Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
We’ve all had this moment: The one where you stand in front of your closet, curse quietly under your breath, and declare your undying hatred for all your clothes. You’ve worn every “cute” trendy item too many times, and the rest of your stuff is dated, dirty, or simply the most boring thing you’ve ever seen. You are out of acceptable options. Meanwhile, all you want to do is wear sweatpants and a baggy T-shirt.
When that happens to me now, I just go with a white shirt — specifically, the swingy White Cotton Courier Shirt from Madewell that somehow turns everything into an Outfit.
It’s big and billowy for maximum comfort, but somehow not baggy. The long hem, wide sleeves, and oversized pockets all seem perfectly deliberate, so you can have the joy of dressing like an unhinged slob while projecting a look of cleverly stylish, offbeat professionalism — or at least a look that says you tried.
For all those reasons (and the fact that it’s thick enough that I don’t need a camisole or flesh-toned bra), it’s the shirt I turn to when all else fails. Weekend brunch? Big work meeting? Family event? This is the shirt that makes you look grown up, like a Real Person, but with a level of comfort befitting the lazy, hopeless child you truly are inside.