The humble t-shirt has been a wardrobe staple for over 60 years now, and most of us have at least a few tees in our closets.
Whether for working out, leisure, or even a casual black v neck tee, there is always a comfortable and acceptable choice.
However, just as much as t-shirts can be stylish, they can also look frumpy and sloppy if chosen poorly.
With endless options online and brick-and-mortar shops, how do we know which ones will look and which ones should be avoided?
It’s true not all tees are created equal, and there are quite a few things to consider if you want to end up with a high-quality and good-looking piece.
Here’s what to look for when buying tees.
The first question to ask yourself is, where are you going to wear the tee? There are quite a few different styles to choose from, and understanding that not every single one is multipurpose is essential.
Of course, there might be some overlap, but here’s a brief guide that will help make a decision.
Casual and smart casual occasions:
- Fitted or classic crewnecks
- Henley tees
- V-neck tees
- Polo tees
Casual, leisure occasions and working out:
- Graphic & patterned tees
- Scoop neck tees
- Sleeveless tees
- Hooded tees
- High-performance tees
Another vital thing to consider is your current wardrobe. Yes, you might be wearing your t-shirt on its own, but you’ll also be pairing it with the rest of your clothes.
See what you have and what you plan to pair it with; consider the colors, patterns, and accessories.
We usually wear tees under cardigans, blazers, vests, and hoodies, so you need to think about how your new tee will work with those.
If you’re doing a serious wardrobe refresh, make sure you get a few tees in different colors and shades.
We suggest making monochrome tees the base of your collection and either skipping graphic and pattern t-shirts altogether or having just a couple of pieces for special occasions.
Monochrome trees in such base colors as navy, black, off-white, beige, olive, burgundy, grey, and neutrals are easy to pair with most clothing and are a perfect canvas for most of your accessories.
One of the most important things to check and pay attention to when buying tees is the fabric.
You want to avoid cheap synthetic fabrics that are non-breathable, make you sweat, and lose their shape after a couple of washes only.
Focus on either all-natural fabrics such as 100% cotton, linen, and merino wool or find high-quality cotton blends from such brands as Fresh Clean Tees.
Why is the cotton fabric the premium choice? First of all, it’s perfect for warm seasons or if you live in hot climates as they have moisture-absorbing properties.
It’s breathable and pretty easy to care for too. There are a few types of cotton to consider.
Organic cotton and Supima cotton are much softer and stronger than regular cotton. They’re much more pleasant to wear and last longer even with multiple washes. The downside is that they’re more expensive.
The ring-spun cotton and combed cotton is another soft, durable, and lightweight choice for your tees.
The cotton blends have the advantage of added fibers that add elasticity, protect from wrinkling, shrinkage and offer much simpler care. The color of such tees is also more durable.
A great way to know if this type of tee is high-quality is to feel its weight (the heavier, the better) and lift it towards the light. If it’s transparent, it’s clear it won’t last long.
Polyester and other synthetic fabrics are only suitable if you’re looking for a workout tee that needs to dry quickly. These materials have moisture and sweat-wicking properties are stretchier, which is preferred for sports. They dry quickly, so they are great for running and gym because they don’t leave the sticky wet feeling like cotton.
Okay, so you’ve got your fabric choices settled, now let’s move to the fit. You can have the most expensive high-quality fabric; if the tee looks like a bag or is way too tight, you won’t look good.
First of all, consider your body type. If you’re spending hours at the gym, have a great definition, and have some impressive guns, you can opt for a tighter tee. If you’re an average build guy, your best choice is a semi-fitted or classic cut.
And if you’re packing a few extra pounds, a looser-fitting t-shirt is the way to go. Oversized tees can be a stylish choice too, but it’s not a must!
Checking the t-shirt seams:
- The shoulder seams should be symmetrical and lie straight on your shoulders.
- The neckband and hem should lie flat and don’t crease or pull.
- If you notice tight or wrinkled seams anywhere, including the underarms, leave that tee hanging, it’s of poor quality.
The care label
Okay, we’re almost at the finish line, but a couple of things are left.
When buying your tees, always read the label and all those care instructions on it. The same details are presented in the description if you’re buying online.
Knowing how to care for your t-shirt in advance might change your opinion. For example, some tees lose their color and fade little by little with washes. It’s currently a fashionable trend, but if you’re not looking for it, this tee might not be for you.
You might also learn that the t-shirt should not be put in the drier, which is a deal-breaker for a drier fan! All we’re saying is do your homework before it’s too late.
We all have our clothing shopping budgets, and no matter how great that $100 t-shirt might look, it makes no sense to buy it if it will break the bank!
Keep in mind that many cheaper brands still offer high-quality for a lower price, and if you follow our previous instructions, you’ll create the perfect t-shirt collection!