As you all probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of filling my wardrobe with lots and lots of basics. I don’t do too much colour or print and I try my best to steer away from anything that stands out too much unless it’s for a special occasion. I like to keep my shapes basic and my colours neutral as I feel that creates quite a timeless, classic look for me and is an easier way for me to re-invent my wardrobe and get the most out of wearing things over again. Something that I love to throw into the mix whenever I can, however, is a basic with a little bit of a twist. A simple shape made extra special with a little design detail that elevates a look whilst still keeping it elegant goes a long way and for me, the Frankie Shop muscle tee ticks every little box in that list.
I was obsessed with the shape as soon as I saw it all over Pinterest and Instagram. The sleeveless style makes it perfect for the Spring Summer season while the padded shoulder is such a subtle feature, yet it brings a stylish edge to what would otherwise be a plain t-shirt.
It has fast become THE must-have basic top of the year so far and I can see why. I’ve easily styled mine into so many different outfit combinations already and I love that one basic item can transform a look and make it much more interesting and on-trend. These affordable, easy wardrobe additions are what, for me, make fashion more accessible to the masses.
Of course, I tried to get my hands on one as soon as I saw them but as much as I love the Frankie Shop version, I’m definitely not in a position to spend £75 on a basic tee. So I began a hunt across the high street, to find a purse-friendly version which you won’t be surprised to learn, I found in absolute abundance.
So without further ado, let’s get into the below where I’ve gathered as many padded shoulder t-shirts as I could for you guys to shop…
I have this Loavies version in black, which you can see styled over on my Instagram here. I’m so happy I picked it up as the fabric is really thick and good quality, the armholes are designed so not to be too loose and baggy. It’s one of the more expensive high street versions here, but 100% worth that bit extra due to the quality and cut.
I like this black version from Mango because the shoulders are cut slightly differently and a bit smaller than most I’ve seen which makes the top a tad more understated. If you’re not a huge fan of the more exaggerated shoulders, this may be the one for you. They also do this in white and grey, as well as a striped colourway but I have heard that they are quite a baggy fit so maybe size down unless the oversized look is what you’re after.
Surprisingly, it’s taken Zara an absolute age to jump on the bandwagon with these tees, however, the colours that they’ve bought out are by far the best I can find. I have this sage green one on order and can’t wait for it to arrive as it’s one of my favourite colours of the season. They are part of the custom colour collection, which is in collaboration with Pantone® however, Zara has just released a standard black or white colourway also if you want to stick to a neutral colour palette.
In contrast to Zara, H&M released their version of the padded shoulder tank fairly early in the season, however the difficulty you’ll find is grabbing it whilst it’s actually in stock. This gorgeous dark beige one would look great in a neutral-based wardrobe for Spring and I find a beige or camel top adds interest to an outfit that a white one just can’t. Like I say though, it’s been consistently in and out of stock since the day it came online so if you do manage to get your hands on one, you’re very lucky!
I wanted to throw in another white alternative, this time with a standard neck and this & Other Stories piece fitted the bill well. I like the standard style of the crew neck and that it has a slightly oversized look so it billows when tucked into trousers. This one is also made from organic cotton so if you want to shop more sustainably then take a look at the link below.
Lilac is a huge colour trend this season and although it’s not really for me, I thought some of you guys might love this colourway. At £15 it’s a great way to add a trend piece into your wardrobe and this is also made from organic cotton, so another option for the more environmentally conscious among us.
Last but not least, this Pull and Bear number doesn’t have any shoulder pads but does still give a more exaggerated shoulder. I know that shoulder pads aren’t for everyone depending on body shape or just preference, so this is a great way to emulate that trend in a way that may be more suited to you. I have this top in the white and I would say that it’s slightly on the small side so size up to get a similar look to below.
Whether you prefer huge shoulder pads, small shoulder pads or just an exaggerated shoulder shape, this t-shirt trend is the one you need in your wardrobe this Spring. There are a lot of different colourways, styles and cuts across the high street right now but even if you don’t want to buy anything new, it’s an easy style to make at home and I’ve seen some great YouTube videos which give you a step by step guide on adding your own shoulder pads into an old tee, using either fabric glue or a sewing machine. Maybe a little project whilst we’re spending more time at home?
As always, I’ll be pinning style inspo for these over on my Pinterest here, and don’t forget to let me know which one was your favourite.