Let’s face it: 2020 has been rough. That’s why we’re looking to find moments of joy and pleasure this summer with our new series, Summer’s Not Cancelled.
Since the pandemic started in March, I haven’t been buying clothes nearly as much as I normally do; after all, the economic headlines continue to be worrisome and most of my days are spent working from home or chasing after toddlers. Even though Canada is slowly reopening, nights downtown with friends and glamorous fashion industry events are still off the table, at least for me, making most potential wardrobe acquisitions superfluous.
Except for one budget-friendly buy: the muscle tee. A fresh take on the summer wardrobe old faithful (the classic cotton white tee), this updated T-shirt shape is sleeveless and lightly boxy in fit. Possibly inspired by a look from the Off-White spring/summer 2020 show, it features a generous crewneck and wide shoulder seams (the Frankie Shop’s seemingly ubiquitous version features padded shoulders (!) and extended seams that veer into cap-sleeve territory).
Angular, structured and slightly '80s, it’s a T-shirt that looks polished enough for video calls but is comfortable enough to wear all day. And, because of the simplicity of its design and construction, many versions of this fashionable top can be found for under $30.
Even celebs, who are mostly running errands instead of hitting red carpets, are embracing this relaxed trend. Selena Gomez wears hers in bed, and it doubles as a bikini cover-up for Emily Ratajkowski. Sleeveless tees have also proven popular with myriad fashion influencers, too; this versatile top looks as good tucked into matching trousers as it does paired with wide-leg jeans or cute shorts.
As for me, I’ve worn my muscle tee at least once every week since it arrived from Zara — for quick errands in the neighbourhood, on Zoom calls, and even on a recent camping trip. A cute, affordable top that I can wear anywhere and everywhere this summer? I’m wondering if I should get it in more colours.
Here are four affordable muscle tees to add to your rotation asap.
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