Fashion Advice: Where to Find White Cotton Shirts

White T-shirt by Merona from Target

Dear Budget Fashionista: I have searched long and hard for a white t-shirt made of fabric that isn’t so sheer you can see skin through it. I love the white-shirt-and-jeans look, but the white shirt part of the equation is always the problem.

Answer: For years I swore by Old Navy’s Perfect Fit Tees, which were made of thick cotton, until the powers that be decided to make the shirts out of a thinner cotton. Now, I’m a big fan of the Merona tees at Target and the Faded Glory Tees at Walmart. Both are priced under $10 a pop. I also like the tees at H&M although they tend to not wash as well as the tees from the other two stores.

White T-shirt by Merona from Target
Women’s Relaxed Scoop T-Shirt – Merona, $5.60 (clearance price), Target
white t-shirt from H&M
Slub Jersey T-Shirt, $9.99, H&M

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Catherine Brock

As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

Blog Comments

A little more expensive but highly durable with long-life potential are Lands’ End knit shirts. They keep their shape through many washings and do not shrink in length, an important feature for anyone over 5’6”. If you don’t want to risk mail order, go to SEARS and try them on. Long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless and tank—all are available in white and colors.

Way back in the late 80s when I was in high school, I would buy men’s undershirts for my white tee/jeans combo.  I would get the brand name, like Hanes, and they were thick, good quality tees, three to a pack!  I haven’t done that this century, so I can’t verify the continued quality.  However, I went to Hanes’ site, and it looks like they sell a Perfect Tee for women for $9.  Might be worth a look.

THe plain (insert your color choice here) t-shirt is the only thing I buy from GAP or Old Navy now.  I rarely find anything else there.  Just be sure to dig through the piles a little bit.  Sometimes the quality varies.  I have dark skin, so I always have to test the fabric on my arm, but so far GAP and Old Navy have come through for me.

I like the tshirts from Lands’ End – the fabric is just heavy enough to cover well, and they skim the body nicely. Good length too.

Sometimes a bit expensive at a boutique but always are on sale at are great tees from Petit Bateau. The french made kidswear line has boutiques across the country. Their tees are plush and never get pilly. They are my staple this time of year. I love em!

Believe it or not—Basic Editions tees from Kmart are excellent. Nice feel, all cotton, not too heavy but also not so thin that you feel exposed, good fit—and when they’re on sale, they go for about $5 each. (Otherwise, I think they may be $7.) Their tanks are great too.

I recieved a new Lane Bryant catalog this weekend, they have the white shirt dress for plus sized women.  Nice looking too.

I agree about the t-shirts from Target! I just got two (they were only $6 each!) and I love them. (They’re either Mossimo or Merona…I can’t remember which.)

I’ve loved the Old Navy Perfect Fit V-neck Tees for years – so I’m totally annoyed that this year they’re only available on the web site.  Pay tax AND shipping? I don’t think so.

try american apparel.  I guess it’s a little more expensive but really well-priced and of great quality, plus their tees are really soft and come in every single color of the rainbow.  their site is

The perfect T by hanes is a GOD-SEND!!!. I have them in all colors. I also like to buy my t-shirts from this store in NY/NJ called Pay half, I like a litte stretch in my white tees and they have the best ones that wash well and fit like a glove. PERFECTION!!!

Consider a nude bra.  Perfect for the sheer t-shirt that isn’t as hot as the thicker variety.  A little sexier, too.

I would have to disagree on American Apparel.  The quality of their shirts are top-notch, but I think they are still way overpriced for plain cotton t-shirts.  I’m throwing my hat into the ring for Target!

I really like the white tees – short- and long-sleeved – from New York & Company. In fact, I buy almost all my tees from there. They have that thicker material that I prefer, too.

I’m all for the Target T!  But let’s face it, they all shrink in length after a handful of washings.  A friend gave me a thing called the hip-T.  It lengthens my favorite t’s and adds a little zip with lace on the bottom.  This thing goes on over my jeans and lays just at the hip and waistband area.  My shirt lays on top like it normally would.  So, I get a bit of funk at the bottom without getting crazy all over.  Best of all it covers the exposed rear view (butt crack) with most of my beloved jeans.  I now sit anywhere without fear of someone dropping a coin in the slot!  Love the lower rise (not ultra)would never wear the high rise we see now.  Don’t even the skinny woman know it makes their butts look flat and a mile long – Yuck!  Anyway – my 2 cents are for the Target T and the hip-T!

I have a problem with shrinking t-shirts!  Where can I find the hip-T?  Thanks for your help.

Ah, so you’ve discovered the thing about the t-shirts already?  Yesterday I finally got a chance to read your awesome book.  I also had money to spend on clothes, so I entered the Old Navy with lots of enthusiasm, ready to buy part of my Perfect Ten.  I was going to buy some of those t-shirts you rave about.  Only to have the sale person give me a blank stare.  Perfect fit?  I explained patiently that these t-shirts were highly lauded by the budget fashionista and that I was ready to buy.  They proceeded to show me their new wimpy materials t-shirts.  I have tried the ones at Target and Wal-Mart and they don’t stretch enough.  They end up clinging to my hips.  I really don’t want to tailor t-shirts.  Any other suggestions?

Hanes no longer makes the Perfect T in the classic crew neck. I have emailed them and they said they no longer felt their was a market for them. What a shame, because there is an entire blog about the shirt.

I know this is old but do you have any recs now that Merona is gone? I don’t like Old Navy’s tees anymore either.

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