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Ahhhh, summer – time to search clothing stores for a new selection of white T-shirts.

V-neck or round, long-sleeve or short, a season of washing and wearing often leaves this wardrobe staple looking dingy with unsightly yellow stains under the arms.

I frequently pair a crisp white T-shirt with a black blazer because it feels comfortable yet looks polished. But I didn’t originate the idea: The T-shirt dates back to 1880, when the U.S. Navy issued sailors an elbow and hip-length undershirt. The simple shirt, laid out on a flat surface, formed a perfect “T.”

“Today it’s an important alternative to your basic blouse,” says Andrea Sider, a real estate consultant at Keller Williams Heritage Realty. “Not only can it give a suit a more casual feel, a T-shirt can be dressed up with a scarf or an elegant necklace.”

Petite women, who once avoided the one-size-fits-all size T-shirt of the past, are indulging in new styles which are not only fitted, but also are shorter.

“I found T-shirts used to be mostly oversized, which looks sloppy if you’re only 5-foot-3,” admits Joanne Sullivan, executive director at Florida Hospital Tampa Foundation. “Now I own a preponderance of fitted white T-shirts with subtle differences such as a ballet neck or three-quarter sleeves. And I’m delighted that the addition of Spandex allows them to hold their shape even after washing.”

It‘s been said that you can’t be too rich or too thin. An added piece of advice: In today’s corporate culture, you can’t own too many white T-shirts.

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