Pretty trippy: Silk tees

A silk tee is an indispensible travel piece, weightless in a suitcase, breathable, and when it's time to wash, just swish it out and dry in the shower. Silk breathes, and in hot climates is cooler than cotton interlock.

Once upon a time, they were ubiquitous, in both knit and woven varieties. These days, they're harder to find, but worth the h
unt. I limited my picks to washable silk or silk-blends (with one exception), and gave a miss to costly versions from Rag and Bone, Chloe, etc. If you're on holiday, you don't want to worry about dropping curry on a precious shirt! The choices below offer colourful, relaxed, low-maintenance style.

Silk and silk-blend knits

Eileen Fisher Scoop Neck Cap-Sleeve Tee, above, in silk knit jersey, is fluid and graceful. In white or ivory, $88 from Eileen Fisher. Also at Nordstrom, in regular and petite sizes. Pricey for more rugged destinations, but good for city wear or business travel.

Wintersilks own the mid-priced silk tee market, and have been, for me, a reliable e-vendor. They offer a blend of 70%, 30% premium cotton knit that's machine washable, and comes in summer colours and neutrals.
The longsleeved crew, far left, at two for $30 (or one for $32.95), is a travel staple.

same 70/30 blend is available in a basic v-neck, near left, for $29.95. I like the longer-than-cap sleeve, the depth of the vee, and their wide range of sizes.

They also sell a featherweight, "gossamer-light" elbow-sleeve crew (shown here) or v-neck styles. Wear one, two or three layered together, $24.95 each.
Roll in a baggie in your carry-on, and flip a couple of layers around for
a flexible, washable mini-wardrobe.

y tops of woven silk

A Vietnamese embroidered silk tunic
from National Geographic's store whispered of mystery and adventure. I could not resist the pink, on sale for $29.95. (Also available, a rich ruby and serene lavender.) With flowing pants and jeweled sandals, I'm ready for dinner on Vicky's sailboat.

If I were city-traveling, I'd wash (the label says dry clean but I'm going to trust handwashing), then touch up with an iron, or twist while damp and wear 'crinkly'. As you would expect, the National Geographic Store ships anywhere!

I wanted to show a close-up detail of Soft Surroundings' Seychelles Tunic, for tropical travel or your local tiki bar. You'll receive a packet of pearly shells of all sizes in case a few of yours don't survive the mambo contest. Tropical colours include Blue Hawaiian, Sunrise (a soft coral) and Daquiri, shown, $98.
(Shipping within US only.)

Asian-motif clothes are one of my favourite themes, so I'd also like a look at this Soft Surroundings Washable Silk Paisley Top, on sale for $69.99. Also available in lime/grape.


Imogen Lamport said…
There are some great finds there Duchesse!
materfamilias said…
Those v-neck tees look great!
metscan said…
I like the idea of layering thin silks, cottons too, but haven´t tried it yet.
diverchic said…
I want one of each of them. What a great idea!
Mardel said…
Those are lovely. You wear tees from Winter Silks? I gave up on them years ago (15?) because they were always too short, but you are tall. Perhaps I should try them again. They don't seem to give lengths on the website.
Duchesse said…
mardel: Winterslks can be inconsistent in sizing; I ordered 3 silk skirts in XL once and though all were labeled XL, three different sizes! (Two fit.) Also,b/c I now carry weight below the waist, a shorter (high hip) tee looks better than low hip, which stretches across the tum. Perhaps you can raise a reply via customer service but that's never been their long suit.

diverchic: I sense an order coming on?

metscan: Layering is easy, but have only tried two. LL Bean have some thin cotton tees perfect for layering- not a source you might think of great price & service.
Nancy (nanflan) said…
I agree with Imogen, some great finds! Silks are great to wear all year 'round. Shells, tanks, and knit tees make great layering pieces.

From time to time, Talbot's and Coldwater Creek also have silk and silk blend knitwear. Hit and miss from season to season, but worth checking on.
Duchesse said…
nancy: I've found silk 3/4 sleeve v-necks from Talbots and also from J Crew, who often blend silk with cotton or cashmere. They are on the dressier side of travel wear.
Frugal Scholar said…
I'm going to try the knits--thanks. So many say dry clean only, but I will take a chance on handwashing.
lagatta à montréal said…
Frugal, handwashing is fine for such silk knits - I've had such t-shirts for years - and far better for the environment and your family's health than most dry-cleaning methods. Cheaper too.

I wonder why these have disappeared from the shops - I've worn every one I have to shreds.

Bravo to Duchesse for finding these. My only disappointment is the colours. Other than the inevitable black, almost all of them are pastels or light colours, which I don't wear and which don't correspond to the aesthetic of the places I'd be travelling to. I did find one t-shirt in a beautiful "lead-pipe grey" (ash) at WinterSilks, but as it is billed as a yoga top, I'm wondering whether it would be too casual, though it has a nice scoop neck and elbow-length sleeves.

There were some deeper, richer colours at Eileen Fisher, including a lovely steel blue and a green called "edamame", but they cost more than I'm prepared to pay for a t-shirt.
Duchesse said…
lagatta; That's true, to find 'off' colours, one has to pay a lot more. (That is true for most garments.) I don't wear pastel colours either. At Wintersilks, black and white is it!

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