Best Men's T-Shirts Guide: Everything you need to know about the OG wardrobe staple

Discussion in 'Fitteds, Blazers and Watches' started by Lancer, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Lancer

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    The term ‘wardrobe staple’ is thrown around more times than a steak at a vegan party, but the humble T-shirt is one item to which it can truly be applied.

    A garment that started off as strictly underwear, developed into workwear and is now a definitive style essential, you would be hard pressed to find a man who has never owned this 100-plus-year-old basic.

    The T-shirt’s versatility has a great deal to do with its ability to outlast trends; it’s the only piece of clothing that can be worn for any occasion, from under a shirt, with a suit, to the gym, beach and to bed.

    They are true commodities: we buy them in bulk, often from the same brand, and we don’t stop to think about them until they need replacing. But are we really making the most out of our basic T-shirts? To offer a shortcut around the hours, even days, it can take to find the perfect colour, cut and style, here is the ultimate guide to man’s real best friend.


    The Perfect T-Shirt Fit
    The way a T-shirt fits says a lot about its wearer. Unintentionally baggy, with sleeves flopping sadly from the shoulder and excess fabric creating a tent around your torso, gives the impression of a man who has given up. On the other hand, exploding seams and a stuffed sausage-skin fit sends the opposite message, of a man who can’t get his own reflection out of his head.

    The perfect-fitting example emphasises parts of the body you’re proudest of, without drawing attention to the areas you’re conscious of. Confused? Before trying one on, look at your naked torso in the mirror and ask yourself what your best attribute is.

    • Arms: Whether rolled or regular, sleeves should hit around the halfway point on your upper arm to show off your biceps and triceps.
    • Pecs/Shoulders: Aim for a slim-fitting style that skims through this part of the body, leaving enough room for air to circulate.
    • Abs/Narrow Waist: Guys with bigger chests and/or narrow waists should look for tapered cuts that don’t drape around your mid-section.
    If not entirely confident of your body – a feeling that affects many of us – or nothing stands out, opt for a classic fit. Don’t oversize in an attempt to conceal the lumps or buy smaller to exaggerate others features, no matter how much you want to show off the results of that arm workout.

    Equally, if you feel everything about your upper half is worth flaunting, well, first control the urge to go shirtless, then take up some of this advice that applies to all body types.

    • A classic T-shirt should finish around the top of your hips. This will ensure you can raise your hands without turning your tee into a crop top.
    • Short sleeves shouldn’t cover more than half of your upper arm and should sit as close to the skin as possible without stretching.
    • A perfect-fitting T-shirt isn’t restrictive, allows you to move comfortably and should never feel tight (with the exception of performance attire).
    • Even in oversized or longline styles, the shoulder seams should ideally align with the point where the curve of your shoulder ends.
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      The Best T-Shirt Colours
      Neutral T-Shirts
      Black, white, grey and navy; these timeless shades set the foundations of any successful capsule wardrobe. T-shirts in these colours are often classed as ‘basic’, but their ability to underpin an existing look, or serve as one all on their own, is anything but.

      White: The quintessential T-shirt. For underwear, there’s no better choice, and it’s the best colour (or lack of) to combine with classic indigo jeans – see James Dean and Paul Newman for confirmation.

      Grey: Jersey or grey marl is a mixture of different shades, and the final textured effect is extremely flattering – especially if searching for a T-shirt to visually enhance your body shape. That said, guys who naturally sweat a lot should tread with caution as grey will make it significantly more noticeable.

      Black: Although black remains a popular shade of T-shirt, it does come with pros and cons. On a positive note, a black T-shirt offers a rebellious alternative to the classic white option. However, the colour is known to fade quickly as well as feel warmer in hot conditions.

      Navy: Not always available in standard three-for-two deals or multi-packs, navy is a refined choice that does almost the same job as black but remains day-friendly due to the colour having more depth. It’s ideal for creating tonal looks when combined with denim or blue tailoring.
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      Coloured T-Shirts
      The rise (and rise, and rise) of trends such as athleisure and the relaxing of office dress codes means that T-shirts are now more popular than arguably ever before. However, neutral shades can get a bit samey. Keep things fresh and inject some energy into your day-to-day looks by trying out colours.

      There are no strict rules here – making it an easy, affordable and effective way of experimenting with different hues – but, as a rule of thumb, certain colours suit certain skin tones.

      Olive/Medium Skin: Anyone with olive or medium skin (or those lucky ones returning from two weeks in the Med) will find they suit a wide spectrum of colours. For best results, avoid shades that are too close to the skin’s tone, such as shades of brown and orange – always lean either a little brighter or darker than the middle ground.

