In Search Of: The Perfect Plus Size White Tee

There’s nothing like a classic, well-made white tee.

It seems like everyone is constantly on the hunt for the perfect white tee, and we found it even harder to find a really great classic plus size white tee.

In the plus size tee section of the Internet at large, most of the options we tried on just weren’t in a great material. It was either polyester, or some other blend that had a somewhat nicer handfeel, but didn’t feel like it would last more than a few washes.

On top of that, most of them were either all-over too boxy, or too fitted in the wrong places (around the bust, or around the booty).

When we realized there WASN’T an amazing, go-to plus size tee available … we decided to make it. The Ori CloudSoft collection is over two years in the making.

(Yes, it took us a terribly long time to make perfect tees. We hear ya and we agree, wholeheartedly. But we did it, and we are delighted to have emerged on the other side, clutching our unicorn tees in our eager paws.)

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Enter: The Ori CloudSoft Tee

At Ori, we think that perfect white tees should feel soooo soft and comfy — like you’ve worn and washed it for years — and simultaneously, look like your crisp-est, most polished wardrobe piece.  Incredible fabric paired with clean lines and an intentionally draped silhouette.

That’s why we spent so long making our white CloudSoft Tee, and why we’re always so thrilled to send it to our comfy new customers … they don’t know how magical it is until they try it on.

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plus size classic white tee

^ Ori's CloudSoft Tee in White ... over 2 years in the making

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There are a couple of technical design details that make this tee fit the way it does —

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Fabric: Our 100% cotton fabric is milled specifically for our CloudSoft tees.

It’s 145gsm (fabric abbrev for “grams per square meter”, which is how fabric “weight” is measured), which makes it heavy enough to be NOT see-thru, and to fall and drape the way we want it to, but lightweight enough to breathe and skim.

The fabric we use has an ever-so-slight slub texture to it, more pronounced on the inside facing than on the outside. It adds an extra softness to the garment, one that won’t be washed away by fabric “wash” or “treatment.”

(Another way shirts are generally made super-duper-soft is by adding a silicone treatment or similar to the garment, which will be stripped away over washes.  We use the texture of the knit fabric itself, which if anything, gets softer over time.)

It's made of natural fibers: our 100% cotton is lightweight and cooling, and SO much nicer for spring and summer.

Yes, you should probably wash cold and lay flat to dry (it really preserves the life of the garment, and prevents any touches of shrinkage), but isn’t that lay-flat-to-dry recommendations worth it to feel amazing all day long in your breathable cotton tees?  We certainly think so.

Piece dye: Speaking of shrinkage, though — we minimize risk of shrinkage by using a “piece dye” process, instead of “garment dye."

Garment dye is exactly what it sounds like: you dye your garments after they’ve already been cut and sewn as finished pieces.

Garment dye is great because in general, your “color minimums” are a LOT lower; you can meet your factory minimum just by producing the garments (in white, or “PFD / prepare for dye” fabric), and then dye that one production order into many different colors.

Garment dye is NOT great in that the fabric “takes” various dyes quite differently — all colors react differently, but you see the largest differences between darker and lighter dyes.

There’s a big risk for random shrinkage, textural changes, and just an overall lack of control and consistency with garment dye.  Not great when you’re trying to make the perfect plus size tee, and keep your pattern specs, fabric weight and sizing incredibly consistent.

So — we use a technique called “piece dye” instead.

“Piece dye” is actually not what it sounds like (doesn’t it basically sound the same as garment dye?): it actually means that you dye the knitted and finished bulk fabric, before it goes to cut and sew.  By the time your fabric is being marked, graded, and into production to make the actual garments, it has already been completely dyed into the single color for those garments.

With piece dye, you have an incredible amount of control over your fabric, because nothing is cut before it has gone through the dying process.  And with our piece-dying process specifically, we always pre-shrink our fabric to the degree that we can while maintaining the integrity of the natural fibers.

(So if you go rogue and decide to tumble-dry your Ori tees on low heat, you will see a bit of shrinkage, but nothing catastrophic.)

The downside of piece dying, however, is that you end up being able to make fewer colors of each garment, because you have to dye a certain amount of fabric in each color to meet color minimums, along with your style minimums. That's why we always have only two or three colorways for each garment.

So … until we’re a bigger company, we will always have fewer colors than you’d like (and we promise that we are always doing our best to introduce new colorways into the assortment!).

BUT, even with just a few colors available in each style, we are able to use the highest quality fabrics, custom milled and dyed for us, while maintaining complete control over the fit and feel of every garment.

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Clean lines and curved hemlines.

Each seam is carefully placed on the garment to get the intended silhouette.  Casual and flowy, but polished.

Forward-angle side seams to create a shape that accommodates busts and tummies.

Curved front and back hemlines.

Understated scooped neckline.  Just enough scoop to flatter, enough coverage to wear everywhere and to anything.

*We love a good V-neck tee as much as the next person, but the Ori sporty scoop is our most versatile & chic look.

No extra fabric at the neckline (it can warp over time) or bits & bobs — just a clean, polished binding.

Extended sleeve length, because we hate cap sleeves.

    Kidding, there’s more to it than the Cap Sleeve Protest … we also just wanted something comfy and swingy that provided enough coverage in a short sleeve.  We have a LOT of elbow-length and three-quarter sleeve tees, but a good short sleeve (lightweight, easy breezy) that still provides enough coverage is hard to find.

    And it solves the common problem of feeling like you're all bust in a short sleeve.  The subtle extended length of the sleeve and the width of the hemline really balance out the shape of the garment overall.

    It’s far more comfortable (and as a bonus, looks fantastic) to NOT have a sleeve trying to chomp its way into your armpit all day.

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    Tagless, tonal pad press labels.

    We’re obsessed with them.  That's all.

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    Our Favorite Plus Size White Tee Looks

    Without further ado, and before we bid you adieu … here are some of our favorite all-Ori looks paired back to the White CloudSoft Tee.

    (These are all centered around the Regular Length tee — our beloved classic — but we now have a brand-new Tunic Length available, too!).

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    1. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee + The Dreamy Plus Size Kimono Duster in Black + your favorite light wash denim

    white plus size tee

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    2. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee + The Dreamy Plus Size Kimono Duster in Deep Forest Green + The Easy Breezy Plus Size Maxi Skirt in Starry Night

    plus size maxi skirt

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    3. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee + The Dreamy Plus Size Kimono Duster in Deep Forest Green + your favorite light wash denim

    plus size kimono duster

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    3. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee The Dreamy Plus Size Kimono Duster in Black + The Plus Size Pencil Skirt

    plus size pencil skirt

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    4. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee + The Plus Size Midi Skirt in Olive

    plus size midi skirt

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    5. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee + The Plus Size Midi Skirt in Rose

    pleated plus size midi skirt

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    6. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee + The Plus Size Pencil Skirt in Midnight Blue

    navy plus size pencil skirt

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    8. The White CloudSoft Plus Size Tee + The Plus Size Pencil Skirt in Black

    black plus size pencil skirt

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    katie finley ori
    By Katie Finley
     ·
    Katie is Ori's Founder & Head of T-Shirt Operations. She lives in Los Angeles and is equal parts designer and data analyst. Send an email anytime to katie [at] orieveryday.com.