T-shirts are tough. They only complement a small percentage of men out there. While inexpensive and ubiquitous, t-shirts don’t really look good on most people. If you carry any extra weight, t-shirts will only accentuate your gut. If you’re lanky, t-shirts will just make you appear smaller. T’s are really only flattering to men with an athletic body.
And t-shirts just aren’t versatile for situations beyond the most casual. I can wear my blue oxford shirt while hanging out with friends, and I can dress it up with a blazer or suit. T-shirts are by nature only appropriate for the most informal situations.
In spite of these drawbacks, t-shirts are inevitable staples of the student wardrobe. When worn the wrong way, you can come off as childish and immature. If done right, you can look sharp. So let’s take a look at how you can make sure the t-shirts you wear look great on you. How? As with any other garment you wear, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the fit and style.
The cheapest and most widely spread t-shirts are normally cut to accommodate the largest body type. The shoulder seams hang well below the shoulder, the armholes are wide, and the body of the shirt billows away from the body and the bicep like a flag. While they fit everybody, at the same time they fit nobody. How should your t-shirt actually fit? Let’s break it down.
The shoulder seams should end at the shoulder. This accentuates and strengthens your shoulders, giving you a more masculine appearance. Any shorter and they look silly, any longer and you look like an eight year old.
The sleeves should fall about half-way down the bicep. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose, it should sort of ‘hug’ your arm. You don’t want the sleeve to cut off your circulation, but the fabric shouldn’t billow either. Higher armholes can remedy this problem.
Like the sleeves, the body of the shirt should be slim. Not so much to outline your chest and abs, but enough to that the shirt won’t hang away from your body. The length of the shirt should end right around your belt, or just below.
A few words on graphics
Like everything else you wear, the designs and graphics on your t-shirts say something about you to other people. Are the images on your shirts representative of you and the message you want to convey? Do you need to let people know you bought your shirt at Abercrombie?
I prefer to stick to the basics – solid, neutral colors (navy, gray, white) without any graphics or words. They go with everything, and their simplicity and colors are reminiscent of more formal clothing. They look like I made a conscious decision to wear it, rather than blindly pulling it from the drawer.
If you find the plain t-shirt idea a little boring, consider wearing a v-neck or a pocket tee before you seek out shirts with graphics. They’re just as classic and look just as good, if not better, than their plainer counterpart.
I know this all sounds a little tedious. They’re just t-shirts, right? But just trust me on this, and give it a shot. You’ll be surprised by how good you feel in even a fitted, sharp-looking t-shirt.
If you want some tips on how to wear a t-shirt and what to wear it with, check out this post by Jesse at Put This On. Solid advice.