The Lost Art of Finding The Perfect Striped Shirt

If you know me, you know that I have a slight obsession with stripes. My t-shirt drawer is about 65% striped tees. No, I don’t have enough and yes, they are all different. In my opinion, I think everyone deserves the perfect striped t-shirt because it is the chameleon of the wardrobe. You can throw it on with a pair of baggy jeans and flats and look French-chic or pair it with a pencil skirt and blazer and take on the workforce.

My favorite striped t-shirt is actually from my least favorite store. I worked at American Apparel for a whole summer in college and I don’t think I’ve set foot in an AA store since but their Men’s Striped Tee is the perfect striped shirt for me. Because I have broad shoulders, a lot of women’s t-shirts don’t fit me right. A small may fit my torso and be the correct length, but I feel like a bodybuilder showing off my triceps and a medium feels like my boobs are swimming in it but it fits my shoulders perfectly (I am a classic smedium). But men’s or unisex sizes at American Apparel work well since they go all the way down to an XS or even XXS.

Truthfully, my other love is a boatneck striped tee from J. Crew that is practically sold out 90% of the time, which is why I have had the same one for 5 years and only just recently bought a replacement (also, God bless the “striped” section of t-shirts on J. Crew. They really just get me). It’s no surprise that I can’t pick a favorite based on the fact that I do rotate my striped tees pretty regularly, but I digress. This isn’t about me. This is about you.

This definitely isn’t the case for everyone and I know the struggle. I only have a few random t-shirts in my drawer that I truly enjoy wearing because they usually don’t fall properly on my body, but I have figured out what causes my issues. Because of my wide shoulders, I know what kinds of striped shirts (women’s smalls, drop-shoulder styles, batwing, etc.) don’t work for me. But I still see people struggling to figure out what works for them, and I don’t blame them. There is an art to finding the perfect striped shirt, and I think everyone should know it. Because the perfect striped t-shirt is a staple I think every single person should own.

Like I said before, if you have broader shoulders, opt for a men’s style in an XS or a unisex shirt. Women’s cuts have a much smaller shoulder-to-shoulder length, which will cause puckering across your shoulder blades and make you feel like you’re going to bust the shoulder seams. Most striped shirts are horizontal, so especially with wider shoulders, opt for a thinner stripe like a breton rather than a thick, jailhouse-style stripe.

Men’s Striped Tee (American Apparel, $34)

Men's Striped Tee

Factory Slim Deck-Striped T-Shirt (J.Crew Factory, $18)

Factory Slim Deck-Striped T-Shirt

If you have a shorter torso, that means a longer cut. And by long, I don’t a tunic. Look for a rounded or curved hem in either a v-neck or scoop neck, because that will help elongate your upper half. Pair it with some skinny jeans and flats and it’s a perfect go-to outfit for practically any casual occasion. If you have a longer torso, go for a cropped (not a crop top) style.

Whisper Cotton Crewneck Tee (Madewell, $32)

Whisper Cotton Crewneck Tee

Classic Striped Tee (Forever21, $9.90)

Classic Striped Tee

If you have a bigger bust, you may think that striped shirts aren’t for you but oh man are you wrong. Striped shirts are for EVERYONE. Because you’ll need to balance out a larger chest, a drop shoulder does wonders. Most, if not all, drop shoulder tees are loose fit, which means you don’t need to worry about your boobs looking like a giant, striped uniboob.

Boohoo Plus Stripe T-Shirt (ASOS, $21)

Boohoo Plus Stripe T-Shirt

Relaxed Linen Tee (Boden, $58.50)

Relaxed Linen Tee
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