Designed and donned in the early 1800s, the T-shirt has come a long way since then. What used to be a buttoned-down undergarment was popularized by the United States Navy by issuing one for every sailor to wear beneath his uniform. Since then, the T-shirt evolved into a fashion statement and took on new forms to make it suitable for new occasions. Society’s attitude towards T-shirts has evolved with them--we’ve come to embrace T-shirt styles for men for more than just comfort. Pairing the right T-shirt with the right outfit and occasion can be the difference between sloppy and sexy; careless and casual-chic.
Let’s go over some of the most common T-shirt styles for men, how to pick the best of the bunch, and how to wear them with comfort and style.
Related: The Story of a Classic T-Shirt.
Crew Neck or Classic T-Shirt
The most famous of T-shirts styles are crew necks, also known as classic T-shirts. These are T-shirts with a round circular neck. They provide excellent flexibility in that they can be worn as undergarments or standalone pieces.
T-shirts worn as undergarments should fit comfortably snug to your body so that your other clothes fit to your body rather than your clothes. High quality T-shirts are best suited for this because the fabric of high quality T-shirts is thinner and more breathable. So while the T-shirt clings closer to you, you’re not suffocating in it. In fact, it might not even feel like you’re wearing anything at all!
As a standalone piece, a classic T-shirt will accentuate the natural look and form of your body. A plain black T-shirt tends to make people look more thin, whereas a white T-shirt will tend to make your trunk seem a bit bulkier. Neutral colored T-shirts tend to look great with all skin tones and body types, but when it comes to the workplace or slightly less casual events, darker tends to be a safer option.
Tucking in your T-shirt is a matter of personal preference, and both styles are rocked by men of all ages. If your T-shirt is fitting a bit loose, tucking it in can be the perfect adjustment. On the other hand, if your pants aren’t as loose as your shirt, you might want to leave it untucked to even out your frame.
Related: Classic T-Shirts to Wear With Jeans.
V-necks are T-shirts where the neck is shaped like the letter V. These T-shirts work well to slim down your physique, make you look taller, or to make large shoulders look more proportioned.
The V-neck should fit just the same as the classic T-shirt, and it’s important that your V-neck is a high quality T-shirt for the same reasons. However, V-necks may feel like they fit differently because they don’t come up to your neck. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to V-neck fits to your shoulders. The neckline should never be lower than your armpits.
Many men prefer wearing V-necks as undergarments because they stay more hidden than classic T-shirts. Other men love V-necks as standalone pieces because they accentuate their physique so well, or because they look great just as they are! Some men are also rocking a suit with a V-neck, check out our guide on how to rock a suit with a V-neck to learn more.
First time considering a V-neck? Not sure about pulling off a V-neck? Try going with a more shallow collar.
Y-neck or Henley
Y-necks are more commonly known as Henley T-shirts, and they’re a mix of crew neck and V-neck designs. These shirts got their name from being the traditional uniforms of rowers from an English town called Henley-on-Thames. Most Y-necks will come with buttons that run down the ‘V’ area of the T-shirt. Henleys usually have around 2-5 button, and you can wear them as short or long sleeves.
According to Cassandra Campa, founder of Next Level Wardrobe, the Henley complements well to any body type and can accentuate features to make you appear more toned and slimmer. With that in mind, if you’re looking for something casual but sleek at the same time, then the Y-neck is a solid option for you.
Related: The Evolution of the Classic T-Shirt
Polo T-shirts are the answer to T-Shirts sometimes being a bit too casual. Polo T-shirts became famous when golfers started wearing them to give them a more professional look during their games.
Tennis players also enjoy polo shirts as well because their high quality fabric can absorb sweat while maintaining a sophisticated appearance for the game. It’s now used universally as a more “formal” T-shirt that looks best on a lean body frame.
Scoop necks are similar to crew neck T-shirts, where the round neckline is bigger and hangs slightly below the collarbone. The scoop neck can be tricky because wearing the wrong size can lead to fashion suicide. With this type of style, you have to know yourself really well. If not, then it’s advisable to try out the T-shirt before making a purchase. If worn correctly, a scoop neck gives off a more casual and rugged look compared to other necklines.
Raglan sleeves can also be categorized as long sleeve T-shirts, and are sometimes known as baseball players T-shirts. The sleeves are attached to the T- Shirt using a diagonal seam rather than the more traditional up and down the straight seam, giving the Raglan T-shirt the distinctive look that it’s known for.
The Raglan T-shirt style is named after British Army Officer Lord Raglan, who wore a coat with a sleeve cut so that he could have a greater range of arm movement to use his sword in battle. Sadly, Lord Raglan lost his arm in the battle of Waterloo, but he was known for wearing a stylish coat with long, angle-cut sleeves, which have since inspired the creation of the Raglan sleeve T-shirt.
