The 7 Best Mens T-shirts you Need in Your Wardrobe

how to wear a t-shirt mens street style

Check out this comprehensive guide to men’s T-shirts. A basic staple that every man should have in their wardrobe arsenal, and, we’re going to show you how to wear them in style. 

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When you look in your wardrobe, you’ll probably be bombarded by the number of T-shirts that you actually own. The great thing about T-shirts is that they are probably the most versatile and easily worn piece of clothing that any man can own. With a variety of colours and styles available to you, it’s easy to get a little sidetracked when you’re in the market for a fresh tee.

Over here at Idle HQ, we believe that every man should, at least, own the basics when it comes to T-shirts. White, grey, black and navy; possibly the easiest colours to team with a multitude of looks for a variety of occasions. With the ability to wear them on their own, or layer them up for a cracking spring look – no matter what the weather, the T-shirt is here to stay. Buy them in bulk or splurge just that little bit more for the best T-shirt. Either way, you can make them look stylish every time.

man wearing a white t shirt street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Best Colours for Men’s T-shirts

We only have to open our wardrobes or have a quick look online to see the amount of T-shirt colours that are available to us. The T-shirt has evolved so much that we seem to be buying more and more without really realising what we’re going to wear them with, but that’s where we come in. We’re here to narrow down those easy to wear and classic colours that you can wear time and time again without falling flat on style.

mens plain t shirts
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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White

As the old saying goes, you can’t beat the classics. We think that’s it, anyway. This is particularly the case with the classic white T-shirt. When we saw Marlon Brando sport that white T-shirt in A Street Car Named Desire, we instantly saw the plain fitted white T-shirt as a classic piece of menswear that will forever be a stylish mainstay in every man’s wardrobe, especially mine.

How To Wear A White T-shirt

When you’re wearing a classic white T-shirt you have opened yourself, and your wardrobe, up to a plethora of looks and different outfits available to you. Throw over a blue denim jacket and a pair of black jeans. This creates a simple yet stylish look that will make a ‘casual’ look even better.

how to wear a white t-shirt mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How To Wear A Grey T-shirt

Grey is another great base layer to work around. With all of the varying shades of grey (no pun intended) available to you, you can easily pull a cracking stylish look together with ease. Match it with a pair of light blue denim jeans. These offer a versatile and stylish look instantly – team your tee and jeans with a pair of casual shoes or trainers for a casual and stylish look this season.

Mens grey t-shirt street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How To Wear A Navy T-shirt

With slightly deeper tones than black, yet still dark enough to team a multitude of looks with, a simple navy T-shirt will be a great addition to your spring wardrobe. You can always wear a T-shirt with a suit as it offers a great casual alternative to a formal shirt. Take your navy T-shirt and team it with a lighter coloured suit jacket. Add this with a pair of chinos in the same tone as your T-shirt. This creates a look that can pass for something formal, yet is still casual enough to wear during the day.

how to wear a navy t-shirt mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How To Wear A Black T-shirt

A black t-shirt is probably the most worn item in a man’s wardrobe, with so many outfits to style it with. For this one, try going for a tonal look. It’s bang on trend and always stylish whilst offering an understated and classic look to your everyday wardrobe. Team a pair of black slim legged jeans with some high top trainers. This look perfectly incorporates style and comfort for the season. Finish your all-black look with a black denim jacket.

how to wear a black t-shirt mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Colour

Don’t be fearful of colour at any time of the year. We’re creatures of habit and tend to revert back to the same plain T-shirts that we always wear. We’re here to tell you that you don’t always have to wear that plain white T-shirt every day (which probably has no end of holes in it). Mix it up a little bit and add a splash of colour in there.

how to wear a coloured t shirt for men
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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Pattern

A patterned T-shirt is another item that many men choose to avoid. Over the years the printed T-shirt has had a little bit of a bad wrap – we’ve discarded it as a stylish piece to own as we’ve seen some pretty horrendous pieces over the years. I think we’d all like to forget those particularly hideous Ed Hardy T-shirts that seemed to plague us for a few years in the mid-noughties. However, if you are looking at a pattern, then the trick is to not go too overboard, you’ll want to keep it subtle and simple.

man wearing a denim jacket and a striped shirt street style
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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Long Sleeved T-shirts

Long-sleeved T-shirts are a great alternative to the short sleeved version when the weather isn’t at its warmest. The same rules apply when you’re looking at a long sleeved T-shirt – make sure the fit is correct, and, when in doubt, always go for the classic basics, as these will be versatile and easier to team with a variety of looks. However, if you do want to go for something more detailed, then why not go for a classic and timeless striped version. With roots in the dockyards of France, the striped, or Breton T-shirt as it’s known, is a classic and versatile piece to have in your wardrobe.

man in striped T-shirt and black coat
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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How To Dress Up A T-shirt

The idea of dressing up a T-shirt may baffle many of you, but I’m here to tell you that you can easily pull off wearing a T-shirt with a more formal look no matter what the season. The trick is to keep your T-shirt underneath as a neutral base layer. For instance, take a simple, plain white T-shirt and team it with a pair of navy suit trousers with the T-shirt tucked in. Throw on a navy suit blazer and a pair of brown penny loafers, or, you can tackle one of this season’s biggest trends- mixing formal with casual by wearing a pair of white trainers.

