By “simple tee shirt,” I mean one that we can buy without trying on.  My answer is no–unless you’re restocking a brand and style that’s already in your closet.

I used to think that any combination of gorgeous color with a scoop or V-neck would do.  When I found stacks of these at JCPenney last Friday (St. John’s Bay, $8.99), I almost proceeded directly to checkout.  Fortunately, I stopped in the dressing room first.

Even after weeding out the weird-looking shirts in the dressing room, I didn’t go far enough.  I thought this purple sweater-like top looked great until I took these pictures on Saturday night.

  • I’m wearing size Large . . . perhaps I should have tried a Medium.
  • It looks okay in the bottom right corner photo, but straight on, you can see how shapeless it is. The fabric is 60% cotton and 40% polyester–probably a contributing factor.
  • Those of you under 5’4″ can probably relate to the wrinkled back.  It would have been great to find this in a Petite Large, but sometimes that means a tradeoff between a well-fitting back and a too short front.  (I just saw a selection of petite tees on the JCP website, including these for only $4.20, but once again, you never know until you try them on.)

I have reluctantly decided to return the teal version of this top that I also bought. $8.99 is just too much for something that I don’t look and feel great in.

Finally, the tee shirt that I didn’t expect to like turned out to be my favorite.

  • I’m wearing it in Large, but you can still see my waist.
  • It’s 100% cotton, and the hem hugs my hips instead of there being a little overhang from my bust.
  • It still wrinkles in back, but I don’t care since I like everything else about it.
  • The top left and center photos demonstrate the principle that I shared from Karen Hughes in June: For every place you’re covered up, reveal a little more skin elsewhere.  Rolling up the sleeves keeps me from being one giant green grape.

What has your experience been shopping for a simple, basic tee?  Have you managed without a dressing room?  If so, what factors tell you the tee is going to look good once you have it on?

I have a few more tee shirt thoughts to share this week, but before I sign off tonight, did you notice how lifted I am in these pics?  I’m wearing my Empreinte Kaela!