Men’s T-shirt Types and How to Wear Them
Lester Fangonilo - October 5, 2021
From the classic white tee to the basic black V-neck, today’s feature presents that there is so much more to men’s T-shirts and they’re actually one of the most versatile items in a man’s wardrobe.
Open any guy’s closet and you will find that around 70 to 80% of the tops in there are T-shirts. And why not? They’re comfortable, easy to put on, and they’re perfect for practically everything save for the most formal occasions.
While we’re all familiar with the basic white tee, men’s T-shirts actually cover a whole spectrum of tops and they are classified based on collar type, sleeve length, and even whether or not they’re plain or printed.
If you’re stumped as to men’s shirt types (and how and when to wear them), we offer this comprehensive guide to this most versatile of wardrobe staples.
The Shirt at its Most Basic: The Simple Crewneck T-shirt
The round-neck men’s T-shirt is the most classic variation on the theme of the standard tee. Also known as the crewneck, it is the most common shirt type available and is characterized by a circular neckline that fits snugly around the base of one’s neck.
While these shirts are worn by practically everyone, these actually work best on men with narrow, elongated, somewhat angular faces and sloping shoulders to produce a balanced, well-rounded look.
Also, crewnecks are great to wear with almost everything, but it’s ideal that your crewnecks are in solid colors rather than printed or patterned – it allows you to create a casually elegant look that is timeless in its appeal.
The plain white version, in particular, is so iconic. The combination of a plain white tee tucked into slim or boot-cut blue jeans evokes the rough-hewn rebelliousness of James Dean and Marlon Brando in his youth. Whether you wear the look with rugged lace-up boots or distressed sneakers, it’s a combination that works.
For a Sexy Silhouette, Consider the V-Neck
Where men’s shirt fashions are concerned, the V-necked shirt may well be the equivalent of a slinky little black dress in a woman’s wardrobe. While not quite as iconic as the crewneck, the V-neck exudes a somewhat virile masculinity in that it leaves a bit of one’s chest bare.
Aesthetically, V-necks are a great choice for guys with round faces and broad shoulders, though male celebs with a great deal of chutzpah (and an excellent physique) like Michael Fassbender and Chris Hemsworth can rock them well. V-necks, however, also have a number of guidelines you ought to consider when wearing them:
- Never buy them oversized: As a rule, V-necks need to fit snugly on your body, accentuating your shape as opposed to covering it up.
- They are dressier than crewnecks: This makes them the perfect shirt to wear beneath a blazer for a casual or informal meeting in spring or summer.
- They work nicely with tailored trousers: Unlike crewnecks, V-necks in this scenario give an outfit – particularly one worn over tailored slacks or well-cut dark denims – an easy elegance that can easily go from workstation to dinner for two at the end of the day.
- Never wear a V-neck under another V-neck: The thing about V-neck shirts is that they are great for layering – just not under another V-necked garment like a sweater or sweatshirt.
The Henley: Old School is Always Cool
Clothing historians say that the modern men’s T-shirt is a simpler take on the union shirt – a simple linen undershirt with a buttoning placket at the collar – worn by workers in the 1800s. Like modern-day denims which also evolved from workmen’s wear, the union has also evolved into what we know today as the Henley.
Also known as a Y-neck, the Henley is a fitted shirt that usually has longer sleeves than a crewneck (either ¾ length or full) with a three-button placket at the collar.
The thing about the Henley is that it’s a cold-weather shirt, better suited for fall and winter wear than in any other season. This isn’t surprising as many Henley shirts are made with linen of a thicker and heavier weave or with wool and cashmere. That said, you can wear your Henleys with good jeans (just not too wrecked) and boots, under a jacket, and even layered with a hoodie or a button-down.
Whether you opt to button it up or not is completely up to you.
With a Raglan, You’re Always Ready to Play
The raglan – a two-toned crewneck tee with ¾ or full sleeves – has long been known as the baseball shirt as, historically, it was worn by athletes during practice or warm-up.
Today, you don’t always have to be athletic to wear a raglan and they are a great option for keeping yourself warm during the colder months if you aren’t inclined to wear a Henley or a long-sleeved V-neck.
While raglans are fine to wear on their own, they are actually great for layering in a cold-weather outfit. Try wearing a raglan instead of a Henley under a puffy vest, for example, if you’re headed outdoors for the weekend. They’re also excellent as a casual Friday pick, particularly when worn beneath a bomber jacket and paired with dark trousers and a good pair of brogues.
Try a Scoop-neck for a Metrosexual Vibe
Ah, the scoop neck – guys either love it to bits or hate it with a passion. This rather trimmed take on the classic crewneck features an extra-wide neckline, which puts off most men from wearing one as it does a man no favors if their physique isn’t in the best of shape.
Another thing about scoop neck men’s T-shirts is that they are commonly made from thinner fabrics than most shirts, which makes them ideal as summer wear. In which case, you can easily wear one over a pair of board shorts and flip-flops for an easy beach-ready look. Scoop neck tees are also best a little loose and a little longer down the hem for a masculine spin on boho chic.
Also, scoop necks are also favored by those who want to exude a metrosexual vibe without their look bordering on the androgynous. Pair these with your favorite skinny jeans, a pair of well-kept Chelsea boots, and a wristwatch with a leather strap. For a more freewheeling, indie rocker vibe, keep the skinny jeans, but wear distressed kicks and chunky bohemian (but not outré) accessories like woven leather bracelets with your scoop neck. Long hair is optional.
Show Off Those Muscles with a Sleeveless Tank Top
The tank top is the ultimate in summer wear: made with cotton or an equally lightweight (and textured) synthetic. These are available with thin straps (as in the classic black or white wife-beater shirt normally worn beneath a good dress shirt), medium straps as in a basketball jersey, or even nearly covering your shoulders.
As with V-necks, it will do your look no favors if you buy and wear oversized tank tops – it just makes your outfit look cheap and slovenly. Instead, use a tank top that is cut close to the shape of your body. That said, it makes for a perfect workout top (and there are a number of tanks made with moisture-wicking material to keep you cool) and goes well with jeans, shorts, and sweatpants.
Need a T-shirt that Exudes Modern Elegance? Consider Oliver Cabell
Yes, we know that Oliver Cabell is synonymous with fantastic footwear made according to traditional Italian methods yet keeping a strong modern vibe in terms of comfort and design. But now, the brand is expanding its range to include men’s casual wear made to the same standards, ensuring that the wearer has a garment that is stylish, durable, and of exceptional quality.
Learn more at https://olivercabell.com/collections/clothing.