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Making white look right

From COS, $69 From Bershka $29.90 From Zara $35.90 Ribbed boat-neck half-sleeve T-shirt from Uniqlo, $14.90 Stylist Jenine Oh shows how to wear a white T-shirt.
Stylist Jenine Oh shows how to wear a white T-shirt.PHOTOS: BERSHKA, COS, COURTESY OF JENINE OH, UNIQLO, ZARA

A guide to picking and wearing white T-shirts

The perfect white T-shirt is a sartorial unicorn: Some people search for it their whole lives without ever finding it.

The task sounds easy enough.

After all, what screams "simple" more loudly than a white T-shirt? But there are all sorts of factors to consider such as cut, length, material and even the shade of white.

In spite - or perhaps because - of its elusiveness, it is the holy grail of style, since the perfect white tee is fashion's tabula rasa.

It can be worn with anything and everything, can be dressed down or up and can strike up any conversation about one's personal sense of style.

Contrary to popular superstition, there is, in fact, a method to the madness of finding that great white tee.

Fashion stylist Jenine Oh, 27, who regularly styles looks for celebrities including Rebecca Lim and Desmond Tan, gives her tips.

  • Different shapes of white

  • Ribbed boat-neck half-sleeve T-shirt from Uniqlo, $14.90

    From Bershka $29.90

    From COS, $69

    From Zara $35.90

MATERIAL

Thickness and transparency are two qualities to look out for.

"Soft cotton with a luxurious feel is always ideal," Ms Oh says, because the fabric is breathable, yet holds its shape well.

Another material to consider is linen. Steer clear of materials that are see-through. "I see a lot of girls wearing translucent tees with the wrong bras. It's very unflattering."

CUT

"A neckline that works well on everyone is the crew cut - it sits right along the collarbone and flatters most body types," says Ms Oh. "I'm not a big fan of V-necks, unless they are super plunging and have a looser fit."

Sleeves should end right above the elbow and "cap sleeves are a no-no - they accentuate the arms, which are a problem area for most", she adds.

Another rule she goes by is that "the line where the seams meet on the shoulder should sit just right. It should not be too high or fall too low below one's shoulder".

LENGTH

"Length is one of the most important things I would consider. I always buy T-shirts that end just above the hip," Ms Oh says, adding that such a length makes one look the most proportional.

PRICE

She would be willing to pay between $50 and $250.

"I would liken the process of finding a white T-shirt to finding a life partner," says Ms Oh, who has been in the fashion industry for five years.

"I expect my T-shirt to be of the best quality. It is important that it ages well with time and through washes."

WHERE TO FIND THEM

"For Singaporeans, COS would be the most convenient option," says Ms Oh. "Other brands that are my go-tos are Acne Studios, Rag And Bone and BLK DNM."

HOW TO WEAR THEM

"I usually wear mine with high-waisted denim jeans or pants - it's an easy way to dress it up," says Ms Oh. "Toss a leather jacket or blazer over it, put on some statement earrings and sock boots, and you're good to head out for the night."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline 'Making white look right'. Print Edition | Subscribe