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Tee up the romance

T-shirts take a cue from couture with a softly feminine turn, but at an affordable price.

March 22, 2009|Melissa Magsaysay

Last spring, Lanvin's take on the white cotton T-shirt put a new twist on an American classic. Adorned with delicate chiffon trim, softly sculpted chiffon flowers and small crystals running down the front, its tees were the amplified, demi-couture version of a staple, and the high-end flourishes had a high price -- $850 and up -- to match.

This year, an $850 T-shirt feels out of the question, no matter how cute it may be. But the romantic style behind the price was appealing, and retailers such as J.Crew and Kohl's have picked up the spirit of the ultra-feminine shirt, putting it within reach.

J.Crew's $48 cotton rosette T-shirt comes in creamy ivory with silk chiffon rosettes. The monochromatic color combination gives it a textural and romantic feel. For a punch of color, try the cotton T-shirt with applique flowers in a vivid chartreuse. It's $55.

The Simply Vera Vera Wang line at Kohl's has a few frilly tees too. The dark lavender "mixed media" T-shirt, $48, is a simple cotton T-shirt with an A-line cut and silky cap sleeves that add a dressy element to a casual top. And for $44, the "Bow Tee" has a black chiffon snap-on bow that pops against lime green cotton.

The shirt doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, if you're really crafty, try embellishing an existing T-shirt with soft chiffon trims or lightweight appliques. You can say you were inspired by Alber Elbaz.

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melissa.magsaysay@latimes.com

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