We Compare the Modest Shirt Companies

by Jen on February 21, 2007

By Melissa Lambert

Fashion can be a tricky thing when you are committed to modesty. When the fashion is low-rise jeans and shirts that are low-cut, short and sleeveless, it can be difficult to wear the clothes you want while maintaining the dress standards that are important to you.

In recent years, a number of companies that are sensitive to the modesty challenge have developed long, modest shirts. When you wear these shirts with other potentially-revealing clothes, they keep you covered up. You can wear them with low-rise jeans to keep your back from showing when you bend over or sit down, or with immodest shirts to keep you covered in all the essential places.

One of the best things about the long shirts is that they flatter every body type and every style. You can wear them alone if you’re comfortable, or under other clothing to create a streamlined look.

If you live in Utah, most of the area malls have kiosks where you can buy these modest shirts. In other states, it may be more difficult to find long shirts in stores, but luckily, several of the modest shirt companies offer the option of ordering shirts online.

Here is a quick comparison of three of the main companies that manufacture long shirts: Down East, Shade, and Undertease. Although all three companies sell similar types of products, they offer a big variety of selection and prices.

Down East Basics

Down East Basics has basic tees (long- and short-sleeved), camis and tank tops, skirts, gauchos, shrugs, and one basic black dress. They also have the basic tees available in maternity sizes. All their clothes are available in a variety of colors, a number of styles, and a few different patterns.

The short-sleeved shirts from Down East Basics start as low as $5 if you catch a sale. Keeping your eyes open for sales at Down East, you can find some great deals. For example, right now they are having a “white sale” where you can get three white shirts for $20. February specials include gaucho pants for $4.99 and skirts for $5.99.

Down East’s website, www.downeastbasics.com, offers a fashion guide, a tutorial on how to layer shirts, and a photo gallery with style ideas. The website also has a helpful sizing chart to help you find exactly the fit you want.

I’ve been a Down East Basics devotee for a couple of years now. I’ve worn them under everything, and I was impressed at their durability. I continued to wear the regular-sized Down East shirts well into my pregnancy, and they were lifesavers. They helped me wear my pre-pregnancy clothes longer because they covered my belly as it grew. (I always meant to try the maternity tops, but by the time I grew out of the regular-sized shirts, I had already given up on being stylish and was wearing my husband’s sweatshirts every day!)

Shade

Out of the three companies, Shade has the biggest variety of available products. They have tank tops, baby tees, cap sleeve tees, camisoles, thermal shirts, ribbed turtlenecks, swim tops, long sleeve tees, and more. They also offer a variety of colors and patterns. You can find seasonal patterns and styles as well. Shade even has a new collection of modest dresses called Basic Black available online! Their website is easy to navigate and features photos of all these different items.

The prices for Shade clothing run the gamut. You can pay as little as $5 for half sleeve t-shirts that are on sale, or as much as $300 for a formal dress. There is something for every pocketbook on Shade’s website, and for every style.

The website also features gift packs, where you get a few items together for less money overall. For example, the basic gift pack gets you three pieces for $33.

Shade’s website is www.shadeclothing.com. On the website, you can fill out a wish list and e-mail it to people. Every time you send your wishlist to three people, you are entered into a drawing to win all the items on your wishlist for free!

Undertease

The Undertease website features mostly the basic tees, in a wide variety of colors. You can get cap-sleeve, ¾-sleeve, or long-sleeve shirts in addition to camis and lace tops.

Undertease shirts are a bit more expensive than the other companies. A basic cap sleeve tee sells for $29, and a cami retails for $26. For a fancier black lace shirt, you’ll pay as much as $58.

One fun thing about Undertease is their sizing system. Rather than buying a small or a large, you can buy shirts in sizes like “cutie,” “sweetie,” and “sassy.” There are no plus sizes at Undertease—-just the “Va Va Voom” line, with the sizes “sensuous,” “voluptuous,” and “goddess.” Undertease also has an “O Baby” maternity line, with shirts in three different sizes for pregnant women.

The website for Undertease is www.undertease.com. One notable feature of the website is a well-done photo gallery that will give you many different ideas for how to wear the shirts.

No matter which company you choose, modest shirts are an easy way to make your wardrobe both fashionable and modest. Even if your clothing budget is small, you can find new ways to express yourself through your style by using a few simple pieces from companies like these.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 23, 2007 at 4:27 pm

I’m very interested in knowing about the quality of these shirts. Has anyone boughten Layers shirts, too? Are these fabrics fairly thin, do they pill or stretch out? Which company seems to have the best quality?
Thanks!

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lexie March 23, 2007 at 6:24 am

I think you left out a company that beats price and quality. Coverwear doesn’t make a $5 shirt. Their prices start out at$10 with sale items. But, the best thing about Coverwear is their quality. Their shirts do not pill, they arent see through thin, and also can be worn by them selves or layered. I would by products from this company before i bought from anywhere else. Plus, they are made in the good ol’ USA!!!

