At home I feel like no matter how many I buy I’m always looking for:
- Nail clippers
- Plain black cotton tank, t-shirt or long sleeve shirt
- Plain white cotton tank, t-shirt or long sleeve shirt
- Plain grey cotton tank, t-shirt or long sleeve shirt
I love basic shirts. They work under any vest, they make itchy sweaters wearable, they look great with a wild patterned or vintage skirt and they are pretty inexpensive. I have found though that not all are created equal.
Forever 21 – Cheapest price, hit or miss quality.
As you get older you start to buy things in bulk, including clothing. My first endeavor into buying multiple basics was Forever 21. I have to say that I still have one white camisole that has made it miraculously several years through dozens of permanent press loads and probably cost $3. However, I’ve had a handful that didn’t make it that far. In fact the last time that I went into Forever 21 (which was quite a while ago) I picked up a camisole and the stitching on the bottom was already coming out. I left determined to find basics somewhere else.
H&M – Cheap price, hit or miss quality.
I have several basic tanks and tees from H&M (all under $10 each) that have also made it through several washes. I like that they carry more stylish fits. Right now they are running a little looser which I like. I recently bought a plain white tee which is now coming undone on the bottom after one wash. Maybe there’s a 10% chance of failure here, not sure. I have the receipt from last month so I may try taking it back along with this bodycon dress that is too large and see what happens.
Target – Inexpensive, solid quality.
All of the Mossimo basics I’ve bought from Target have made quite a long haul. I’ve had no problems with the stitching. This weekend I stocked up and most were $10 or less, even without a sale. They have cute v-neck boyfriend pocket tees right now although for some reason they are not online.
Local stores – Higher cost, solid quality.
Your local boutiques (like Krazy Marys and Sugar Shack for Sacramento locals) typically carry basic tanks and tees. They are more expensive (over $20 and can be much more depending on brand) and a little trendier than you will get from Target. For example, bigger and longer t-shirts have been the trend and they are easier to find first at boutiques. Independent shop owners are very aware of the quality of the brands they carry and so typically the quality is very good.
Random other stores like Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Limited, etc. – Low cost on sale, solid quality.
I’ve had good luck picking up basics on sale from these kinds of stores. Anthropologie surprises me with the additional details even on basic items, like lace trim or buttons that I may not have even noticed online when ordering. I have a number of red camisoles from the Limited which were on sale for $1.99 which have proved more than worthy. So if you see a good deal don’t be afraid to spring for it – you’ll save money in the long run.
Take away lessons
Check the stitching – As we probably should always do – when shopping for basics always check the stitching on the bottom and inside of the shirt. Are long threads hanging out anywhere? That’s not good.
Try it on – I know they are basics but it really can help. For 100% cotton shirts buy the larger size this season and don’t feel bad about throwing it in the dryer. I was surprised to find out how tight the Mossimo long-sleeve V-neck tees were and had to buy two sizes higher than I would normally buy. Try before you buy!
Other colors?? – Olive green, khaki and heather blues/purples are looking really good to me right now though white, grey and black are my go-tos.