Oh Crap – How Did I Get Here? T-shirt Trauma!

t-shirt style du monde

There are tons of things I could be talking about or you could be thinking of when you read the title. I could be talking about that sticky situation I got myself into when I hooked up my friend with another friend (I will make an oath to stay out of ‘grown folk’s business in the future); or I could be referring to my desire to find that perfect winter white coat for my client even though I’m loathed to locate it given the timing and budget; or I could simply be referring to my bed which is doubling as the “chopping board” for getting rid of excess items.

In this case, it’s the latter… I am focused as any good stylist should be on curation and refinement of my overall style message and ethos. In that vein, I am going through each section of my wardrobe and seeing what can stay, what must go (and where it should go), and what is anemic and needs bolstering. I started with something easy – my t-shirts. They are overflowing in my one drawer that is allocated for them and I’ve noticed my eye wandering toward them in magazines and stores. I have a vague ide of what I own but more importantly, I am certain there are tees ready to be retired!

I do the first round of offensive tactics fairly quickly and with a minimal amount of pain – anything that has yellowed arm pits, holes however small, has experienced shrinkage due to my less-than-stellar washing skills, isn’t the original color or shape that I bought it as, and anything that I thought of getting rid of before but hesitated on (it was on my mind then which means I likely had a bad feeling about it for a while).

I was hoping it would eliminate everything (but quietly I knew I would have to make some tough decisions). At this juncture, I’m down to about 60 t-shirts. The next round of purging is focused on “great vs good” items – I have several shirts that were either purchased in multiples which means I can let the original go since it’s seen its share of battle, or purchased as an “upgrade” to the original which again means the original is ready for retirement.

I’m down to 50 – and my goal is around 25. That number is slightly arbitrary but sounds meaty enough to get me through any rough week of “I don’t feel like going out” and back to back travel that won’t allow me to wash my favorites. 25 is over three weeks of gear and should be plenty for any able-bodied, hot-blooded professional woman.

My last round and the most difficult is the elimination of items that aren’t getting any real airtime, don’t align with my style ethos, have sentimental value but just take up space, are a wee bit too small or too tattered but they’ve provided coverage when all else failed, and those tees that you need to replace but haven’t found the right substitute (and you won’t as long as you keep the original).

After a wine break, the final tally is 37! I know there are a few questionables I could have purged but with no one looking, I kept them!! You’ve got the methodology for fine tuning your t-shirt team but, just in case, here’s a fairly easy breakdown of what should be in your drawer/cubby/bin:

  1. 5-8 plain, perfect fit tees – that can be worn under a suit, by itself or layered; this should be a mix of long and short-sleeve, and crew, v-neck and scoop
  2. 2-3 thrown-n-go tees – these are your vintage t-shirts, college or sorority tees, and anything you find cute that somebody may have gifted to you
  3. 4-6 dressy tees – these t-shirts are the ones you can rock with your tuxedo pants, on a fun date night, and perfect for travel under your sweater/blazer that say your stylish but don’t take yourself too seriously; most of mine have some metallic
  4. 4-6 print tees – these are the workhorse pieces that you likely paid “too much for” but seem to work with just about everything, any time; stripes and animal print are my favorites
  5. 3 layering tees – you need these to go under that fit-just-right blazer or to take away some of the itchiness of that sweater you love but has mohair in it; these are the tissue thin ones that don’t have a lot of shape but are soft to the touch, don’t create a bulk when worn with something else and are in your basic colors so they work with everything

Let me know if you can do it! Email me at barnettm@blueprintforstyle.com and I’ll offer whatever help I can….

 

Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.

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