Tee Time: Best Styles for Every Figure and Budget
by Melissa Kagan
T-shirts today aren't what they used to be. These once basic items are now being offered in an exciting array of colors, lengths and necklines. And while you love all the options, it can be dizzying when you're trying to find the style that best suits your figure. Whether you're busty, skinny, pear shaped or short-waisted, there's at least one tee out there for you, in a wide range of prices. Here's what you should be shopping for.
The V-neck is a universally flattering neckline. The deeper the diagonal of the V, the more slimming the effect. And who doesn't want to look slimmer? Go supersexy and pair a how-low-can-you-go V-neck with jeans and heels, or wear a moderately low V under a jacket for a polished and professional look. There's a V-neck out there for every occasion.
- A wider V-neck can especially flatter women with narrow shoulders or pear-shaped figures.
- V-necks create maximum exposure, which lengthens short necks.
- Modest V-necks are ideal for minimizing large bustlines. They break up the expanse of the chest area and draw attention to the face and collarbone.
While cap sleeves should not be worn by everyone, they are a fashionable alternative to a classic short-sleeve style. For those with thin arms, they are a chic warm-weather staple when paired with capris, but they can also look stylish layered over a blouse in the cooler months. Keep in mind that the arm fit is important: It's right when sleeves extend just past the end of the shoulder.
- Cap sleeves are ideal for toned arms ‑- the sleeve draws attention to the muscular part of the arm. If you are extremely muscular, this will accentuate your physique.
- The small sleeve area will make normally large arms look even larger.
The classic crewneck has been a staple in women's wardrobes for what seems like a hundred years. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's right for every figure. With all of the stylish neckline options out there, it's easy to find a replacement if this round style isn't the right fit for you.
- Crewnecks are not ideal for large chests. They tend to make breasts look like one large mass.
- These tees are frequently offered with logos or graphics. Women with large chests should avoid these as well. The design may wrinkle when it pulls, drawing attention to that area.
- Crewnecks can elongate short necks if the opening extends below the collarbone. Higher necklines will have the opposite effect.
- Avoid crews if you have a double chin.
Tanks and other sleeveless tops are a warm-weather favorite. They can be worn alone or under jackets or cardigans, and they can also look great layered with skirts or jeans. But rule number one is to make sure your bra is not visible, or even the most sophisticated ensembles will come off as looking sloppy.
- Sleeveless tops can accentuate nice shoulders and toned arms. If you have a large bust but are slim elsewhere on top, this will deflect attention away from the bust area.
- Tanks with high necks can accentuate larger bustlines. If you want to minimize, look for tops with lower and wider necklines.
- Slender or narrow women should wear more fitted tanks. Looser versions will hide the waist, making your figure look straighter.
- If your stomach is a problem area, make sure you don't wear a style that covers the belt or buttons on your pants. This will create extra unwanted bulge.
Tube tops today are streamlined versions of the ones that were so popular in the '80s. And fortunately for most women, they also include supportive built-in bras. While the tube top is considered an even sexier alternative to a halter or camisole, it can look sophisticated under a blazer with tailored trousers.
- Tube tops are good for women with nice shoulders and collarbone areas.
- They will accentuate your chest size, so those with very small or very large breasts should avoid this style altogether.
- To make your chest look larger, opt for a style that has ruffles or piping.
Scoop necks are the modern-day version of V-neck styles. They are also another example of a style that looks best on women with full chests. One common mistake women make is assuming that square-neck tees have the same flattering effect as scoop necks. In fact, square necks accomplish the exact opposite of what a scoop neck does and should be avoided by those with fuller tops.
- As with V-necks, scoop necks can flatter women with narrow shoulders, pear-shaped figures or short necks.
- They can also balance a long, angular face.
- The low, wide neckline breaks up the chest area, which makes them ideal for women with large breasts.
- Ultra-low scoop necks accentuate bony chests, so thin or flat-chested women should avoid this style.
Three-quarter-sleeve T-shirts flatter everyone, but they are especially useful to women with heavy arms. In fact, it's one of the few styles that look better on someone who isn't very thin. Regardless of your frame size, make sure that the sleeves are worn snug (though not tight) because looser versions can make anyone's arms look short.
- Women with very skinny arms should avoid three-quarter-length sleeves. They accentuate the thinnest part of the wrist, making arms look skeletal.
- They work best on women with heavy arms, because they hide the thicker section at the top and draw attention to the delicate area of the wrist.