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.
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 the best t-shirts for men.
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.
Whether rolled or regular, sleeves should hit around the halfway point on your upper arm to show off your biceps and triceps.
Aim for a slim-fitting style that skims through this part of the body, leaving enough room for air to circulate.
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.
- A Short sleeve t shirt 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.
The Best T-Shirt Colours
When it comes to the best t-shirts for men, cover all your bases with these fundamental colors. Rather than just sticking to a single shade, branch out and try to fill your drawers with t-shirts in a range of colors to match any outfit or occasion.
Black, white, grey and navy; these timeless shades set the foundations of any successful capsule wardrobe. These t-shirts are often classed as ‘basic colors’, but their ability to underpin an existing look, or serve as one all on their own, is anything but.
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.
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.
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.
Coloued T-shirts for men with fair skin
Coloured T-shirts for men with 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.
Coloured T-shirts for men with 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.
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 classic crew neck tee.
V-neck T-shirts 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.
Most men tend to favour thicker fabric 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 every simple T-shirt 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 in a premium tee.
Where To Buy The Best T-Shirts For Men
A high-quality men’s T-shirt in a great fit will slot seamlessly into your existing wardrobe and you’ll get good use for years to come.
Whether yours comes in a three-pack from the high street or you splurged on a designer take, it’s important to remember that a high price tag doesn’t always guarantee high quality. Therefore, it pays to know the best t-shirts for men in each price bracket.
Key Brands: Uniqlo, H&M, J.Crew, Mango
Key Brands: James Perse, Sunspel, Club Monaco, NN07
Key Brands: Acne Studios, Aspesi, Camoshita, A.P.C.