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How to Find The Perfect White T-Shirt for Your Body Shape

Does the perfect white t-shirt exist? They’re a wardrobe essential for many women, available at all price points, come in all shapes and sizes and should be easy to buy. The truth is, all white t-shirts are not created equal so you need to know what to look for.

Today I’m sharing how to find the perfect white tee that will flatter you and the five major body types.

Triangle or pear body shape

The goal here is to create visual interest on top to balance your hips. If you have a small chest, pockets can be your friend. A boat neckline draws the eye out and widens the look of your shoulders. A portrait neckline does the same and often shows your collar bone which adds even more visual interest up top. It should not stop at the widest part of your hips so opt for longer or shorter. You can even add subtle shoulder pads like these.

Inverted triangle body shape

The best tee shirts for inverted triangle bodies have a V-neck or deep scoop neckline. These draw the eye down and make your shoulders look narrower. Elbow, 3/4 or long sleeves move attention away from your shoulders and help add balance. Looser cuts that skim the torso and waist are most flattering. You should avoid boxy fits which will make you look larger than you are.

Diamond, round or apple body shape

The goal here is to draw attention up from your waist. The best necklines for an apple body are square, sweetheart, scoop or vee. If you also have a large bust, opt for a slightly higher v-neck and avoid crews. Asymmetrical necklines and draping or ruching are also flattering on a round body. Structured, short and/or wider sleeves create balance for a diamond body shape. Tops that create a waist are also flattering.

Rectangle or straight

The goal here is to add the illusion of curves. Look for tees with a banded waist, curved hem, draping or fullness to offset your straight figure. Tuck it in if you can. The best neckline for a straight figure is a scoop, sweetheart, or a deep V. A boat neckline widens the look of your shoulders which creates the illusion of a smaller waist. Puffy, ruffled or drapey sleeves add softness to your straight figure. Three quarter length sleeves draw attention to your waist which is also flattering.

Perfect white t-shirt for the Hourglass shape

Lucky you. Pretty much every neckline looks flattering on an hourglass figure. Avoid boxy or shapeless T-shirts that hide your shape and make you look larger than you are. Look for tee’s with some shaping to outline the contours of your body. A wrap tee or one with a banded waist accentuates your curves.


When you find your perfect white tee, stock up. A crisp white t-shirt needs to be replaced when it begins to yellow at the underarms or around the edges. Tees in synthetic fabrics or with spandex shouldn’t be bleached because it causes the fabric to yellow prematurely.

Have you found your perfect white t-shirt?

If you liked this post, I would love for you to pin this image to your Pinterest board.how to find the perfect white t-shirt for your body shape

Thanks for reading ladies and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.




  1. Thanks for this informative post. Now I understand why I no longer like V-neck tees! Over time, my body shape has changed from pear to post-menopausal chunkiness in the tummy region too. Now I like scoop necklines better. My biggest challenges about finding perfect tees now: finding ones that aren’t sheer, that don’t cling (hate spandex and microfiber for that reason), that are long enough to cover my hips, that don’t shrink, and that have elbow sleeves (for warmer weather). If you ever find one that checks all those boxes, please post a link.

  2. I look forward to reading your posts every day and love your style!
    In this piece you refer to using subtle shoulder pads for pear shape bodies. The link shows bra strap cushions. Can they be used as shoulder pads. I’d love to get them if they’ll work…
    Thanks, Maureen

    1. Yes, they can! They will add a bit of volume to your shoulders to help with balance. Pear-shaped women often have a slope to their narrow shoulders so these help keep bra straps in place too.

  3. Janet L Allen says:

    I tapped on the shoulder pad link and it came up silicone bra strap holders. I deperatly need shoulders pads in almost everything I wear … My shoulders are 1-2 sizes smaller than my bust

  4. What a great post, Jennifer! Thanks to everyone for the tee shirt suggestions. Shopping begins tomorrow

  5. There was a long period in my life when I made my clothes and I created the perfect tee style and fit for my body type. I tried on tees at Goodwill until I found one that was ideal for me, bought it and cut it up to make my pattern. I sewed my tees for many years. I really miss being able to get that perfect fit. Nothing I find commercially comes close to my own design.
    I spoiled myself. Now I grump at too-wide necklines, ill-shaped armholes, inferior fabrics, and weird hemlines. I’ll look into some of the suggestions in the comments.

  6. What is a portrait neckline? I don’t think I know this term. Usually round or v-neck for my smaller upper body.

  7. JJill. The fabric is not too see-through.

  8. I lived in tee shirts and blue jeans when I was young but now I only wear the tees under jackets or vests or shirts which serve as a jacket in our hot climate, Always Long sleeve or at least 3/4 because I don’t like the line that is formed right where the shirt sleeve ends under your jacket or shirt. You can see it through thinner shirts or kickers, I can push sleeves up if I get hot. Soft is the first thing I look for and Vee neck not too high because they ride up. Is next.
    I wouldn’t recommend Blair for most things but they do have nice tee shirts that are not too thin and they are soft. You can’t see through the white ones.

  9. Always looking for a great white tee. It sure is a good idea to buy more then one. I’ve had many perfect ones but they wear out so if I find one again I will buy multiple tees!

  10. I love the cotton t-shirts from Everlane. Th fabric is cotton and soft and not transparent. I have the v-neck in white, black, and gray. This will be the only t-shirt I buy from now on.

    For non-cotton, I like the scoop-neck t-shirts from Covered Perfectly which also have 3/4 sleeves. Unfortunately the white and cream ones do not look good for long.

