How To Wear a White T-Shirt & Look Stylish

How To Wear a White T-Shirt & Look Stylish
A white men's t-shirt is the staple item you can never own enough of. To what our Editors consider a key piece for your wardrobe, we have curated the definitive guide on how to get the most out of it, and alternatively how to wear the plain white T-shirt while looking stylish. Read more Men's Style Guide features and check out our store shopthelook

How to Wear Plain White T-Shirts

If you can pull off a white t-shirt in the classic style, then you can pull it off in any style. We say classic, as iconic film stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando have rocked the simple look of a well fitted white T-shirt and trousers, and are often named after historical style icons. So what's so special about it? Well, it's actually been proven that women find men more attractive in a fitted white T-shirt, as it helps give them the typically masculine silhouette of board shoulders and a narrow waist. So essentially if you're built and muscled, wear a white T-shirt, if you're skinny, wear a white T-shirt, and if you've packed on a few pounds, well, you get the point.
mens classic t-shirt james dean
James Dean always favoured a white T-shirt and jeans

How to Wear Crew Neck White T-Shirt

Plain White T-Shirt & Bomber Jacket

Nothing is more classic than the crew neck detailing. Utterly timeless, and easy to layer without looking out of place - the crew neck is on of the key details to any staple white t-shirt. Whether you go for skinny fit or slim fit, the crew neck will always look great with a jacket or a shirt. For this season, we love pairing our classic white crew neck t-shirts with the seasonal bomber jacket. Keeping the collars of the t-shirt and jacket symmetrical, this look can work for any occasion. Easy to wear and to transition from the day to Friday night drinks, this has become an effortless look for the year.
bag editorial mens the idle man
A man wears a white T-shirt with black jeans and a suede jacket

How to Wear Crew Neck White T-Shirt

Plain White T-Shirt & Blazer

For the opposite side of the style spectrum, you can veer away the alternative look, and go for a lighter, more put together look, inspired by the American prep style. To achieve this, simply switch your bomber for a tweed (or if the weather is hot) a linen blazer. For us, it's a no-brainer, especially when thrown together with a pair of chinos. The look is timeless, and can easily be spruced up with a contemporary touch. Instead of typically going for your best shoes, switch your footwear options around and opt for a minimalist trainer.
A man wearing sunglasses, a black blazer and a white T-shirt


How to Wear Crew Neck White T-Shirt in the Summer

Plain White T-Shirt & Chinos

For a summer look, you can go a little simpler with your outfit, making sure not to neglect the accessories that can help pull everything together. Grab a pair of shorts, either tailored cotton or slim fit denim, and tuck your trusty T-shirt into it. Finish off with some white plimsolls and some light-weight sunglasses to achieve a summery vibe to your classic, put together look.
A man wearing a white T-shirt and white shorts


How to Wear Men's Printed White T-Shirts

If keeping it simple is too much of a dud, then switch your plain white t-shirt with something a little more, patterned? At The Idle Man, our favourite way to add a bit of detail is with the classic white striped t-shirt. Easy to pair with your classic jean or your favourite pair of chinos, playing around with your look has never been easier, especially if you want to have a go at the double denim.
Oliver cheshire and Pixie Lott in Cannes
Oliver Cheshire wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans


How to Wear White Long T-Shirts

Plain White Long T-Shirt & Jacket

If the basic T-shirt length isn't for you, especially when it comes to comfort, opt for a classic white long line T-shirt. Famously worn by Yeezy, a longline white t-shirt can be mixed with a range of looks - especially when you want to take a dip into trends. Our very own Editor's favourite is the sports-luxe look, which is effortlessly cool and collected. Easy-going and to throw on in the morning rush, layer your white longlined T-shirt with either a bomber or mac, depending on your own preferences. Then complete the look with a classic black jean and a statement trainer.
man in white t shirt and long coat street style
A man wearing a white T-shirt and a long coat
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest 

Picking the Fit of Your White T-Shirt

First of all, if you're going for something as simplistic as a crew neck T-shirt and trousers, then the T-shirt has to fit perfectly. Here are some rules to the perfect fitting top;
  • Your T-shirt should be long enough to fit into your trousers, but not so long that there's a lot of bunching. A general rule is that it should be longer than your hip bone, but cover your waistband.
  • It's got to fit properly around the neck, meaning that when you lift your arms there isn't a huge gap around the neck, but it's not so tight that you can't move around easily.
  • The sleeves shouldn't be longer than your elbow and should be fitted around the arms.
  • Your T-shirt shouldn't too loose or tight. If you can see every detail of your stomach, it's too tight. If you can't even see the shape of your body then it's too loose.
  • Your top shouldn't fall straight down and should follow the curve of your body a little.

Washing Your Best White T-Shirt

It sounds easy enough, but how many times have you taken out your washing and found your T-shirt is closer to yellow, grey or blue? Your classic look isn't going to have the same impact if you're wearing a T-shirt that's clearly seen better days. If your top is looking a little worse for wear colour wise, here's some tips to get your T-shirts sparkling white again.
  • Always wash your white clothes together. Don't mix colours.
  • You can add washing soda, oxygen bleach or borax to your white wash to boost the efficiency of your detergent.
  • For tough stains mix a little bleach and water together and leave your top to soak. Then rinse with cold water and leave to dry. How much bleach you use depends on the guidelines on the bottle.
  •  Lemon juice can help brighten whites, so you can mix a little into your white wash. Dry your clothes under direct sunlight as the ultraviolet rays will help brighten your whites.
green bomber white tshirt mens street style
Pair a white T-shirt with blue jeans and a green jacket

How to Wear a White T-Shirt

  • Always make sure you know your fit, it can make a whole lot of a difference to your outfit if your plain white T-shirt is too baggy, or too small.
  • Classic Crew Neck is your go-to basic T-shirt.
  • You can never have too many - consider it a timeless essential to your wardrobe.
  • Easy to layer or to be worn alone throughout the year.
  • Cheap men's T-shirts don't last long, invest a little more for quality and longevity.
  • Always be aware when washing and follow instructions.
white t-shirt black chinos mens street style
A man in chinos and a white T-shirt

On That Note

From this guide, you should be able to see that the humble T-shirt has endless possibilities when it comes to dressing it up and down. You can rock the simple, classic style beloved by Hollywood icons, the alternative, rough yet slick look, or the smart and light preppy style. So whatever your look, don't forget to keep your T-shirts in perfect condition so you can look your best in any situation. For something seemingly so simple, sourcing the perfect white crew neck T-shirt can be a massively stressful ball-ache. There's nearly always something wrong with it: huge neck, too short in the body, enormous sleeves, etc. Whatever it is, you'll undoubtedly find yourself working your way through reams of them trying to find the right one and often ending up both disappointed and out-of-pocket. And then there's the hassle of trying to style it. Keep it too simple and there's the risk of having a seriously dull outfit, but go too overboard and your fitted T-shirt will be drowned out by a mass of colours and patterns. However, getting the balance right is worth it, and there is a range of styles you can rock with his versatile piece, so read on for our guide on pulling off this wardrobe staple.


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