoes and I'm sold.

Grid Checked Jumper from Autograph at M&S now only £22, was £35  Viscose and cotton mix.

And a random extra at the end which covers the brief bar it needing ironing.  However I love the look and feel of it and it's a perfect tee alternative.  I have had this on the blog before on a Chambray post but here is a pic of it on - I think it deserves a second mention.  I adore this one - really do.  Am eyeing it up for over my new kick flare jeans.... Denim on denim, could you get any more 70's?

Ice Blue Light Denim tee £59 from Mint Velvet  


Essentially the conclusion is that (bar the last one) we're talking about short sleeved thin knit jumpers (I could have saved myself a lot of waffle at the beginning, couldn't I?)  They're going to be more expensive than a tee, for sure, but if you think about their versatility, the fact you haven't go to then buy a decent vest to layer underneath to protect your dignity and that a good normal tee isn't cheap, then these strike me as being a pretty good investment.  Easy for me to say as I'm holidaying in the UK and Ireland this year....

And by the way, this is why I'm not playing the cropped top game.  This pic does not truly do justice to how ghastly it looked (although it's going a fair bit of the way) 


Before I go - could I beg a huge favour.  You may or may not have noticed that at the top left hand side of the blog there is a badge that doesn't actually say that I've made it through to the short list of the BiBs awards, which is Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Style Category (yay!)  Thanks to your votes, I did manage to reach the final this year (although I was pipped at the post to the prize) and I'd love to be able to do that again.  

If you could find a moment to vote for me I would be so so grateful.  You can either click on the 2014 badge (the one to the right) or this link.  Thank you thank you thank you xxxxxxx

Finishing with my outfit from today.  Start of the cricket season - much excitement from a small boy in the house.  I then spent the remainder of the morning at the swimming pool with the 9yr old and her friend as they wore themselves out on the bouncy castle inflatable hugeymaflip thingy.  Great fun when you're 9.   Coffee with friends afterwards and an afternoon at home with the family. 

image image

Blush vest - Cos
Leopard print cardigan - Warehouse
Khaki linen cargo pants - TopShop
Gold leather pumps - Gap
Leather jacket in brown - All Saints
Stone Maxi Zip satchel - Anya Hindmarch

Tomorrow, I am on a mission to complete my 70's revival. 

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26 comentarios:

  1. Just voted for you - good luck! I was just musing over t-shirts this morning and have actually gone the cheap option and ordered three (white, coral and cobalt) New Look structured tee shirt Whistles rip offs - they're on the cropped side but because I'm tiny, they should still be well below my waist hopefully. I'm fully expecting at 8 quid each to have to send them back but we'll see! Love the chambray MV and the grey Hobbs ones from above.

  2. Nice t-shirts! Abigail from Hobbs... Abigail Hobbs! Have you seen the 1st season of Hannibal? What a scary thought...
    I'm struggling with t-shirts as well. Thank you for the ideas!

  3. Thanks for this Kat. Very useful - love the Hobbs grey, and the two MV tops (animal print and chambray). Haven't bought anything from MV this season - perfect excuse now! I too find tees in my mid-forties a pain to shop for. An extra requirement for me is sleeves - capped is as short as I like to go. While I run regularly and am in reasonable shape my upper arms are not sculpted! Enjoying your postings this weekend - meant to be studying for my Life in the UK test - requirement for UK settlement visa application - but am allowing myself to be distracted! If I fail and get deported I'll blame you ha ha!!!

  4. Love your blog. I have struggled to find the perfect tee the last few summers. Just got two I love from boden. Think they are linen tee and they have a pocket

  5. Absolutely love the first grey Hobbs one. Have you bought it? Or are you buying the MV chambray one? I think you're right about cheap tee shirts. I gave up on them a few years ago and in terms of cheap tops, the best alternative I found was the Tesco shell tops. But I do think I'll be taking a trip to Hobbs after reading this xx

  6. Ha ha...I am the opposite...expensive tops look nothing on me, I am tiny though size 6-8 with no boobage (34AA) so maybe that has something to do with it. Primark, tesco etc all the way for me x

  7. Love the look of the Hobbs sweater on you, and the Mint Velvet one would be so useful
    Abbi x

  8. ...love the t shirt blog...zara has a t shirt exactly like the MV one in khaki linen with leopard print on the front....its 19.95 as opposed to 50! got one the other day...its on their site under t shirts, you have my vote, fab blog!

  9. I've just bought a similar style short sleeve knit top from Next in Navy for £15 (666-955). It has a bow on the back of the neck which I'm not keen on but as I have long hair you can't see it and for that price I don't can live with it! It's very flattering. Love the sweaters shown on your blog but out of my price range while we renovate the house.

  10. You should get the MV chambray, it looks really lovely on you.

  11. Trust me the best t-shirts are these vintage cotton ones from J Crew https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/knitstees/shortsleevetees/PRDOVR~36183/36183.jsp

  12. Voted for you, of course

  13. Voted for you!
    Love the first T, and also the black leopard print one.

    Totally agree the hardest thing to buy. I am more of an hourglass shape but can get slight "muffin" top when jeans slip down a little and t-shirts can be damn unflattering. If I was in the UK I would totally be getting a couple of these but as we are heading into winter here and I have spent my budget I will just look and admire.

  14. voted!

    And claims of muffin tops or flabby bellies are unfounded. You house an enviable figure.

  15. Just voted. Love your blog missus!

  16. Have voted. Always really enjoy your posts. Good luck. Jackie.

  17. Just voted, good luck.

  18. I think you have read my mind on this post! Been looking for the same thing for ages and definitely agree it is worth paying more as I have had some terrible quality t-shirts recently. Look forward to going to try these on, especially like the look of the Hobbs one.
    Just came across your blog not long ago and I am so happy I did! I'm in my early thirties with 3 kiddies under 5, so having spent most of the last few years in maternity clothes it's so nice to properly focus on fashion once again. Having looked through many blogs I was ridiculously happy to find yours, as we are a similar height and build (I am thin but with a slight mummy tum) and have very similar tastes. I was delighted to see I already have a lot of the same clothes as you (spooky how much is identical!!) so it's been nice to get some inspiration on how to put outfits together. I think that's what I have lost a bit over the past few years. So thank you for reigniting my interest in fashion and I look forward to continuing to follow the blog :)
    Oh and I'll vote for the award thingamy too - appreciate all the research that goes into your posts.

  19. You got my vote. Good luck x

  20. You should have tried the crop top with something high-waisted....probably would have looked a hundred times better x

  21. Have voted - fingers crossed your ace blog wins this year.

  22. Been reading your blog a while but never really commented. Have voted - love your style advice, frank photos and your wit!