When creating your own capsule wardrobe, you need to invest in staples. Pieces that can be mixed and matched with many items you own will last through the seasons and even years. It’s time to go back to basics – choose minimal pieces that will be effortlessly cool.
T-shirts are one of those items that require minimum effort – they can be worn alone, or layered, they can be worn come rain or shine. It’s an essential part of our everyday looks and should be part of yours.
The history of the T-shirt
Now a unisex item of clothing, the T-shirt started its life as an undergarment worn by men in Medieval times. In the Middle Ages, T-shaped shapes were cut out of cotton or linen to provide a layer between the body and the garments that someone would choose to wear.
Once with tails, the t-shirt got a makeover in the 19th century, slowly becoming the wardrobe essential we know and love today.
New knitting technology meant that in the 19th century, the t-shirt could be mass-produced in a more fitted shape. By the end of the century, sailors began wearing T-shirt under their uniforms. Working-class men then started wearing it as outerwear, which brought the boom of the T-shirt in the 20th century.
Today, it is a piece that every brand wants to put its own spin on, and it is a must-have that everyone desires, just like sweatshirts and pullovers. We can see the T-shirt on the catwalk and in our favorite stores, worn by our favorite fashion icons. This is proof that the styling options are truly endless with this iconic piece!
What basic T-shirts do you need?
Forget crazy prints, extravagant logos and statement colors. Less is more when it comes to style. T-shirts are a prime example of this – they may seem quite ordinary, but concoct an outfit with one, and you’ll be amazed by the results.
There are different styles of T-shirts that can vary in fit or neckline. The beauty of the T-shirt is you can invest in several because you can never have too many! Get them in a multitude of timeless shades that will compliment your wardrobe – we recommend black and white, or to change things up, navy, gray or khaki.
- Crewnecks – Crewneck T-shirts are a basic that you need in your wardrobe. The round neckline and looser fit make these casual, laidback and comfortable. The crew neck t-shirt by Fresh Clean Threads is an absolute cult favorite, as it’s crafted in soft cotton poly-fabric for a luxuriously soft feel.
- V-necks – V-neck t-shirts are ideal for layering. We picture a V-neck T-shirt with a printed shirt – you can leave the shirt open or buttoned up according to the vibe you’re going for. This style is perfect for a shorter guy who wants to elongate his frame. This is an extremely versatile style that you will love wearing.
- Henleys – Henley shirts have a more sophisticated feel thanks to their buttoned-up collars. We can see one of our henley shirts with a linen over-shirt in the summer and a wool over-jacket in fall for a stylish, off-duty look.
What fits exist?
Finding the fit to suit you may seem like a challenge, but really, it all depends on your outfit and the occasion. Very oversized T-shirts are great for hitting the gym but don’t really cut it for everyday outfits. Here are some of our favorite fits:
- Slim fit: Slim fit T-shirts are ideal for layering as they hug your body more than other styles. It is also flattering for more athletic body types.
- Regular fit: Regular fits are what you tend to see everywhere, the straight fit style that boasts a looser fit. It’s flattering around the stomach area and will make you feel sleek.
- Muscle fit: Muscle fits are preferred by gym-goers to flaunt their muscular physique. It’s a tighter fit than the slim fit, in which the sleeves hug the biceps.
There are also a few tips to getting the right size in your fit, here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to finding the right T-shirt fit for you:
- Don’t opt for plunging necklines: There is a difference between a V-neck and a neckline going down to your belly button.
- Do choose a V-neckline that is parallel with your armpits: This will ensure that you don’t buy a V-neckline that is too deep, and that perfectly flatters and elongates your body.
- Don’t go for sleeves that are too loose: Wearing a loose fit and having sleeves that are too big for you aren’t quite the same thing. If your T-shirt is too loose around the arms, then you cheapen your outfit and appear to be going for a baggy look, that is more fitted for a sweatshirt. Some trends just need to stay in the 90s!
- Don’t choose a t-shirt that’s too long: Very long t-shirts will just drown your body, and is definitely a no-go if you’re short! The right length should be able to be slightly tucked into your choice of pants, and shouldn’t flash your stomach when reaching for things.
Why do you need to own 3 basic T-shirts?
- T-shirts are versatile
Having 3 basic T-shirts in 3 different styles and/or colors will give you plenty of outfit options. As we become more and more eco-conscious, it’s time to focus on absolute must-haves rather than trend-led pieces. This approach is also more sustainable because the simpler the piece, the easier it will be to create an outfit. You’ll no longer be over-consuming and buying pieces due to a lack of inspiration!
- T-shirts are iconic
T-shirts are iconic, and fashion through the years has proved it. It will never go out of style. Music icon Mick Jagger and top model Kate Moss have been seen wearing the T-shirt in their own edgy manner throughout the decades. Some have used the T-shirt as a canvas for their own self-expression, others have kept it low-key. We love a low maintenance look that is just so easy to put together!
- T-shirts are flattering
The T-shirt is one of those pieces that flatter any body shape. All you have to do is find the right fit for you and your outfit. Even when you’re feeling a little self-conscious, a T-shirt will always do you favors. It’s youthful, playful and timeless. Looser fits can be deemed more casual and relaxed, or opt for a fitted style for a dressier touch.
- T-shirts are comfortable
Despite what they say, comfort doesn’t have to compromise style! T-shirts are comfortable thanks to their cotton or linen fabric and are breathable – especially in those warmer months. T-shirts made in organic cotton will be even more lightweight and will also help preserve the planet. Linen T-shirts are ideal for the summer and can be paired with matching linen shorts for a stylish outfit.
- T-shirts are simple
T-shirts aren’t fussy, over-the-top or confusing, unlike a lot of trends out there right now. There’s no stronger casual look than a fitted plain white T-shirt with a pair of jeans. These kinds of simple yet staple looks are often overlooked but don’t mistake simple for boring. Just throw on your favorite T-shirt and go!
Know when to let go
Perhaps you already own several basic T-shirts, but you don’t know whether to invest in more. As we mentioned, there is no such thing as too many T-shirts, they’re on-trend and practical. However, there are times when you just have to let go of some of your old, beloved garments. Here are a few tips to know when to say goodbye:
- When they’re fading: We love a vintage, faded look, but that only really works with denim. Faded T-shirts just cheapen your outfit, and make it seem lazy. With darker or bolder shades, it is very easy to see when the color is fading, and you lose that polished feel you’re looking for.
- When they’re stained: We’ve all done it – eating spaghetti while wearing a white T-shirt. But if after 10 washes the stain still hasn’t come out – it’s time to let it go. You’re hardly going to go out wearing a stained T-shirt, are you?
- When they’ve lost their fit: Older T-shirts just don’t fit like they used to, and when the fit isn’t flattering anymore, it’s hard to get that magic back. Invest in higher-quality fabrics that will last no matter how many washes they go through.
- When the fabric is damaged: Whether it’s because of holes or the fabric has just stretched, if your T-shirt doesn’t have the lightweight yet high-quality fabric you once bought it for, you should make room for some new arrivals!
Now you know why you should have 3 basic T-shirts in your wardrobe, it’s time to up your style game! Create some on-point casual outfits that will accompany you throughout the years, and last the tests of trends and time. Put together outfits that you could have worn 2 years ago, and that you would still wear in 2 years’ time. The T-shirt won’t disappoint you!
By Emma Philo