Arguably one of the most underrated basics a man can ever have in his wardrobe is the black t-shirt. Often relegated to the darkest corners of the closet thanks to the collapse of 2005’s emo empire, black t-shirts are today making a quiet comeback – and they can actually add a slick aesthetic to your personal look if you play your cards right. From styles to combos to fitment, this is your complete guide for how to wear a black t-shirt.
Choosing The Right Black T-Shirt
These days black t-shirts are used as a base layer under cardigans and jackets as much as they are on their own for casual duties. There’s an art to picking the right black tee though if you want to spice things up. But first, a crash course in black t-shirt styles.
Types Of Black T-Shirts
The major defining factor to any t-shirt – and not just black t-shirts – is their neckline design. Crew necks are the most common type which feature a rounded neck line. The second most common type of t-shirt is the v-neck – a slightly showier form of the crew neck which pairs better with blazers. The grandad neck with the button placket is the most ‘advanced’ form of t-shirt (it’s really not) which is best suited to layering with denim jackets and cardigans. Ryan Gosling famously wore a white one with jeans in Drive to great effect and the same can be said for the black variant.
Black T-Shirt Fits
This one’s nice and simple. There are generally just three cuts of tees for men and they fall under slim fit, regular fit and baggy fit. Each one has their place in the menswear space depending on personal preference but we figure the image will best give you the idea. Some quick ground rules: slim fit t-shirts are best paired to slim fit bottoms whether that be pants, jeans or shorts. Regular black t-shirts can be worn with slim and baggier bottoms. Baggy black t-shirts can be worn with big fit bottoms or slimmer ones like Kanye if you’re going for the street luxe look.
Black T-Shirt With A Suit
T-shirts these days play a crucial role in the smart casual space for men. Black t-shirts in particular add to this dress code but with a slicker aesthetic (it is black after all). For blazer and denim combos we suggest pairing a v-neck tee as this draws attention to the centre of the body. Those who are going the full suit route with blazer and trousers can opt for the rounded neck t-shirts as this gives off a real Euro summer vibe without dropping your fashionisto points.
Black T-Shirt With A Jacket
The home of the black t-shirt is under a fine jacket. As one of the most stylish and versatile looks, the black tee and jacket combo can take a man from smart casual duties through to evening drinks. As you can see there’s no limit to the style of jackets as well. A denim jacket is a no brainer with black tees. Just make sure the denim jacket colour is different to the jeans colour otherwise you’ll pull off a double denim overkill. A suede jacket is also a sharper way to wear the black t-shirt but for multi-purpose casual cool, you can’t go past the bomber jacket. Given the neutral tone of a black t-shirt, you can let the jacket colour, texture and detailing do all the talking. Super simple stuff.
Black T-Shirt With Jeans
Jeans belong in every man’s wardrobe and their pairing with black t-shirts is anything but boring. Take one Justin Theroux for example. As a dedicated purveyor of the black t-shirt Theroux has paired it with all variations of denim from washed indigo jeans to white jeans to black jeans. Fitment is key to owning this look with skinny jeans in any colour often working the best with black t-shirts. Those who aren’t fans of form fitting pants can opt for a more regular fit with rolled cuffs paired to leather boots. This casual look is more representative of motorcycle styling and will give you a masculine edge. White jeans or lighter coloured pants paired to black t-shirts are more for the fashionably inclined. It’s a look which works best during the warmer seasons.
Black T-Shirt With Shorts
Did we say warmer seasons? When the heat is really on black t-shirts make for the perfect pairing with all types of shorts from gym shorts to denim shorts and fitted dress shorts. Gym shorts are naturally relaxed fit to serve functionality but if you want to add a bit more ‘style’ to it, wear a pair of compression pants under the shorts. It’s important to highlight that this look should be used in and between gym sessions rather than a dedicated outfit to a bar. For denim shorts, regular fit or slim fit black t-shirts will work just fine. As with most garments if you’ve got the physique then don’t be afraid to show it off with a slimmer tee. Dress shorts take the whole black teen and shorts game to dressier heights (obviously) – but think boat parties and Sunday cafe lunches during summer. It’s a more polished way to wear a black t-shirt and we do recommend you go a slimmer fit to make it look a little less casual.
Black T-Shirt With Joggers
Whether you like them or not joggers have fast become one of the hottest selling wardrobe items for men in recent years. Their tapered and fitted design means they can straddle the fine line between gym wear and athleisure without looking daggy. And given their sport aesthetic and slim cut design, it’s always best to pair it with a slim-fit black t-shirt. It’s cleaner look but people have championed the oversized black tee and jogger combo as well. The latter just comes across as more street luxe fashion than athleisure so it all depends on your preference.