It’s the simplest item in your wardrobe and yet there are so many ways you can use the t-shirt to create an effortlessly cool look.
Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, John Travolta in Grease — that rebellious ‘greaser’ look of pairing a tight-fitting tee with a pair of jeans has been a menswear staple for six decades. Wearing a T-shirt as a stand-alone outer layer, especially if you’ve got a good rig, is simple and masculine, especially pairing a white top with dark denim jeans or a navy tee with chinos.
Under a cardigan
It’s the contrast between a plain, light T-shirt and the texture of a thick knit jumper or cardigan that make this combination a reliable go-to during the winter months. Any coloured tee with a cardigan, skinny jeans, and sneakers produces a relaxed weekend outfit, while you get that same textural contrast with a leather jacket — another rebellious greaser favourite.
With a blazer
A controversial match because a jacket it so much more formal than a T-shirt, but you can pull it off with a more casual blazer — that means a soft fabric and texture — and a contrasting pair of trousers. A white tee with a tan blazer and chinos looks like a dodgy property developer, but sub in a smart pair of dark navy jeans and you’ve got yourself a solid casual Friday outfit.
Under a shirt
A powder blue button down with a plain white tee and chinos is a summer classic, a graphic tee with a heavier checked flannel gives off that grungy Kurt Cobain vibe, while you can’t go wrong by pairing a T-shirt with denim, so a chambray shirt or denim jacket works well, too.
Showing off man cleavage
You could flash your glistening pecs with a plunging v-neck T-shirt . . . but you’d be committing one of men’s fashion’s biggest faux pas. Whether it’s a mane of chest hair or some fresh ink or the result of hundreds of hours of gym work you’re so desperate to show the world, resist the urge to stray from the ever-reliable crew or raglan neck tee.