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Anonymous March 23, 2007 at 9:19 am

I have used Shade tee and the Modest tee and Impel tees. I found they are all pretty good. The shade tees have faded a tad on me and I can’t wear them alone they are really form fit and I have a post baby belly. but they stay long. Impel shirts I found to shrink up even though I hang dry them and they kinda feel uncomfortable under the armpit. The modest tee you can only wear with certain things due to being a bodysuit. Overall though these tops have really helped under things.

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EmmaJ March 24, 2007 at 1:21 pm

I like Layers clothes the best. I think they use a higher quality of fabric than the others. They keep their shape and color very well (although wash anything red or purple because it may bleed the first time you wear it.) Layers also has a wider range of styles and even offers skirts and swimsuits.

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Heidi62668 March 24, 2007 at 3:25 pm

I love Undertease! They are so soft, come in many colors, the neck line dips in the front _and_ back (which I think is really flattering) and the edges are finished very simply and look nice for casual or dressy. They are a little expensive, but worth every penny, I think. I also like Jil Designs for all the same reasons, but the colors are a little duller and there aren’t very many colors to choose from. I like Comforteez, but the fabric doesn’t breath as well and the necklines are higher. They have a satin edge that is nice for some outfits.
The colors are nice and bright.
I have tried the Shade baby tees – they were too long, necks too high, and the arm holes were too tight (even in a large when I usually wear a small). I would try the DownEast ones if they would finish the edges – I don’t think serged edges look finished enough. I just bought a half-shirt from Mia Bellina. It is the only place I have seen anything like this. I also bought their Ballerina shirts that are on clearance ($9) – the fabric is so soft! Hope this helps someone 🙂

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Zhara March 24, 2007 at 4:57 pm

What a delight to find clothes that meet Muslim standards of modesty. Allah (PBUH) would be pleased. Thank you for having this site, I will refer all my sisters in Islam, as we seek to wear clothes that protect us from unwanted viewers.

Thanks,
Zhara

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Anonymous August 21, 2007 at 8:15 pm

I love the soft fabric and fit of Modbe shirts, however they have all seemed a little sheer for my taste. Even though it’s inevitable I try to avoid a lot of layers. It makes me feel hot and stiff. I recently purchased some Shade shirts and cami’s. These are my favorite so far. The camisoles fit perfect and the shirts too. I also have the Down East Basics camisoles. They are a very strange fit. It doesn’t flatter anything. It’s nice to read these comments and know other people in the world fight with their wardrobe everyday too!

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Melanie January 11, 2008 at 9:33 pm

My favorite is Modbe–I’ve tried Downeast, Layers, and Shade, and found them all to be lacking in quality or durability (or both!). I love that Modbe has the variety of shirts (not just caps and camis) as well as skirts, jeans, and REALLY cute swimwear (I really don’t like Shade’s), even shirts for little girls. I have had problems with the unfinished edges of Downeast, the durability of Layers, and the sheerness of Shade’s tops, too–I don’t want to show off what’s underneath! : ) Modbe’s fabrics are thicker, and feel like better quality. (that’s why I signed on!) For any of you who are curious, check out http://www.melanie.mymodbe.com, and click on shop. They have a great sale going on now, too (items as low as $5!). Feel free to e-mail me with any questions! My address is on the homepage.

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Julie Young April 10, 2009 at 7:40 am

I came across a web site selling modest t-shirts, recently – and their prices are really low! You can buy t-shirts for $7 each! They have a pretty good assortment of colors, as well. I have found their quality to be comparable to ModBod and Undertease. The web site is:
http://www.wholesalemodesttees.com/

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Now that Summer time is rolling in I just got an undershirt that I love from a company called Mia Bellina (www.miabellina.com). Like a sport bra but with cap sleeves, gives me the coverage I want and need. They are called Classy Sonata (or Classic Sonata – can't remember exactly) and the fabric is soft and comfy. I just love them. I wear them almost everyday! They also have lots of other super cute tops and they are not expensive. Just needed to share my happy experience with everyone!

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Anonymous November 8, 2009 at 9:24 pm

I have tried several brands including Shade, Layers, ModBe, Undertease, Down East and Mod Bod. I have to say my two favorites are Mod Bod and Undertease. I have both of these shirts as staples in my closet! The mod bod shirts are more for a casual look since they are a cotton/spandex mix like most of the other brads out there. Undertease I love for the events that I need a dressier layer to put on. Undertease is a Modal/Spandex which gives the shirt a lighter, shinier look which I love too! In case anyone is interested, here are their web pages: http://www.undertease.com and http://www.themodbod.com.

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carina March 22, 2010 at 3:56 am

Hi,

You have a nice blog. A 40-week pregnancy is really just a blip in our whole life time, but the problem with clothing during that time is very painful. Keeping this in mind, two best friends and mother of two children each started http://www.bellybundles.com. We have high quality maternity clothes there and we would like to hear your feedback on our products.

Thanks,
Carina – Maternity clothing

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Stacy B October 3, 2012 at 5:57 am

Halftee is the absolute best for layering.  I've tried them all and this is by far my favorite for layering.  http://www.halftee.com

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