Some basics -- flip flops, a cashmere sweater, skinny jeans -- are relatively to easy to find. White tees? Not so much.
If it seems to you that white tees have gotten thinner and more transparent over the past decade, you're right. The price of cotton has risen 25 percent in the U.S. over the past five years, and brands and retailers have had to choose between raising the prices of cotton tees, or making tees for the same price with less cotton. When we buy a $25 tee that's tissue-thin, we're merely getting what we (are willing to) pay for.
Knowing this, I decided to up the price I was comfortable paying for a white tee this spring to get one that I'd really like -- and that would last me more than one season. On a recent trip home to California, I found at Saks a white Vince tee that not only had a nice, relaxed fit, but was also thick enough to disguise the lines of my bra (what a novel concept!). It's made of white cotton that feels like a rich, slinky jersey, with a silk trim collar and rolled-up sleeves. At $115, it's many times more than I have spent on white tees in the past -- but given that I (literally) ripped through three "vintage cotton" tees from J.Crew in less than three months last year, it's looking like a pretty good deal.