It doesn’t matter if you’re a finance bro or a skater guy, over the hill or underage, or more style-challenged than a style savant, every man could benefit from upgrading their arsenal of T-shirts. Take a good, hard look at your closet and ask yourself the tough questions: Do I really need to keep this tee that shrank when I tried to unsuccessfully remove mustard stains? Why do I have several concert tees and only one tattered undershirt? Will I really ever wear that itchy graphic T-shirt Uncle Dave had made for our last family cruise again? Sorry, Uncle Dave, It’s time to make room for quality shirts that cover the different types of T-shirt styles a man needs for any occasion.
The T-shirt, a collarless garment for your torso that creates a T shape when laid flat, comes in a variety of styles these days. Before you start shelling out your hard-earned money on the first tee that catches your eye (most likely a style you typically gravitate towards that’s already in your closet), take a minute to think of the types of T-shirts that would be the most beneficial additions to your wardrobe. Consider the neckline, fit, and fabric of tees that best suit your needs, as well as how they function in your everyday outfits.
T-Shirt Fit Styles
First, consider the fit you need in your tee. For undershirts, a body-skimming, compression-like fit with a longer length is ideal for your tee to go unnoticed under your shirting or knitwear, but if you’re just wearing a T-shirt under a denim jacket or on its own, there’s more flexibility in fit options. Slim-fits are considered the most flattering for showcasing your body and are preferred for layering without unwanted bulk, while oversized styles add some cool factor give your casual ‘fits. The most standard fit that’s not too loose or too slim that you’re most familiar with is usually labeled as a regular fit T-shirt.
The right fabric is crucial when selecting the perfect T-shirt for style and comfort.
No-nonsense guys tend to gravitate towards cotton tees for a few reasons: they’re relatively affordable, breathable, and easy to care for, like your typical Hanes tee. However, not all cotton tees are the same. Long-staple cotton, which refers to the length of the cotton fiber, is a superior cotton that’s stronger and has a smoother texture that feels a bit more luxurious (with a price tag to match,) like one of our favorites from Sunspel. Pima cotton, Supima cotton, and the rarest of all, Sea Island Cotton, are a few extra-long-staple cotton varieties to look out for when shopping for the best cotton T-shirts. Slub cotton also happens to be a trendy T-shirt fabric of the moment for men, adding a rugged texture to the cotton fabric, like Buck Mason’s curved hem tee.
Linen tees are a popular choice for summer. They’re extremely lightweight and tend to dry quickly, unlike cotton which tends to absorb moisture easily. Though the fabric is known to wrinkle with any movement, it’s the perfect for cool, relaxed style on the beach or poolside.
However, the modern man with an active lifestyle usually requires a blended fabric for his needs. Performance tees, from popular activewear brands like Rhone and Under Armour, usually have a blend of polyester and elastane. Polyester has moisture-wicking properties for guys who tend to sweat a lot, and elastane (or spandex) provides the extra hint of stretch to help you move with ease.
If you’re in the market for the ultimate oh-so-soft T-shirt, one that drapes along the body in an effortlessly cool way, go for a tri-blend, which consists of cotton, polyester, and silky-soft Rayon.
These days, top T-shirt brands are really experimenting with fabric blends, so never just eyeball a tee before purchasing—always read the fabric details to really know what type of shirt you’re buying.
5 Types of T-Shirt Neckline Styles
This one needs no introduction; it’s the most prevalent type of T-shirt in a man’s closet. Identified by its round, circular collar, this classic can be worn simply with a pair of well-fitting jeans for everyday wear à la James Dean and Marlon Brando, or it can be a base layer under your workwear button downs and cozy winter sweaters as a barrier for sweat protection. You’ll want one in every essential color: navy, gray, black, and white, and if you want to step outside the standard T-shirt box, a ringer tee with contrast color trimming is a great option. Depending on where and how you’re wearing your crewneck tee, you’ll need to check the fit and fabric before purchasing.
This type of T-shirt gets its name from the collar’s V shape, mostly preferred by guys who want to show a hint of skin. You’ll find V-necks to be an ideal option for undershirts as an incognito base layer, but also a great option for added sex appeal for date-night outfits. Whatever you do, skip the deep V-necks that were popular in the early aughts—no one needs to see that much skin.
Ah, the henley; there’s something inherently rugged about this T-shirt style. Also known as the Y-neck tee, the henley pairs perfectly with slim-fit cargos, casual chinos, and even your WFH sweatpants. Leave it slightly unbuttoned to show a peep of chest. This might not be the best type of T-shirt to pair with a blazer, but it’s definitely one of the best types of tees to showcase your gym gains in a ribbed fabric or slim fit. You’ll find Henleys in both short sleeve and long sleeve lengths.
Boatneck and Scoop Styles
Both of these T-shirt necklines are less common in menswear, but can be a nice addition to your wardrobe when styled well. Boatneck tees have a wide horizontal neckline you’ll mostly see on Breton striped tees, while the scoop neck has an exaggerated circular neckline for a relaxed style vibe. Neither style of T-shirt is worth buying in bulk, but if a tee is your go-to shirt, it’s fun to experiment with new neckline styles.
Now that you’ve considered all the T-shirt styles available, go on and find the type of tees that make a world of difference for cool style with maximum comfort. While you’re at it, maybe send a tee to Uncle Dave, too.
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