Sleeveless T-shirts are especially popular when it’s hot! Also known as tank tops, you’ll probably see them on bodybuilders and athletes looking to show off their arms. Sleeveless T-shirts go well with rugged jeans cargo shorts or athletic shorts for an athletic and adventurous appearance. But even if you’ve got something to show, it’s usually not a good idea to wear a sleeveless shirt to work or on a date. You can show off more subtly with a black V-neck.
Cap sleeves are almost like regular crew neck T-shirts but have their sleeves extending just below the shoulder. It can help create a more V-shaped silhouette for the wearer and is a popular T-shirt seen in streetwear fashion. If you have masculine biceps and triceps that you want to show off, then cap sleeves can help accentuate those features, but make sure your arms have enough room to breathe or the sleeves might irritate your underarms.
Related: Premium T-Shirts - Back to Basics
Long sleeve T-shirts are as the name suggests,T-shirts with their sleeves extended to cover the entire arm up to the wrist. These shirts combine the casual and comfortable feel of a T-shirt with the full covering of a business/dress shirt. You see these shirts more often in the Fall and Winter as temperatures drop, but high quality T-shirts made of cotton are also a great way to beat the heat in the summer (find out how.).
When it gets especially cold, long sleeve T-shirts are great for layering. The breathability of 100% organic cotton helps your body regulate temperatures more comfortably than other fabrics. It’s also the perfect thing to wear under your coziest sweaters so that they won’t make you itch!
With T-shirts, the cut and fit can result in a drastically different style. That’s where slim fit T-shirts come in. This style is made for the T-shirt to hug your body, which really shows off your figure. Slim fit T-shirts are also often used as undershirts due to their clingy nature and work well under jackets or pullovers.This is definitely a great T-shirt to wear under professional attire, so that everything you wear on top of it fits well to your body instead of your undergarments. As a standalone piece, slim fit T-shirts accentuate your muscles and body features to give you a very sharp and confident look.
Muscle T-shirts take the slim fit T-shirts to the next level. This style is designed to accentuate every part of the torso by hugging closely to the pecs, abs, arms, and shoulders. Gym rats love wearing these when out and about as there’s no better way to show off those massive deltoids. They’re also popular as undergarments, which allow clothes to fit well to your body without trapping too much heat. However, if you want optimal protection and moisture control out of an undergarment, it’s best to wear a high quality T-shirt made with organic cotton.
Longline T-shirts gained popularity from skate brands and slowly made its way into modern streetwear from there. It’s a crew neck T-shirt with a long hemline that stretches to slightly above the knees and rests on the lower thighs. For style, longline T-shirts are typically worn with baggy jeans, baseball cap, and sneakers. Wearing a longline T-shirt would probably not be your best look for a date or professional setting, but it can be a comfortable T-shirt to wear around the house.
Related: Why Wear Organic Cotton T-Shirts?
Hooded T-shirts are common with athleisure outfits, and are perfect for the gym, to wear as pajamas, or to travel in. They can give off a sophisticated but casual look if worn with the right pants. A hooded T-shirt is great during the fall and winter seasons. It will keep you comfortable and it’s easy to layer with other clothes.
Graphic T- shirts come in many shapes and sizes, including all of aforementioned necklines. Any T-shirt with a graphic print on it is considered a graphic T-shirt. The graphic T-shirt was first used in the original Wizard of Oz movie. They are great for showing off your personality and interests, but best worn in very casual settings.
Pocket T-shirts live up to their name; typically featuring a single pocket on the left breast. They started to gain popularity in World War II and usually come in simple, unicolor designs, or in styles where the pocket itself is a different color or pattern from the rest of the T-shirt. Some like pocket T-shirts for utility, others for style.
Which Styles are Right For You?
There are a lot of different types of T-shirts to choose from, but we’d be happy to narrow it down to the two most versatile and stylish types: the crew neck and V-neck T-shirts. These T-shirts are great to wear as undergarments, layering pieces, or as standalone pieces that make you look your best.
The best T-shirts are made of 100% organic cotton, which will feel soft and smooth to the touch. When you wear them, the cotton should feel like it “breathes” well. This means if you decide to wear your classic T-shirt as an undergarment, it will do a good job protecting outer layers of clothing from sweat and deodorant. Lower quality crew necks don’t perform as well because of the plastics they’re made of or chemicals they’re treated with, so it’s best to invest in high quality classic T-shirts.
Not all high quality T-shirts are preshrunk, but ideally you want to find ones that are preshrunk so that your T-shirt maintains its perfect fit wash after wash.
At The Classic T-Shirt Company, we offer timeless pieces that are high-quality T-shirts, preshrunk and made of 100% organic cotton. Lightweight, breathable, durable, these T- shirts are our go-to for gifts, whether to yourself or someone you care about. They come with free two-day shipping and free returns. Our classic T-shirts are sure to become your favorite T-shirts!
Related: Premium T-Shirts — Back to Basics.
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