Tips for Finding the Best White T-shirt for Men

Lester Fangonilo - October 5, 2021


The basic white tee is considered one of the most iconic garments for men and, along with good trousers, jeans, and shoes, is a foundation piece for any man’s wardrobe. So how does one choose the right white to buy? Read on to find out.

It’s a shirt that is anything but basic: the Oliver Cabell Crewneck Tee in white serves as an excellent foundation piece or a top in its own right - perfect for any guy’s wardrobe.

Ah, the basic white t-shirt: it’s one piece of clothing no one - man or woman - ought to be without in their wardrobes. 

Made iconic by the likes of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and Marlon Brando in The Wild One, white t-shirts for men are considered the epitome of modern masculinity. It’s what a guy wears when he wants to say “I follow my own path. I choose to do what’s right - and comfortable - for me.”

That said, it isn’t surprising that it serves as both a primary top for casual wear as well as a foundation garment to be worn under more formal clothing on special occasions. But, with all that said, how does one choose the best white t-shirt for men?

We present a fairly comprehensive guide as to how to make the right selection of the perfect white tee.

In the First Place, Why Should You Stock on White T-shirts?

Before you head out to buy a white T-shirt, let’s first look at the reasons why you should have at least one white T-shirt in your wardrobe:

A white tee goes well with just about everything - and goes just about anywhere

From faded blue jeans to elegantly tailored chinos, from board shorts to cargo pants, you can't go wrong with a white T-shirt as it goes along with all of them. It's also a great thing to wear for any occasion save for the most formal ones: from a trip to the beach to Casual Friday at the office, date night, and even a night out with the guys, it just works.

Perfection is all about simplicity

Want the perfect casual look? Go with a white T-shirt. It's a shirt you can just pull on - and especially if it's well-made and suits your body type - can make you look very good.

White is all about serenity and calm masculinity

The color of your T-shirt - and whatever is printed on it - says a lot about your personality. Colored shirts tend to say that the person wearing them is laid-back (blue), exuberant (orange), or volatile (red.) 

Black t-shirts have been so entwined with the heavy metal and emo-rock scenes that anyone wearing them may be misconstrued as moody or angry. White shirts, however, say that you can keep a cool head even in a heated situation and go with the flow.

How to Choose the Perfect White T-shirt

Choosing the right white tee for you involves answering a number of questions. For example, do you want a crewneck or a v-neck? Will a polo-collared shirt do? How long do you want the sleeves to be? Mind you; these are all just for the style you want for your shirt.

Other factors include the fabric and overall fit as these will determine how comfortable the shirt will be when you wear it. Here are a few pointers to help you get started:

What will you be using it for?

You have to ask yourself if this is a shirt you'll be wearing as a top on its own or as an undershirt beneath a dress shirt. You may even think about having a shirt that can serve both purposes. In which case, you'll need to choose based on the material used to make the shirt. 

For standard tops, a shirt that is 100% cotton would be best; it's a comfortable choice in any season and easy enough to launder. If you're buying a tee to serve as an undershirt, check if it's made with moisture-wicking or sweat-absorbent material. Crewneck [roundneck] tees and polo shirts work best as tops, while V-neck and slim-fit shirts make excellent undershirts. 

Consider the Style - and Make it Personal

When it comes to styling, it's a very subjective thing. You need to rely on your own personal aesthetic to make a decision. However, there are several key points you need to look at, and these will differ depending on the brands you're considering:

  • The style of the neckline;
  • Shirt length; and
  • Shirt fit.

The first depends on whether you're wearing the shirt on its own or if it will be under another shirt or a jacket. Items two and three are vital for your comfort while wearing it.

Fabrics Matter...

The ideal T-shirt is one made with a lightweight yet comfortable-feeling fabric; cotton is customary, but bamboo fiber is also gaining a following as it is light, comfortable, durable, moisture-resistant, and can even mitigate body odor. You can also get shirts in linen which feels a bit heavier but can keep you warm in the colder months, as well as a variety of synthetics like rayon and polyester. Finally, if you're wearing a white tee for your workouts, get one made with a blend of Lycra and cotton. 

However, that comfort also means that the cloth doesn't irritate your skin throughout the day. In which case, those with sensitive skin have to check on which fabrics are hypoallergenic.

Getting the Right Fit is a Point to Ponder

While a muscle tee in pure white may make you look extra-hot (especially if you're showing off some well-toned muscles), you need to ask how comfortable you are in it. 

A too-tight shirt may feel stifling and unpleasantly warm as you go about your day. On the other hand, oversized shirts may be a staple of the hip-hop scene, but they can look ridiculous if you're at a swanky bar or a country club. 

 In which case, here are some pointers on how to properly fit a shirt:

  • Your shirt has to sit against your shoulders at the base of the neck. If people can see a lot of your chest and collarbone, then your shirt is too loose.
  • Shoulders shouldn't be too wide, and the stitching must lie at the end of the shoulder where it meets your arm. Do it right, and you can move without the fabric pulling in one direction or another. Also, it's too loose if the sleeve flops down your arm and it's too tight if the stitching is too close to your collarbone.
  • T-shirts should give you space for breathing and movement, so it shouldn't be too tight around your chest, nor should they pull beneath your armpits.
  • The hem of each sleeve has to be in the middle of your bicep. Each sleeve should end approximately halfway between the armpit and elbow. A sleeve that ends too close to the elbow may make your arms look shorter.
  • Finally, the length of the T-shirt should only go around two inches below your waistband or around mid-fly. Any shorter and it would look ridiculous; any longer will make you look shorter than you actually are.


Shirt Types Based on Fit

The basic white T-shirt comes in several standard configurations. The fit will help determine how you should wear it:

  • Slim-fit shirts are ideal as undershirts. Also known as body-fit tees, these are cut in such a way that they hug the form of your body.
  • Regular or standard-fit white shirts are a bit looser. However, these are a comfortable choice for everyday wear.
  • Muscle-fit shirts are considerably tighter and work best on guys with broad shoulders and well-defined musculature. While great for showing off a well-toned physique, these are also comfortable enough to wear while working out.
  • Baggy tees are big, comfy, oversized shirts with a distinctively urban vibe. These fit loosely and are somewhat wider in the sleeves. You can wear them on their own, but we recommend these for layering with other garments in the fall and winter.

Caring for a White Tee

Once you've chosen a shirt, it isn’t enough to just wear it. You need to take care of it so you can enjoy looking good in it for a long time. Some practical pointers for white T-shirt care include:

Regular Washing   

Sweat, grime, and various spills can break down the fabric if you leave shirts unwashed, and letting stains dry on your shirt will make them harder to remove. Be sure to launder them with the right detergent.

Color Mixing is a No-Go   

Always wash white t-shirts separately from other colored garments. Even if your washing machine allows for mixed settings, there is the possibility that minute amounts of dye can leach through and stain white garments. The same goes for white tees with printed logos or stripes: keep them separate from your pristine whites.

Go Easy on the Bleach  

Don't make the mistake of thinking bleaching your shirts every time you wash them will keep them white. On the contrary, excessive bleaching can turn them an unpleasant shade of grey. Instead of relying on chemical bleach, try natural methods like adding white vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice to your laundry water.

Looking for a Classic White Shirt? Go for Oliver Cabell

Oliver Cabell is now more than just its signature leather sneakers. The brand has expanded its product line to include men’s casual apparel, all made with the same level of craftsmanship, materials, and attention to detail, making their amazing leather kicks a favorite among the fashion-forward. 

Log on to the website and find the perfect white tee to suit your style.