Posts Categorized: color

Reader Request: Opaque White Shirts


I’ve had many, MANY requests flow in through Facebook, comments, and e-mails for help finding opaque white shirts. Some of you are hoping to find button-fronts, others tees, but everyone is frustrated by the dearth of opaque options out there. And I hate to say it – especially since I pride myself on being able to find virtually anything either in person or online – but I, too, struggle to find white shirts that are truly opaque. I’ll occasionally find a knit tee that works fine with just a nude bra, but button-fronts? Forget about it. The Foxcroft shirt shown above is among my most opaque, but even it has a bit of show-through in certain lights.

So I’ll give you my few meagre tips, and open the discussion to everyone in the hope that some of you have found a few brands or styles of white shirts that don’t require work-arounds to wear.

Double-front knit tops

They’re getting rarer, but they do exist – mostly among brands that skew slightly older like Coldwater Creek and J.Jill. Obviously, two layers of cloth – even if that cloth is white – will be more opaque than one. And since show-through is often more of a problem in the front than the back, this style of top can work.

Higher-end and legacy brands

Very few Old Navy or Forever 21 white shirts will be opaque. Bargain brands cut costs across the board to pass along savings to the consumer, and thick, opaque, white fabrics are generally better quality and spendier than thin, translucent, white fabrics. I’m not saying you won’t occasionally find an opaque blouse or tee for a bargain at Target, or that every expensive designer top will be totally opaque. Just that my Foxcroft shirt above is $76 and considerably less revealing than my $20 LOFT clearance rack one. When I thrift, I can tell a Pendelton or Brooks Brothers shirt from a Gap or Express one just by feel; The cloth is thicker, sturdier, and harder to see through. I can’t say as I’ve found any recent styles anywhere that I’d recommend, but I know from experience that older brands, more expensive brands, and brands that cater to mature women are generally less likely to be peddling white shirts that will show the world your bra.

Ribbed knit tees

I prefer ribbed knits because I find them to be less clingy than non-ribbed knits, but they also tend to be a bit sturdier and more opaque. Now, I’m not talking about the wide ribs like you find in tank tops, but instead about the type of knit used to make “baby” style tee shirts. In fact, many of the shirts I’ve bought that fall into this category are called “baby rib” since the ribbing itself is so fine. Zappos has some examples from Alternative Apparel, Splendid, and other brands. I stocked up on baby rib Amber Sun tees from Nordstrom last year, too, and they were fabulously opaque. Some are thin, but ribbed knits are often a bit beefier than smooth knits.

Nude camis

That’s right, three measly points in and we’re already at work-arounds! Since few of my own shirts are opaque enough to wear on their own, I rely on my nude camis to take up the slack. Mine are cheapies from Target, smooth nylon, and they’re not shapewear but just meant to add another layer between bra and world. (Like this one.) My primary show-through issue is my bra, and this type of cami helps create an unbroken torso line beneath my shirt. In my opinion, utilizing this layering system is more sophisticated than layering a plain white tank top beneath a white button-front. Less show-through, more subtle.

Nude bras

Why am I bringing this up? Because several jobs ago, I met a woman in her early 40s who was wearing white bras with her white tops. Until I mentioned how fabulously invisible nude bras were, and how essential they were for days when white tops were worn. Her eyes got about as big around as saucers, friends. So just in case: A bra that is nude to YOUR skin tone will create less show-through than a white, colorful, or printed bra. Hopefully you’ve got one. Or are going to nab one right after work today.

So why exactly are manufacturers content to churn out translucent white shirts year after year? Cost savings, undoubtedly. But just as women everywhere are baffled by the lack of sleeved dresses available to them, we’re all scratching our heads about this one. None of us actively wants white shirts that show everything, and just about every last one of us would be willing to shell out a few extra bucks for options that are truly opaque. Hopefully the market will hear our frustrated cries and make some changes soon.

