Understated style and basic T-shirts go hand in hand with each other, but do you know all there is to know about how to buy and wear a basic tee? Keep reading below for the low down on your perfect t-shirt.Read more Men's Style Guide features and check out our Store.
That old faithful we call the T-shirt has been working hard for us for years, taking centre stage during the summer months, and making one part of a great layering combo during the colder winter months. Though the T-shirt began its life as an underwear piece, it's fair to say it has well and truly come into its own over the years and is now a staple in every wardrobe with a simple jeans and T-shirt look being one of our most successful yet understated outfit choices.
Here we take a look at all the best plain T-shirts for men, the best T-shirt brands for men, and get the low down on high-quality T-shirts... because why would we want anything less?
Best T-Shirt Brands
Buying a T-shirt is something we very rarely put much thought in to; instead, firing a few into the online shopping basket last minute once we realise that the holes in our current collection have probably had their time now.
We don't usually pay much heed to where we buy them either, which is mistake number one, so find a brand that works for you and your shape, and stick with it. There are some great T-shirt brands out there and especially here at The Idle Man, but below we have picked a few of our favourites from high street to high end to set you off in the right direction.
Sunspel:Sunspel uses 100% Egyptian cotton and have been making tees in England for decades, therefore priding themselves on knowing a thing or two about creating one of the softest T-shirts.
Lacoste: The classic French tennis brand, Lacoste, continues to make quality T-Shirts for both on and off the court. Lacoste is without a doubt a brand that you need to have in your wardrobe
HUF: Modern skate design meet well-crafted fabric. HUF have been creating high-quality clothes since the late 80s and their commitment to bringing us affordable T-Shirts with slick designs hasn't faltered.
Only & Sons: A brand built on simple Scandinavian style and outstanding craftsmanship, Only & Sons deliver high-quality T-Shirts for a reasonable price.
The Idle Man: Well we couldn't ignore ourselves could we? Our own brand T-Shirts are affordable and incredibly well made, meaning you can afford to wear them in the pub or with a blazer at dinner.
Dickies: Dickies has been cemented in men's workwear since the 1920s. In this time they've created T-Shirts that are perfect for the every day and for your wardrobe.
Champion: The pinnacle of sportswear: Champion have been making quality sportswear since the 1910s. This passion for quality attire has spilt over into their durable T-Shirts. Think old school designs with a modern twist.
The North Face: Extreme durability personified. The North Face is a brand that knows your T-Shirts need to withstand anything. Whether you're scaling Everest or your stairs after a night out, The North Face has got you covered.
Armor Lux: Committed to providing T-Shirts that stand the test of time, Armor Lux have been creating high-quality clothing since the 1930s and show no signs of stopping either.
Soulland: Having only formed in 2002, Soulland is a newcomer to the fashion game. Their youth does not, however, mean inexperience and they continue to create fresh designed T-Shirts with incredible quality.
Best Fitting T-Shirts
The fit of a T-shirt is the single most important thing when it comes to picking your purchase; too long and baggy is not flattering no matter what your shape and size, and let's just avoid too tight tees at all costs, please.
A classic option usually falls to athletic fit T-shirts and men's fitted T-shirts that only skim the body and still leave room for movement. The bottom of the tee should skim your hip, whilst for the best-fitted T-shirts, the shape of the torso will feature a slightly tapered in the waist and a square shoulder. Sleeve length is simple; never should they be longer than half your arm, but similarly don't let them creep up too close to your shoulders guys, as a cap sleeve is not a good look. A T-shirt that we think is a classic may look good on one guy, but could completely flop on another. This is where the above point about finding a brand that works for you is key.
The aim of basics or capsule pieces is that they are timeless, versatile and relatively neutral. Other T-shirt shapes can work, however, these would be more 'fashion' or trend pieces as opposed to classics. An oversized, longline T-shirt is a little edgier and can work well if teamed with the right stuff and if it suits the wearer's natural style. It's always easy to tell if someone isn't comfortable in what they're wearing, so stay true to you and you will exude style and confidence.
Types of Necklines
The classic neckline when it comes to T-shirts is the crew. Rounded and pretty high at the collar bone, this neckline is great for the slimmer guy who wants to give off the impression of a slightly bulkier upper body and wider shoulders. A V-Neckline is another popular shape and unsurprisingly does the opposite to the crew. The v neck is perfect for the guy who wants to elongate the neck if it's a bit on the thick side or if you are slightly lacking in the height department.
Other necklines such as the scoop or deep v are less popular but still widely available, and are again more of a trend than a classic. Our advice for a confident fail-safe look is opting for one of the classic necklines above.
Best V Neck T-Shirts
Although not one of the more popular styles, V-neck t-shirts can be cool if they're worn properly. We'd recommend white V-neck t-shirts if you are going to go for this style. Marry your V-neck with a blazer and some trousers for a formal look.
Best Plain T-Shirts
Plain T-shirts are a staple in every guy's closet; they are a true capsule piece. Why do we love basic T-shirts so much? The answer is that, although basic, they go with so many different pieces and can slot in simply with almost any look if done correctly. They are so easy too...and who doesn't love easy?
Best White Tee
Is there such a thing as the perfect plain white tee? We think so! And even just owning one means you're pretty much there- it's all about styling it right. White T-shirts can often exude rugged manly style, with the likes of icons like James Dean and Steve McQueen making them popular fashion statements all on their own. This is the ultimate choice in T-shirts.
Best Basic T-Shirts
Basic tees get their name from being, well...basic. This involves subtle simple styles, plain designs, and neutral shades. Tones like black, white, grey and navy all fall into this category and are your go-to T-shirt must-haves before you even think about anything else. Bright colours and bold patterns can wait, it's all about fashion's timeless pieces.
Plain Coloured T-Shirts
Coloured T-Shirts are a wonderful thing. They have the ability to lift your outfit out of the dark and create a textured look. Below are our top choices for the coloured tee.
Types of Fabrics
It is easy to assume that T-shirts are all made from the same fabric. However, they are not and there can be a huge difference in the quality you get.
The higher the natural fibre content, the better the quality of the item. Cotton is one of the most popular natural components we see in T-shirts today, making it more breathable yet more fragile too. T-shirts like this work well under blazers and suits for a laid back luxe kind of vibe. If you're after something of great quality but a little more durable, opt for a cotton blend tee.
If it's a luxurious feel that you're after, pure cotton fabrics like Pima cotton are your best bet. This fabric has a buttery texture which is soft to the touch and feels amazing on the skin. The natural origins and baby soft feel obviously come with a hefty price tag though, so if you're not willing to shell out for a good quality T-shirt of this standard, then a cotton blend or synthetic option may be more up your street.
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