“As iconic around the world as any New York City skyscraper, the all-American cotton tee was made to be lived in.”
-Vogue Magazine, May 2010
The plain white tee-shirt has definite sex appeal. In fact, the white tee has been synonamous with sexy icons throughout popular culture, establishing itself as a requirement for anyone trying to portray a casual cool.
Putting on a plain white tee shirt on is like putting on a blank canvas- you can then splash it with elements indicative of your personality and style. You can dress one up by tucking it into a mini and pair with glam heels for a night on the town, or do Saturday errands with a loose fitted white tee and a pair of skinnies. It is one article of clothing that is versatile, chic, and iconic, all at the same time.
Orginally introduced to American culture as a standard issue garment for the US Navy, the tees were cotton, short-sleeved crew-necks, worn as uniform undershirts. It became common for sailors and Marines in work parties and tropical climates to remove their uniform “jacket”, wearing only the undershirt.
Following the 2nd World War, it became common to see veterans wearing their uniform trousers with their T-shirts as casual clothing. The plain white tee became even more popular after Marlon Brando wore one in the film A Streetcar Named Desire, so we can thank Hollywood for catapulting it to status as a fashionable, stand-alone, outer-wear garment.
For men, the sex appeal of a white tee lies within the history of those who first wore it; hard working men, some in uniform, some fighting for our country, some inside the law and othes rebels without a cause.
I think women can thank the (sometimes in and sometimes out) trend of minimalism for reinventing the plain white tee with a more feminine appeal. Designers have really caught on and soft, comfortable yet sexy tees are everywhere. It’s such a great “I don’t even try and I look this good” look.
As you’ve probably guessed the white tee has become my go-to piece of clothing lately. Here are some great examples I found that you might want to shop:
And here’s some inspiration…