I’ve become increasingly aware that I have too many clothes.
Recently, I moved into a small room in a little London flat. Whilst stuffing a mountain of tops into a drawer, I was forced to reassess what garments I had allowed to stay in my life. I’m a notorious hoarder of holey socks, and I justify my raggedy T-shirts as ‘useful winter layers’. I can neglect my monstrous laundry pile for weeks and still have things to wear. It’s a problem.
When I was tasked with testing out three tops by The White T-Shirt Company (known for their high-quality, responsibly-made basics), I saw an opportunity to take action. What better way to challenge myself - and challenge the quality of the garments! - than to wear just these three tops for a whole month?
In order to cover a range of styles to get me through the month, I selected three versatile tops (pictured above) that could be dressed up or down: the Loose Fit ¾ Breton Stripe T-Shirt, the Black Fitted Bodysuit and the White Loose Fit Scoop Neck T-Shirt.
The White T-Shirt Company started out with a simple mission to create the perfect white tee, without compromising on quality, ethics or style. But don’t be misled by the name - today they offer a wide range of basic tops and sleepwear for men and women, all in heavyweight organic cotton.
I was delighted when the tops arrived beautifully wrapped in biodegradable plastic-free packaging. When I opened the elegant cardboard envelope, I found each one perfectly folded inside tissue paper, with a stamped label tied in twine. I would find this attention to detail carried over to the construction of The White T-Shirt Company’s clothes, too.
When trying on these tops, it was immediately clear that these were not your average T-shirts. The luxurious organic cotton was soft yet substantial, with just the right amount of stretch. I also noted the double-stitched seams - a great indicator of durability and high-quality construction. I found each of them true to size and flatteringly cut.
These sustainable T-shirts are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified, which means they meet strict quality, social and environmental standards at every point of their creation. Comparing them to cheap, thin T-shirts I’d bought before, the quality was like night and day.
During the month, I was expecting to be restricted in what I wore, but these tees went with absolutely everything. I found that picking what to wear each day had been simplified, but it also made me a little more creative with my choices. For instance, the stripey ¾ tee paired perfectly well with my work trousers on its own, but was a lovely layering piece underneath blouses and dresses.
The range of styles lended themselves well to being dressed up or down. The bodysuit looked great with loose bottoms like culottes, or it could create a sleek look with a fitted skirt, whilst still looking smart with its high neckline. For going out, I wore it with tailored shorts and tights.
The endless versatility of these tops made me look at the rest of my wardrobe differently. I considered which of my clothes were ones I wore often, that paired easily with other things. Which items made me feel good? Why had I kept things I hadn’t worn in over a year? Which items did I reach for all the time, and why? I was starting to get into a capsule wardrobe mentality.
I should mention that this challenge took place in the dead of winter, and I could get away with wearing each top for two or three days or more, usually with a thin vest underneath. In summer, I’d probably struggle with six tops, let alone three, but everyone will have their own needs depending on their activity levels and personal differences.
After a particularly active day, I’d sometimes have to wash a top after just one wear, so it was rarely as simple as doing all my laundry on the weekends. Combined with accounting for drying time and having something to wear over laundry day, I tended to do two washes per week. This was often inconvenient and - when I didn’t have enough to run a full load - not environmentally friendly. But it felt good to finally get on top of my laundry mountain.
At the end of the month, I had washed each of the White T-Shirt Company tops between three and four times, and they looked good as new. The necklines in particular, which I find with other tops can get misshapen and stretched quickly, remained pristine.
Capsule Wardrobe Thinking
During the month, I soon realised I have items I wear, and I have items I love wearing.
I’ll probably never be the sort of person who has a tiny rules-based capsule wardrobe, but over the course of the challenge I was inspired to give away a big chunk of my clothes. I saw the value in having fewer pieces, and choosing the ones that make you feel good. I was thinking more creatively with my clothes and wearing them more often, giving me a more fulfilling relationship with the items I chose to keep.
Having just three basic tops for the month was certainly a logistical challenge, and ultimately it was quite impractical. For me, I think seven basic tops would be a better number to aim for (not including other tops like shirts) but of course everyone will have an amount that works for them.
What negated the inconvenience of the challenge was the fact that I fell completely in love with The White T-Shirt Company’s tops. They were honestly the most comfortable items I have ever owned. These were garments I felt great in, and knowing they were made from GOTS-certified organic cotton made me love putting them on even more.
When I thought about the cheap T-shirts I had bought and discarded in the past, it became clear to me what a no-brainer it is to invest in quality basics. These are the things you wear every day, that are closest to your skin - why wouldn’t you pay a little more for a longer-lasting item that is a pleasure to wear? Not only that, but when we buy clothing, the power is in our hands to choose companies that put people and planet first.
All this brings to mind a Buy Me Once mantra: let’s buy less, choose well and love things that last.
Check out the full collection by The White T-Shirt Company.
Find out more about The White T-Shirt Company and their ethos.