Wardrobe Basics

Seamless foundation + sheer pink lipstick


A basic tee (or tank!) cannot be beat, in my opinion. It’s so easy, can be totally casual or even look a little dressed up with pumps, the right lipstick, and jewelry. There probably isn’t an item of clothing that I am pickier about, besides my denim, than a basic tee.

“It’s just a t-shirt”, you may be thinking, but being a jeans + tee kind of gal, I have a few things I look for since I’ll be wearing those items the most!

First, the neck has to be high enough that I won’t give the world a peep show when I bend over. With a 2.5 and 1.5 year old, I’m not interested in worrying about how my shirt is hanging. I want to know that it will stay in place!

Secondly, if it’s a white shirt, I’d really like to be able to wear it without a cami underneith, especially in the summertime. In the winter, I don’t mind wearing a cami, but it’s too fussy and hot in the summertime.

So here are some of my tried + true tanks and t-shirts that I wear repeatedly throughout the month!


one, two, three, four, five, six

I bought the tee from Madewell (#4 and what you see pictured above) in black, and then immediately ordered two more that were on final sale for $19.99. I sized down to a small, and it fits so nicely. It’s not too boxy, nor it is too short.

The striped tank is a favorite lately because it’s a perfect light weight without being too sheer. No need for a cami underneath.

I have this tee from Gap in grey and white, and the white may be a touch too sheer for some, but I feel like I can get away with wearing it alone.

The boxiest and most casual feeling of the bunch is this one from Banana Republic. It’s quite thin too.

Pair any of these with casual shorts, or dress them up a bit for girls night, the options are kind of endless with these simple staples!

Speaking of jeans – read all about my dream jeans here


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Fran says · 07.28.16

Love the stripey tee – love wearing a tee with a blazer and long necklaces, makes me feel a little more put together when I go out with the girls!

Leslie says · 07.28.16

My sister recently told me about banana republic outlet t-shirts, the white shirts are thick enough no tank is needed, and sometimes they’re on sale for only about $10. A great deal I bought two! 🙂

Ali Vizzo says · 07.28.16

The elusive perfect T! How does the gap one wash up? I recently bought one from Gap that was perfect when I tried it on and shrunk so much the first time I washed it that I can’t wear it anymore.

Katie says · 07.28.16

I honestly live in basics. I rarely ever get out of them & when I do I always get comments saying I look different..!!

Katie // Words by Katie

Kaitlin Senter says · 07.28.16

I’ve been loving Everlane v-necks! And a good bra helps in feeling comfortable enough to go cami free. Basics are life!

candice says · 07.28.16

Jeans and t shirt is definitely a must have I like the v necks

Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

Cait says · 07.28.16

This just inspired me. I need to build a post-maternity wardrobe since I stretched all my clothes out. I’m going with T-shirts and jeans with necklaces and scarves. I always underestimate how simple and put together it looks.

Melissa G says · 07.28.16

Those 2 v necks look very low cut! Target has GREAT tshirts. They fit well, wash well and just generally hold up well. V neck, scoop neck, lots of colors. And, they often have 3 for $24.

Kate says · 07.28.16

Trust me, they aren’t. That’s the number one thing I look for in v-necks.

Devin says · 07.28.16

I agree about the Target t-shirts. I’ve had some for several years and they wash well and hold their shape. I balk a bit at the thought of spending $20 (on sale as you report) on a t-shirt.

Abby says · 07.28.16

I love wearing tees and I own way too many of them! They’re just so easy and comfortable!

Corie says · 07.28.16

I just bought the striped one from BR and it was an extra 50% off!! I got 2 for only $32 and some change including tax!

Erica Rawson says · 07.28.16

What is the source for the black tee in the top photo?

Jessica says · 07.28.16

LOVE! Being a boy Mom, this is my basic wardrobe! Thanks Kate!!! 😀

Kris says · 07.28.16

Thank you, Kate, for all of your hard work! For providing options – Target, Madewell, Banana Republic, Gap! For writing thorough blog posts that give us ALL the information we need on where we can purchase these items! I’m not a shopper, but thanks to you, I’ve picked up a few staple items lately to add to my black and white “teacher” wardrobe that will get me through the coming school year!

Again – thank you – you are a blessing to me!

Sara says · 07.28.16

I second the Banana Republic Factory tees. They are great- good stretch, soft, a nice length (I’m 5’8″ so that’s important), and slightly thicker for no show-through. I also like a v-neck, and they’re not too low.

Tess Felber says · 07.28.16

My wardrobe is FILLED with sequins and crazy patters and I always forget about the basics! I need to start stocking up on the fundamentals!
xox Tess | Sequins are the New Black

Chelsea says · 07.28.16

Everlane has the best basics!

Sara K says · 07.28.16

I love a basic tee and I’m loving the lighter weight ones around right now. What I don’t like is how I continually get tiny little holes in ALL of them right on my waistline in the front after even one wear! I once read it’s due to the button my jeans rubbing against the kitchen counter. Anyone else have this problem?!?

Sarah B says · 07.28.16

I had that problem with my favorite t-shirts from Target! (Which sadly are not made anymore). Now I’ve been opting for the Modern Tee from gap and have not had this issue (yet).

Sarah Chavis says · 07.28.16

I love a tee shirt! You honestly can’t go wrong with them, you can dress them up or down. I hate to admit I am more of a leggings girl than jeans. I wear the heavier type of legging..you can’t see through them. I am really picky with jeans. I have short legs and I can’t stand when they are super long and they drag..the bottoms become wet when it rains and start to fray overtime. Since I had my daughter born c-section I can’t stand anything touching my scar. At this point in my life, leggings works best for me. I may try to buy a pair of jeans this winter.

sahara says · 07.28.16

Love the plain white one! I like it with pocket:P



Emily Huebert says · 07.28.16

Great post! How do the Madewell tees hold up after washing? I’ve had so many tees shrink, get tiny holes, or simply just lose their shape after a wash. How have yours held up? And how do you launder them?

Jacqui says · 07.29.16

How long are the Gap t-shirts? I’m only 5ft and l’m finding it so hard to find t-shirts that don’t look like l’m wearing a dress ☺️

Maggie says · 07.30.16

Gap and Express are two of my favorite places to get my basics. Occasionally H & M but that can be either a hit or miss with the quality.

Hannah says · 08.24.16

Just wanted to say thanks for sharing the striped Banana Republic tank top. I was in there the other day and picked up a couple colors. I absolutely L-O-V-E them!