Updated: Feb 4
Your t-shirts, collared shirts and singlets
Any accessories you have
Your REHOME, REPAIR and REFUSE bags
Your shopping list
As you’re laying your t-shirts (short and long sleeve), collared shirts and singlets out on the bed, it’s important to remember these are another key foundation garment in your wardrobe. Having a good selection is going to maximise how your layering pieces and bottoms work fluidly in your wardrobe.
Immediately remove any you don’t love, that are faded/discoloured/pilled or stained, have lost their shape/stretch or no longer fit and place these in the REHOME or REFUSE bag. If you’re an artist, home renovator or you do anything that’s dirty business you can retain a small collection of t’s and singlets to get down and dirty in! We're not keeping these for gym use either (you have my permission though if you're lucky enough to have a home gym, where no one sees you work out!).
If you have multiple options of the same colour and style, establish how many you need to keep and part with the rest.
For items that you’re not totally rocked by, especially those you’ve not worn in the last 12 months, say sayonara. Refer to my stylist’s tips below for advice.
Layout your accessories alongside to see how many different combinations you can come up with for each piece you plan to keep.
Take snaps on your phone as a visual reminder down the track.
Add to your shopping list any colours or styles of tops you would like to add.
Return those you're keeping to your drawers and/or closet, colour blocking as you've done before.
Image: @susirejano wearing @brillantbcn
We talked about necklines with our dresses; same applies to our tops. Keep the neckline open with a scoop or V if above about a D-cup.
Think about the shape your shirts are creating for your body if you’re wearing them without a structured layering piece over the top.
Sleeves can visually narrow or widen the top half of your body too. Think about it…a sleeve that draws a horizontal line across the nipple line has a broadening effect across the widest part of the top half of your body. Opting for a capped sleeve, sleeve to the elbow or ¾ sleeve will avoid this. A full sleeve will add visual centimetres to the width of your hip when you’re standing/walking and the arms are relaxed. This is why you see celebrities styled with sleeves rolled or gathered up, even on their tailored jackets – for an on trend, edgy look that is a neat little optical illusion too.
I’d also love for you to have a play with the hemline of your tops. Ladies with prominent hips generally want to pull their tops down to cover their hips, as a bit of a security blanket, however, this often results in drawing a visual line across the widest part of your lower body – the area you’re not wanting to draw attention to. It also comes at the expense of leg length (because you’re elongating your torso). Getting that balance right can tricky, but by testing this theory in front of the mirror, it will become apparent to you.
If your tummy is something you want to mask, looser garments that allow soft ruching across the tummy will do the job nicely for you. Avoid firm fitting garments that hug, but at the same time avoid covering the area with too much fabric or completely shapeless layers, rather, use your layering pieces to dissect through the tummy area.
Colour matching your pants or skirts and tops, then adding a contrasting or patterned layering piece (or long line scarf) over the top, will have an elongating and slimming effect as the onlooker notices one narrow, central panel of colour from top to toe.
Having a good selection of colours, as your foundation garments is the key to making all your other pieces in your wardrobe work. When you’ve found a basic t and/or singlet that works for you, pick it up in a couple of colours – white, black, navy, khaki or marle grey, then add your favourite colours, patterns (stripes are always classic) or some funky prints and logo or text. Often you get what you pay for with these basics, its likely worth spending a little extra to get the better quality, longer lasting fabric. After all, they’re not going out of fashion any time soon!
Polo shirts work for few body types. A must have for the golfers amongst us, but not the most flattering cut of shirt for most body shapes and they’re not normally conducive to layering either so not a versatile item in your wardrobe.
As far as button-up/collared shirts go, a classic white shirt would make my must-have list. Make sure it has good shape to it - darting will help create shape. Look for a fabric with a little stretch in it and a generous collar to pop to elongate your neck, if desired. There is white…and then there is WHITE white! I always insist that my white shirts are stark, crisp white for a fresh, super-clean look, as opposed to an off-white or creamy/yellowish white. Hike up those sleeves and leave the collar open if you wish to create that V neckline, or smaller busted types can button to the top and add scarves or short length necklaces to create different looks. Consider also wearing them open or tied, as a layering piece, over the top of a basic too.
FOLLOW UP ACTION REQUIRED:
Piff those ratty t’s and singlets.
Next time you’re out and about, pick up those basics to fill the gaps.
Gold Coast, Brisbane & Northern New South Wales Stylist, Louise Chambers is available for personal styling, photo shoot & media styling, style workshops, fashion event MC bookings and media bookings.