Alrighty - let's get to it! As I mentioned in "How NOT to wear coverage tees," I'm on a mission to eradicate the crimes against good style that some folks are committing with these useful, but often misused, fitted t-shirts.
For anyone just joining us, a "coverage tee" or "modesty t-shirt" is a very fitted tee with a higher neckline, longer length and sleeves ranging from small cap to long.
- Choose shirts with arms that are already modest. (see 2,3,4 above) The #1 crime people commit with coverage tees is putting them under tank or halter style clothing. If you have a sleeve that is already modest, but perhaps gaps a little when you move, then a coverage tee will fill in that gap but still be discreet. For example, coverage tees work great under kimono or bat-wing style sleeves that show too much underarm or even flash your bra when you raise your arms.
- Take advantage of the slim fit and layer under jackets or shirts. (see 1,3,5 above) When early spring and early fall days call for jackets instead of coats, a coverage T is a good base layer choice. I also like layering them under button down shirts that I leave open. It gives added warmth on those cooler days and some interest to the outfit with the different colored layers. But bear in mind, these shirts are supposed to be fitted. If you don't have a figure that is flattered by a very fitted shirt, don't remove your jacket!
- Tuck it in! As shown in "More Bad Coverage Tees", having your tee poke out under your outer layer isn't flattering. TUCK IT IN! The longer length of these tees was created to combat extremely low rise pants. But butt-crack-baring jeans are officially "out", thank heaven. You can easily find jeans in low, mid (my favorite) or the now trendy high rise. Higher-waisted jeans and pants are slimming and leg-lengthening. They help you avoid muffin tops; that dreaded pooching that happens when low-rise jeans squeeze too tightly around your hips. (Also avoided by buying the correct size!) You don't have to sport the mega high-waist jeans with the 70's look but do consider raising your waistband!
- With a vest, choose a 3/4 or long-sleeved coverage tee. I don't mind a vest, it's a fun way to add a touch of menswear to an outfit. If you're wanting to put a coverage tee under a vest (instead of a real t-shirt or blouse, choose one with longer sleeves instead of cap sleeves. The difference in proportion will avoid the "I'm trying to make it seem like I'm only wearing the vest." look.
- Do not wear a coverage tee under a tank top or halter top. This includes dresses! Please see "More Bad Coverage Tees" and "Summertime Snafu" for examples.
- Do not wear a nude colored coverage tee thinking it will "disappear" under tank top or halter top style clothing. Since you're already going to obey #1, this should be a moot point.
- Do not make a coverage tee the focal point of your outfit. If you're going to wear a simple "jeans and a t-shirt" make the t-shirt a nice one with some visual interest. A v-neck, boat-neck, or baseball style (my personal favorite). Leave the extremely simple and extremely fitted coverage tee as a layering piece.
- Never wear a coverage tee under cocktail or formal attire. Under casual up through business attire is fine.
- Don't be afraid to choose a standard tank top. If all you're wanting is a little cleavage coverage, consider a fitted tank top instead of a coverage tee. I have many more of these than the tees in my wardrobe, from lots of different stores. The necklines are a little lower and still provide the right amount of coverage. All too often, the necklines of coverage tees are way up by the collar bone and simply aren't flattering. The really high neckline just looks awkward under certain other necklines. A silky stretchy tank will serve you better in those cases.
The bottom line is this. Coverage tees shouldn't be the basics of your wardrobe.
But for many women, they became that. They somehow replaced your classic white button down, perfect v-neck tee, polo shirts, etc.
They are a basic in a wardrobe, not the basic.
Stay tuned tomorrow for laces and sheers! And fall/winter!