  11. Won’t argue that a short-sleeved white T is a valuable asset to a wardrobe, however at my age do not wear them like I use to and if I do they must be v-neck and long sleeved similar to two old ones that I love (by au Cotton and Cotton Ginny ) that allow me the option of rolling/pushing up their sleeves and unlike many now, you can’t spit through because they are so thin. (The latter, just a Canuk expression … ☺.) Also both are 100% cotton (no microfibers) and with the proper care over the years looks as good as the day they were purchased. All said; do appreciate all your invaluable expertise that you share and all the time ‘n effort you put, into doing it.

    P.S: For laundering garment ‘whites’ I use a product called Laundress and if stained; treat the area first in the form of paste with a combination of Lemon Juice and Baking Soda. Also I only machine heat dry if its an absolute necessity, otherwise it is hung to dry and all the better if in the Sunshine.

    1. Drying in the sunshine helps to keep things white naturally:)

  12. I have have been very pleased with my white T-shirts
    from OLSEN . The brand originates in Germany and is
    in The Bay throughout Canada. They are v neck ,opaque and come in elbow and 3/4 sleeve . The only
    difficulty is waiting for a new Spring shipment . ! They
    are a bit pricey , but worth the investment .

  13. RE: Chicos clothing with huge dip in the back, I should add that I am petite with wide shoulders, big bust and flat behind. Would the cut of that top help to balance my figure, or should I just stay clear of it? You see I really do need help :-}

    1. It depends on how long that top is on you. It might be overpowering or make you look shorter if it’s very long.

  14. Helpful article and thank you! Please consider an article on necklines in general. It comes close to a science for those of us with less than taut necks. I was interested to see Trinny Woodall (British stylist from the original What Not to Wear) make a point on her YouTube series about the positioning of the crew neck itself to avoid emphasizing a wrinkles on lower neck! So now one has to not only find a well made crewneck, but the neckliine must not be too high or too low! I am looking at the brand AYR; fabrics are just right for Arizona ( I have a popover blouse from them that is perfection and was well worth the price) and the cuts seem to offer some versatiity but they are quite expensive. Everlane has some promise but when will the cropped trend end?? Ditto on the comments about the Madewell tee having the annoying pocket (but the best bandanas ever for concealing and accessorzing the neck). I agree with the comments made so far about having to rule out boatnecks; I cannot stand to see bra straps and do not want to deal with a strapless bra unless absolutely necessary for a special garment. We are so often advised to find stand-up (aka portrait collars?) as they are flattering for so many (Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie, I am looking at you) but they are also hard to find. There is more involved in that look than just popping one’s collar up–if the fabric is not substantial enough, it just collapses in a sort of lopsided mess! Anyway, hope you consider a post, or series, on finding flattering necklines on tops and dresses. It has finally occurred to me as I browse newly listed items on the Nordstrom site that such considerations come first, with fabric, color, and other criteria close behind.

    1. I have a post about necklines coming out early next week. It is tricky because there are so many things to take into consideration.

  15. Thanks for addressing the white T-shirt. Since reading your blog, I’ve shopped at Chicos and am perplexed at all the tops with the huge dip at the back. That’s a new look for me. What body shape is this for?

    1. Are you referring to the long curved hem in the back? That covers the backside and maintains modesty when wearing slim pants or leggings.

  16. Now, at least I know why they make that terrible little chest pocket that ruins perfect Madewell Ts and why they make annoying boat necks that require a strapless bra.
    I have had faux boat necks, that’s a good thing. Actually, Walmart Tru Fit made a great T-shirt, elbow length sleeves, modified scoop neck, scooped hem but the fabric needs thickness and some spandex.
    The perfect white T is a unicorn.

    1. Lol! That’s a great way to describe many things we need in our wardrobe 🙂

  17. I am very small chested and am basically straight up and down, except for a little extra weight at the waist. The only neckline I wear in a t-shirt is crew. I like to be discreet and not have to worry about it gaping open if I need to bend over. Boatnecks drive me crazy because invariably my bra straps show. I have a terrible scar on my upper arm, so elbow length sleeves or longer are my friend. No flounces or ruffles for me. I never wear a t-shirt solo…they are always worn under jackets, sweaters or cardigans. Just my personal preference. The only thing I look for in a white shirt/blouse is the thickness of the material. I appreciate your advice and expertise, but I will stick to what works for my taste.

  18. Vicki Mikola Dack says:

    Personally, like modified v-necks and three-quarter length sleeves in tee-shirts. With almost every company out there going to micro-fibers…good luck in finding 100% cotton. Don’t mind a little stretch added to the cotton fabrics, just not all these micro fibers that are being made these days. They hold the heat (even if designed for breathing) and after a while if not washed properly they begin to stink. So they need to be washed more frequently and in hotter temperatures.

    1. Micro fibers are tricky. I love cotton because I can bleach it.

  19. Paulette Levy says:

    Only one, not Onky…lol.

  20. Paulette Levy says:

    I need suggestions! I have Onky one that I like a lot, from Marshalls but it is dingy looking now. It is Cynthia Rowley, Vee neck, short sleeve and is not boxy, which I avoid! I’m slender/average built , mostly, but busty.

  21. Linda Ann S says:

    I always need a few white t-shirts and use them in every season. I will check out all of your suggestions. My biggest problem now is that so many brands have started making their t-shirts so thin that the white is almost see through. I just ordered on from LL Bean, though theirs tend to be a bit boxy, and am hoping my undies don’t show through! Anyone have a nice weight t-shirt that isn’t transparent???

  22. Thank you. I ordered the Caslon banded tee from Nordstrom.

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