Throw on a pair of classic white trainers. Go for a simple style that surpasses trends and colour, and you should probably avoid wearing a pair of high tops as well, especially if you’re going for a more formal look. This is a spot on look for the office or a casual dinner out, so the choice is yours. Go for a classic look with the penny loafers, or go for something a little more modern with the trainers.

How A T-shirt Should Fit

Whenever you’re buying clothes it’s important to know exactly what size you are. This, in the long run, will save you a lot of time, effort and a little bit of heartache when looking at new clobber. There is nothing more frustrating than a size medium t-shirt fitting like a crop top. The saying ‘try before you buy’ rings very true here.

If you’re buying a simple, classically fitted T-shirt (which most of us do), it’s important that you measure across your chest. This is how most high street shops and retailers measure their clothes. For instance, if you measure 40 inches across your chest, you will be a medium size or above in upper body clothes.

How It Should Fit:

  • Arms
    • The sleeves of your T-shirt should be midway between your shoulder and elbow.
    • This gives you plenty of coverage on your arm, especially if you’ve skipped arm day, and it allows you to roll the sleeves up a little bit if you want.
  • Chest
    • If you’re not after a skin tight T-shirt (which many of us aren’t) then go for a T-shirt that easily skims over your chest.
    • Avoid constricting T-shirts. This is mainly for comfort and ease of wear more than anything.
  • Body
    • A classic T-shirt should finish at the top of your hips.
    • You don’t want anything too constricting, so go for a T-shirt that skims over your whole body.
    • If you’re bigger then you’ll probably want to avoid slimmer fitted cuts as they’re designed to be more form fitting and will only highlight your problem areas.

What seems to throw most men is the slim fit or fitted T-shirt. These are clothes that are designed and made to be more form fitting to your body. So, if you find the best T-shirt you have ever found, and it’s in a slim fit, then I’d suggest going up one, or maybe even two sizes.

The Different Neck Types

As you can probably tell, there are a lot of different styles of T-shirt out there to choose from, and picking the right one is key to knowing your own personal style. Many of you out there will always opt for the classic crew neck T-shirt, but there are other options out there for you to choose from.

Crew Neck

This is most classic T-shirt neck going, well, it is the original. You’ll often find that most T-shirts will come with a crew neck. This means that the neckline is a simple oval shape on the neck, sitting higher than styles such as the O-neck or V-neck.

mens black crew neck t shirt

O-Neck

An O-neck T-shirt is slightly different to the classic crew neck. When the fabric is cut, they simply create a circular shape for the neck – this is a slightly deeper and more rounded neck to opt for when picking out a T-shirt.

mens black o neck t shirt

V-Neck

There has been some debate over the years about V-neck T-shirts. We have all seen various reality television shows where men with certain muscular physiques opt to wear a deepened V-neck T-shirt to show off their somewhat impressive pecs and chest. Now, I’m not advocating that you go and sport this style of tee, but a smaller, more simple V-neck T-shirt can work for you just as well as a crew or O-neck T-shirt.

mens black v neck t shirt

The Different Types of T-shirts

With an amount of T-shirts available to you, it’s no wonder why we can all get a little confused when we want to buy a simple T-shirt. I know only too well the trials and tribulations of scrolling through page after page on different menswear sites trying to find a simple white T-shirt, or the best-fitted T-shirt. Over the years, as we’ve seen, the T-shirt has had a few transformations, especially during the 80’s when neon, for some reason, was a big thing and men liked to wear a cropped version of the classic tee. I’m not condoning that you go out and buy a cropped T-shirt, but mixing things up a little bit doesn’t hurt from time to time.

