Men's T-Shirts - The Ultimate Guide
Every man wears t-shirts but there are certain details you need to nail in order to make them look as good as possible.
What are the different types of men's t-shirts available?
The two styles of t-shirts are crewneck and v-neck (which I don't recommend as they don't look great on every guy).
Polos are classified as a different type of shirt altogether.
What colors should I have?
Every man should have these colors to start since they pretty much go with everything.
How should I care for and wash my men's t-shirts?
In general, it is best to wash t-shirts inside-out in cold water to prevent shrinking and fading. Use a gentle detergent and avoid using bleach, as it can damage the fabric. I
t is recommended to air dry t-shirts instead of using a dryer, as excessive heat can also cause shrinkage and distressing.
What is the difference between budget and designer t-shirts?
Budget options are typically just as durable as high-end options, and they’ll all need replacing around the same time, depending on your usage, anyway.
The main difference between the two types is the material quality and, sometimes, the construction. I use both options with clients and really don't see how a $100+ t-shirt is significantly better than a $10 version unless you're especially seeking more luxurious fabrics.
The way the shirt fits will impact how it looks more than anything else.
What can I layer my t-shirt over?
I would always recommend wearing a t-shirt as your base layer (i.e. the first layer you put on) and never wear it over any other layers.
The only exception would be a thermal undershirt but this should only be in extremely cold weather and the undershirt should not be visible underneath the t-shirt.
How long should my t-shirt be?
Generally, I recommend that the bottom of your t-shirt should end near near the middle of the crotch, between the top of the button and where the crotch ends (the ^ of the legs.)*
What is the best t-shirt fabric?
My preferred fabrics for men's t-shirts are cotton, polyester, and blends of these materials.
Cotton is a popular choice due to its softness, breathability, and durability while polyester has properties and is resistant to wrinkles and shrinking. Blends of cotton and polyester offer a balance of comfort and durability, and they're generally easy to keep looking good.
What are the best brand for men's t-shirts?
My go-to brands for men's t-shirts have got to be Uniqlo and H&M, as these offer a good balance between comfort, fit, and affordability.
However, other brands I'd recommend checking out are Everlane, Arket, Sunspel, and J. Crew.
How can you determine the right size for a men's t-shirt?
I've gone into greater detail about this in the How Your T-Shirt Should Fit section below.
Should I wear t-shirts with logos or pictures?
For me, you can't go wrong with a plain neutral colored t-shirt as this is simple, timeless, and easy to pair with the other items in your wardrobe.
T-shirts with big designer logos can come across as pretty tacky and graphic tees with cartoon designs usually look pretty childish.
Sport team or band logos are fine though, provided that they're reserved for sporting events or concerts.
Anatomy of a T-Shirt
This is also known as a 'neckline'.
T-shirts come with two main types of necklines: crewneck and v-neck.
I always recommend going for a crewneck t-shirt as v-necks can be pretty difficult to pull off.
The seams where the sleeves attach to the body should ideally exactly align with where your shoulder ends.
If the seam ends too high or too low then your t-shirt is either too small or too big.
The sleeves of your t-shirt should end around the mid-bicep area.
Any shorter or longer than that can just look off.
They should lightly hug your arms.
They shouldn’t be too tight where it looks like your biceps are being strangled.
There shouldn't be any slack or room around the bicep either as this will just make your arms look smaller.
You should be able to pinch no more than two to three inches (5-7.5cm) and no less than one inch (2.5cm) on either side of your belly button.
This goes for every single body type.
The bottom of the t-shirt should hit somewhere between the upper to mid crotch (the “^” of the legs.)
The hem is the bottom portion of the t-shirt where the fabric ends.
Some t-shirts come with a curved hem but I would not recommend this.
Always go for a straight-hemmed t-shirt.
T-Shirt Mistakes Most Men Make
When it comes to t-shirts, you need to be aware of the following common mistakes:
Wearing non-crewneck t-shirts.
Your t-shirts should always have a crewneck design. V-necks don't look good on everyone, so beware.
Choosing t-shirts with logos, designs, or artwork.
These make you look like a guy who is trying too hard and doesn't know how to dress.
Exception: If you're at a sporting event or concert, in which case, feel free to wear the team's or band's apparel.
Going for tech, shiny, distressed, or faded fabrics
Always stick with cotton and cotton blends as these will not only look better but are also so much more comfortable and breathable.
Wearing t-shirts that don't fit properly.
Shirts that are too long, short, baggy, or tight in certain areas will ruin how you look. Remember; fit is everything, regardless of your age or body type.
Wearing shirts with scooped, scalloped, or elongated bottoms.
You want a plain, straight bottom hem to your t-shirts
Want to see all the mistakes to avoid specifically for your age, height, body type, and skin tone? Check out my Essential Capsule Wardrobe App.
The most stylish and versatile colors for your t-shirts are:
A white t-shirt is like the Swiss army knife of men's clothing and It will work with so many different outfit combinations.
However, be warned, your white tees will lose their brightness after multiple wears/washes.
Some dark neutral t-shirts are essential to your wardrobe.
These work great when layered underneath shirts and sweaters and when worn by themselves.
Heather gray is a classic t-shirt color.
It works really well when paired with multiple pants-and-shoe combinations.
When it comes to the fabrics of your t-shirt, you should always default to cotton and cotton blends as these always look best.
Single-digit percentages of lycra or stretch are fine but stay away from "tech" or "performance" fabrics (polyester, full lycra, and similar) because they’re too shiny and clingy and look bad on everyone when worn outside of workout or sporty activities.
Want to know more about the items that will best suit your specific height, body type, and skin tone? Check out my Essential Capsule Wardrobe App.
How a T-Shirt Should Fit
The shoulder seam ends where the shoulder starts sloping down**
Fit close to the bicep without any excess fabric.*
Pinch no more than two to three inches (5-7.5cm) and no less than one inch (2.5cm) of fabric on either side of your belly button .**
The bottom should hit near the middle, between the top button of your pants and where the crotch ends (the “^” of the legs.)*
* Cheap & easy to tailor.
** Expensive & hard to tailor. Best to find a brand that fits better here off the rack.
To learn more about how your t-shirt should fit based on your age, body type, and skin tone, simply check out my Essential Capsule Wardrobe App.
Navy shirts go well with gray, blue, or tan pants (jeans or chinos) and you can pair them with white or light gray shoes (sneakers or running shoes). If wearing jeans, you can wear them with brown boots (chukka or lace-up) as well.
Want to discover more ways to wear t-shirts for different dress codes? Check out my Essential Capsule Wardrobe App.
This outfit formula is a great go-to if you're looking for ways to dress up a t-shirt. If it's a bit colder you could swap out the chinos for some dark-wash jeans and if you want, a black t-shirt would also work instead of the white one here.
We're keeping things simple here by sticking with only two colors and notice how the brightness of the shoes compliments the white t-shirt. If you wanted to smarten this up, then you could always swap out the sneakers for a pair of loafers instead.