      Darker Skin: When it comes to colours, dark-skinned guys have their pick. Make the most of this and go bright and bold with primary shades and jewel tones. Just avoid brown, which can bleed into the skin and make you appear ashy, or worse, naked.
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      Neck Type
      Anyone with more than a passing interest in style will know that there are several necklines to choose from when shopping for T-shirts. Yet rather than complicate a look with everything from deep-Vs (shudder) and boat necks to scooped and raw hems, it pays to stick to the classics.

      V-neck naturally elongate the neck, which makes them perfect for shorter guys looking to create the illusion of height, or larger men after a slimming effect. They also provide balance to rounder or wider face shapes.

      If you have a small chest or sloped shoulders, a crew neck will likely suit you best. Crew necks draw the eye out and create the illusion of squarer shoulders, making you appear broader and better proportioned. This more substantial neckline also provides balance to men with longer necks or narrow face shapes.
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      Fabric Choice
      Most men tend to favour thicker fabrics rather than lightweight ones; as if the quality is directly related to the weight of the garment. Well, the opposite is actually true for T-shirt materials. Whether worn as a base layer or solo, a T-shirt should feel like second skin.

      Almost all T-shirts will be cut from cotton or a cotton blend of some kind. The gold standard is Pima or Egyptian cotton, which are made from long staple fibres that last longer, look thinner and feel lighter.

      Cotton blends are also good options. A moderate amount of elastane (stretch fibres) helps to maintain the shape of the T-shirt, whereas cotton-polyester blends come in at a lower price point and often crease less. Other brands look further afield to fabrics like Tencel, which tends to be even cooler than linen, or viscose, which is more absorbent.
      Affordable
      How much you would like to spend on your T-shirts is completely up to you. A few places to check out would be J.crew, Uniqlo, Club Monaco, Acne Studios, and Mango.
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  2. Lancer

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    So over the past two years now, and counting, I have been stripping my closet down to the bear essentials.
    I have talked about it on here before. I am only getting quality stuff that will last me 5-10 from now.

    I am on T-shirts now. I want to get not more than 10 quality ones, of different colors that fit me good and that I can have on good rotation without them slacking out. Colours like Blue, White(Levis have some nice packs of 3), Dark Green, Red but like Ox blood kind, and Beige fit me well.
    They must be light weight and breathable, as I tend to sweat very much.
    I am on a strict budget of nothing more than $30.

    My Goal is to own only 60 clothing items. I am not on a minimalist journey or anything, I just believe we spend too much on clothes and the Fashion and clothing industry are the biggest pollutants to the planet.

    I think the above does serve as a good guide to nailing down the perfect fit for ones bawdy.
     
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  3. Rico

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    @Lancer I wouldn’t necessarily limit yourself to X pieces of clothing, so much as determining your monthly/yearly budget for clothing will be X dollars and seeing what X will get you in quantity. For example, off-season buying, e.g. buying winter sweaters in March in anticipation of the next November or December; One year, I walked out of Kohl’s with like ten different 100% cashmere sweaters for about $35 just because it was March and they were trying to make room for spring attire.

    Or, going to used / discount clothing places. Goodwill used to be a good source for collared business or casual shirts if you live in a larger city. Most of my white business shirts used to be bought at Goodwill. Just check for underarm stains, tears, etc. bleach em at home and there you go, 100% cotton no blend items (I absolutely hate synthetics) for just a couple of bucks per shirt.

    I don’t know if “Dress for Success” is still a thing, but it taught me as a college student how purchasing just a few of the right items in the right colors can save you money but keep you looking tasteful (e.g. when I worked as a legislative aide in college, I had just a couple of blazers and basic color trousers and could get enough combo for work without having to have a whole wardrobe closet of suits like in the movies).

    And finally, even though Jerry Seinfeld was joking when he said it, being gay/bi means doubling you wardrobe at times. I’ve given my BF a lot of clothes that didn’t fit me and I never wore (we have an Ernie and Bert height dynamic) but looks perfect on him!
     
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  4. thane

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  5. thane

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    Your post reminded me of shopping for a prom suit with my dad. I walked in that store and immediately saw the perfect suit. It was a shiny purple velvet abomination and it was perfect! My old man, just shook his head, and strongly suggested (you ain't buying that, forget about it) and pulled up a simple navy suit. I think that since I was spending my own money, that I had earned on my own, and since he was there in an "advisory capacity". He followed up his, "this is what you're gonna do" suggestion with an explanation. Boy, you buy classic styles and you can use them for years, not just one night. I got over 20 years of use outta that jacket....turns out the old man knew what he was about after all!
     
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  6. Lancer

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    This is some great advice. I am looking at some linen pants now and they are like 69$, too expensive. Next time, I will get them in the winter time. Save me some $ and and still retain the quality.
     
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