Why the T-Shirt Is the Soul of New York Fashion•
Posted on May 16 2020
The term ‘wardrobe staple’ is thrown around more times than a steak at a vegan party, but the humble T-shirt is one item to which it can truly be applied.
A garment that started off as strictly underwear, developed into workwear and is now a definitive style essential, you would be hard pressed to find a man who has never owned this 100-plus-year-old basic.
The T-shirt’s versatility has a great deal to do with its ability to outlast trends; it’s the only piece of clothing that can be worn for any occasion, from under a shirt, with a suit, to the gym, beach and to bed.
They are true commodities: we New Yorkers buy them in bulk, often from the same brand, and we don’t stop to think about them until they need replacing. But are we really making the most out of our basic pullover? To offer a shortcut around the hours, even days, it can take to find the perfect colour, cut and style, here is the ultimate guide to man’s real best friend.
The Perfect T-Shirt Fit
The way a T-shirt fits says a lot about its wearer. Unintentionally baggy, with sleeves flopping sadly from the shoulder and excess fabric creating a tent around your torso, gives the impression of a man who has given up. On the other hand, exploding seams and a stuffed sausage-skin fit sends the opposite message, of a man who can’t get his own reflection out of his head.
The perfect-fitting example emphasizes parts of the body you’re proudest of, without drawing attention to the areas you’re conscious of. Confused? Before trying one on, look at your naked torso in the mirror and ask yourself what your best attribute is.
Arms: Whether rolled or regular, sleeves should hit around the halfway point on your upper arm to show off your biceps and triceps.
Pecs/Shoulders: Aim for a slim-fitting style that skims through this part of the body, leaving enough room for air to circulate.
Abs/Narrow Waist: Guys with bigger chests and/or narrow waists should look for tapered cuts that don’t drape around your mid-section.
If not entirely confident of your body – a feeling that affects many of us – or nothing stands out, opt for a classic fit. Don’t oversize in an attempt to conceal the lumps or buy smaller to exaggerate others features, no matter how much you want to show off the results of that arm workout.
Equally, if you feel everything about your upper half is worth flaunting, well, first control the urge to go shirtless, then take up some of this advice that applies to all body types.
The Best T-Shirts Colours
Black, white, grey and navy; these timeless shades set the foundations of any successful capsule wardrobe. T-shirts in these colours are often classed as ‘basic’, but their ability to underpin an existing look, or serve as one all on their own, is anything but.
White: The quintessential T-shirt. For underwear, there’s no better choice, and it’s the best colour (or lack of) to combine with classic indigo jeans – see James Dean and Paul Newman for confirmation.
Grey: Jersey or grey marl is a mixture of different shades, and the final textured effect is extremely flattering – especially if searching for a T-shirt to visually enhance your body shape. That said, guys who naturally sweat a lot should tread with caution as grey will make it significantly more noticeable.
Black: Although black remains a popular shade of T-shirt, it does come with pros and cons. On a positive note, a black T-shirt offers a rebellious alternative to the classic white option. However, the colour is known to fade quickly as well as feel warmer in hot conditions.
Navy: Not always available in standard three-for-two deals or multi-packs, navy is a refined choice that does almost the same job as black but remains day-friendly due to the colour having more depth. It’s ideal for creating tonal looks when combined with denim or blue tailoring.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in style will know that there are several necklines to choose from when shopping for T-shirts v-neck or turtleneck. Yet rather than complicate a look with everything from deep-Vs (shudder) and boat necks to scooped and raw hems, it pays to stick to the classics.
V-necks naturally elongate the neck, which makes them perfect for shorter guys looking to create the illusion of height, or larger men after a slimming effect. They also provide balance to rounder or wider face shapes.
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