Until then, anyone have resources to share for opaque white tees, tops, and shirts? Bought any lately that don’t require nude camis or other layers? Especially interested in brands that carry petites, talls, and plus sizes, but any suggestions are totally welcome!

Outfit details here.

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This Week I Love …

… stylist Elisa Nalin.


And I know I’m not alone in loving her.

Most of the streetstyle swirl that accompanies the various Fashion Weeks bores me to tears, showcasing stuff that’s so expensive and over-the-top that no mere mortal could sport it. And the more subdued, normalish stuff is all black. Black, black, black, a little bit of gray to mix things up, and yet more black.

But a year or so ago I happened upon some photos of Elisa and absolutely swooned. Can you guess why? Yep, COLOR. Girlfriend is fearless in the color department, but also extremely skillful. She never looks like a bag of Skittles, but instead selects and groups her colors with grace and flair.

Italian by birth, Elisa has styled editorial spreads for Italian Glamour, French Glamour, and Russian Harper’s Bazaar and has steady consulting gigs for Benneton, Sessun, La Perla, and others. She also squeezes in designing for the French brand Ventilo and raising her 4-year-old son. And creating some of the most memorable and inspiring outfits to be seen.

elisa nalin yellow mix


elisa nalin pastels



elisa nalin red

OK, you get the point. I’m totally in love. That smile, that messy pixie, that impression that she really, truly ENJOYS getting dressed and wearing gobs of color and pattern in innovative ways. Elisa, let’s be pals.

Anyone else a fan? Or a potential new fan now that you’ve seen her strut her stuff? Highly recommend a spin around Pinterest and Google Images for more Elisa eye candy.

Collage via B a la Moda, others via Caroline’s Mode, Red Carpet Fashion Awards, Caroline’s Mode, Valentine Avoh, Red Carpet Fashion Awards, Easy Fashion Paris.

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Reader Request: Spirit-lifting Clothing

feel-good-clothing_with text

Lovely Dana e-mailed me this request:

I love your post on “How to Dress Joyously.” Similarly, you could do a post on specific prints, styles, colors, or color combinations that lift your spirits.

Woo! Now here’s a question I’m tickled to tackle. As you’ve heard me say approximately 78 gazillion times, I believe that how we choose to dress can impact how we feel. The colors, textures, prints, and patterns we put on our bodies travel with us all day, so why not pick something that makes you smile whenever you glance into a mirror? Here are some of my personal spirit-lifting clothes, colors, and accessories.

Multicolored prints


All prints and patterns look lively and fun to me, but multicolored prints are my absolute favorites. My love for color is such that I sometimes feel like I can’t get enough, and saturated prints with loads of colors feed that need. That said, even subdued and dusty colors can look fabulous mixed together in a print.

Magenta and red


Red has long been my power color, and I feel strong and centered wearing it. But magenta runs a close second. Red can sometimes feel like a pretty bold statement, and some folks associate it with assertiveness and even anger. I feel like magenta is red’s more subdued, ladylike cousin. Both are year-round faves.

Anything that makes me feel like a badass


I’ve written about my conflicting feelings about badassery, but I just can’t resist tough boots, leather, studs, moto styling, and all other rock-and-roll influenced items. Even if I can’t kick actual ass, at least I can look like I shouldn’t be messed with. This stuff gets trotted out when I need to feel capable and strong, more than chipper and cheerful.



Predictable? Maybe. But stripes still make me endlessly happy. They’re so versatile, so crisp and clean, and they add a bit of pizzaz to just about any outfit. Vertical stripes still make me think of jail for some reason, but horizontals and diagonals excite me equally.



Dang, I sure do own a lot of rhinestones. And with good reason: Seeing the light glint off a faceted fake gem gives my mood an instant boost. My jewelry collection boasts sparkly bracelets, necklaces, brooches, and earrings, and when I’m down in the doldrums, clipping them on never fails to help.

How about you? What clothing or accessories do you don when your spirits need lifting? Any overlap with my list?

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