Longline Fit T-shirt

The long line trend has been around for a few seasons now, and we can’t see it going anywhere over here at Idle HQ. What long line means is that the hem of your T-shirt sits a lot lower on the body than a regular fitted T-shirt would do. You’ll often see that, sometimes, only the back of your T-shirt will have an elongated hem, this just adds detail and a different look to your T-shirt, without going too overboard.

longline t-shirt mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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Regular Fit T-shirt

As the old saying goes, nothing beats the classics. If you’re after a simple, plain and classically fitted T-shirt, then go for a regular fit. A regular fitted T-shirt is a great option when it comes to the best-fitted T-shirts as they will be a more versatile and an easier to wear option when it comes to your T-shirt selection. The T-shirt itself should skim over your body, giving you room to manoeuvre around. The hem should sit no lower than the top of your hips as you’ll be into oversized territory if it sits any lower before you know it.

how a t-shirt should fit white t-shirt mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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Fabric Choice

Many of you have probably not thought about fabric choice before, but it may be a defining reason for you to buy a T-shirt. Cotton may be the obvious choice here, but as we all know with our bed sheets, the pricier the cotton than the pricier the bedding. T-shirts are exactly the same. Depending on where you’re shopping, and the price variants, you can always immediately make a judgement on the quality of the fabric.

If you can afford it, go for a T-shirt that is made from Egyptian cotton, or made from 100% cotton. This gives you a softer, lighter feel to your T-shirt, allowing your skin to breathe and generally giving an airy feel to your T-shirt.

egyptian cotton material
PHOTO CREDIT: NY Fashion Fabric Centre

I’m not saying that you should go out and spend a mortgage payment on a T-shirt, believe me, I’ve been known to crawl the sections of shops where T-shirts, at their most expensive, were probably about £3, and they have been some of the best T-shirts I’ve owned.

If you’re looking at T-shirts at a cheaper price point, then you’ll see that they are made of more materials other than cotton. Even though their base material may be cotton, you’ll find that they can be a blend of cotton-polyester or maybe even elastane. These may sound a little off-putting, but the upside to them is that they crease less (no more ironing!)

cotton blend blue material
PHOTO CREDIT: Snap Deal

Best T-shirts for Men

Best Black T-shirts

Black is one of the best plain t-shirts as, thanks to its versatility, you’re able to team it with just about everything. From day to night and from casual to smart casual. Here are the best.

best black t-shirts for men
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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Best White T-shirts for Men

If you’re adding more white to your wardrobe, you’ll be wanting the best men’s white t-shirts and the best white t-shirt brands. Look no further. These include fitted, loose, short and long sleeved. The possibilities are endless.

best white t-shirts for men
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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Best Grey T-shirts

You’ll need to fork out a little bit more for the best quality T-shirts for men, but these will last a good few months, maybe even a few years depending on how you take care of it. Their versatility can take you through all seasons.

best grey t-shirts for men
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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History Of The T-shirt

T-shirts have been around for over 100 years. Their lightweight and inexpensive material meant that they were easy to clean and were light enough to be worn as a layered piece. They were first seen during the Spanish-American war when soldiers would wear them as an undergarment to their uniform, as they were a lightweight alternative to most undergarments of the time. In 1913 the U.S. Military issued them as part of their uniform, again to be worn as an undergarment, and to be worn when the soldiers were off duty and didn’t have to wear their full uniform.

men in the army wearing t shirts

The word ‘T-shirt’ became part of the English language during the 1920’s and even appeared in the dictionary. After World War II, soldiers could be seen wearing T-shirts with their uniformed trousers on their off days, and as casual alternative to their full uniform. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when Marlon Brando wore a white T-shirt in the film A Streetcar Named Desire, that people started seeing T-shirts as general outwear and fashionable clothing. Children of the time would wear T-shirts to play outside and do general chores in.

marlon brando wearing a t shirt in a street car named desire

Nowadays, the T-shirt has become a classic staple for every man’s wardrobe. We have seen our fair share of remakes and models over the years, but what we can all agree on is that nothing beats the classic crew-neck in a basic colour. Perfect on their own or as a layering piece, they’re here to stay, and we at Idle HQ couldn’t be happier.

Best Men’s T-shirts

  • The best and most versatile colours for a t-shirt are black, white, navy, grey. These shades can be added into most outfits with ease.
  • Add a pop of colour to your look by opting for a coloured t-shirt, either with a print or a block colour.
  • There’s three types of neck fit: V, O and crew neck.
  • There are several types of t-shirt fits, longline, regular, slim, fitted and loose. They can all be styled similarly.
best t-shirts for men
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

On That Note

T-shirts are a classic menswear mainstay. They have the ability to take you from a casual to a formal setting with just a few simple tweaks to your look. Layer them up for a spot on spring look, or wear them on their own during the warmer months for a classic and casual look that’s perfect no matter what.

Whether you’ve spent a months rent on a T-shirt or crawled the sales rack for the perfect one, you can always style one out every season without fail. Stick with classic colours and styles if you’re after a more timeless look, or go more adventurous with patterns and style if you want to experiment a little bit. Either way, you can be looking stylish in your tee in no time.

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