A crisp white t-shirt is the ultimate style staple. Now, the dapper crowd may disagree with us, but screw them. They can have their fancy suits and ties, but we'll take our jeans and white t-shirt any damned day of the week. Also, science says that a good white tee makes a man more attractive. So, it’s here that I’ll make my case for the classic white t-shirt being the most important style staple a man can own.
Let us backtrack a little bit and give you a history lesson. The classic white tee started out as underwear. I know, that’s hard to believe since it’s a common outerwear piece these days, but it’s true. Then, the US Navy began to issue them as an undergarment in the early 20th century. This is a common theme that most people don’t know about – a lot of the things we wear today were adopted from military attire.
However, if we are going to give credit to anyone for the unanimous love of all things white tee – the credit goes to Hollywood and actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean. Shit, we can give them credit for denim becoming such an American style staple as well. The truth is before they wore them on the silver screen in the 50’s our most coveted style items were primarily work wear
The history of blue jeans and white t-shirts gives us keen insight into why they are so timelessly cool. Their roots are in functionality, but over time they’ve become loved for being both utilitarian and stylish. They’re unassuming, yet they aren’t boring if worn correctly.
Fit is very important. So many dudes get this wrong. You don’t want a baggy t-shirt because then you’ll look like Nelly circa 2001. You don’t want to wear an extremely tight t-shirt and look like one of the morons from the worst show in history– Jersey Shore. You need to go right down the middle when selecting fit. Here’s are the things you want to look at:
Shoulder Seam:The seams on either side of the shirt that attach the sleeve to the body should line up perfectly with your shoulders.
Sleeve Length:If they’re too long it looks sloppy, if they are too short you look like a meathead. The best length should fall around the midway point between your elbow and your shoulder.
Body Length: The length of your t-shirt is also important. You down want to wear a belly shirt and you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a nighty either. The ideal length would be an inch or two lower than your waist, so that the bottom of the shirt covers the top of our pant pockets.
Timing is Everything
A huge mistake that guys make is wearing the wrong items at the wrong time. It’s important to know what type of clothing is acceptable in any given situation (People have written entire books on this, so we aren’t going to break it all down right now). In this post, it’s easiest to tell you what dress codes would not permit you to wear a t-shirt.
- White Tie
- Black Tire
- Semi Formal
- Business Casual
Also, don’t wear a t-shirt on a first date, man. People notice when you put a little extra effort in and look put together. First impressions count.
Basically, if the dress code is any of these situations listed above, you shouldn’t wear a t-shirt unless you want to look like a sloppy mess. A casual dress code is pretty much the only one where it’s acceptable to wear a t-shirt, but the good thing is that most people aren’t going to stuffy formal events every day. Most days are casual
What to Wear it With
Almost anything. That’s why a simple white t-shirt is so awesome. It goes with almost any color bottom you can imagine. We recommend pairing it with a pair of dark blue raw denim, but you can also pair a white tee with washed denim, black denim, light and dark chinos, shorts, or even sweatpants.
The white t-shirt also makes for a great layering piece. You can wear it underneath a button down shirt or jacket. Basically, there aren’t many casual clothing items that you can’t pair with a white t-shirt. That’s why it’s the ultimate style staple.
The white t-shirt is timeless, understated, and worth stocking up on. However, you should be mindful of when you’re wearing it, how it fits, and what you wear it with.