Nothing quite says menswear essential like the humble t-shirt. You could have the world’s best collection of jeans, for example, but they’d be nothing without a suitably stylish t-shirt to pair them with. The versatility and relative affordability of t-shirts mean they can be worn in countless ways and in virtually any scenario, although the cocktail dress code may be a stretch.
With all that said the rules of how to wear t-shirts are rather simple. Start with the basic colours like white, black, grey and navy and you’ll have solid foundations for a versatile wardrobe, being able to pair them with just about anything from jackets to knitwear to blazers to collared shirts. Once you’ve nailed that you can start playing around with prints, patterns, detailing and materials to really own your personal look.
When it comes to buying some t-shirts, however, it’s not just as simple as going into a store, picking some up and walking away. At least, not if you don’t want to have to keep making repeat trips due to your chosen t-shirts not being of good quality.
Signs Of Quality T-Shirts
With most brands from budget right through to designer labels sourcing their t-shirts – or at least, the cotton to make their t-shirts – from China and other major regions of clothing manufacture, determining the quality of your t-shirts isn’t always the easiest of tasks.
Fortunately, you have DMARGE on your side, and here are our top tips regarding what to look out for next time you go t-shirt shopping.
Feel The Fabric
- A t-shirt’s softness will be indicated by the number of natural fibres used. This information can usually be found on the label. Obviously, you can just feel the t-shirt, but let it be known that the softness you feel in-store may diminish after a few washes.
- Those after quality should look out for 100% cotton tees, especially if you’re in the market for printed t-shirts, as the prints will tend to display better on them.
- Blended synthetic tees (usually those on the more budget end of the scale) have the issue of ageing at a different rate to pure 100% materials and this may tarnish the look slightly.
- Full polyester t-shirts, on the other hand, will be terrible for wicking sweat from your body and breathability on the whole. They are, however, better for water resistance, so choose materials based on your requirements.
- Bear in mind that 100% cotton doesn’t necessarily mean high quality as there is both low-end and high-end cotton.
Check The Weave
A tighter weave will mean your t-shirt will last longer, being able to retain its quality following multiple wears and washes. One misconception of a tighter weave is that it will equate to a heavier t-shirt, yet this isn’t the case, as a t-shirt’s fabric density is independent of the t-shirt’s weight or thickness.
With regards to the weight of a t-shirt, this information should also be displayed on the label, and will most commonly be measured in ounces (Oz) or grams per square metre (GSM). The higher the number, the heavier the t-shirt, with the heaviest weight you can expect to find being around 300gsm, making it more suitable for colder months.
If it’s a short-sleeved summer number you’re after, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for t-shirts in the 130-150gsm range, and these fabrics will be lighter and cooler.
Check The Stitching
Stitching quality is a tell-tale sign of a t-shirt’s quality. Look out for any loose threads as a sign of poor construction. A higher stitch count also means the garment should be stronger and will last longer. Stitching at the seams is also an important factor to consider when it comes to the amount of stretch your t-shirt is able to undergo. If you want a t-shirt to have some stretch to it so that it feels more comfortable during wear, then the stitching will also need to stretch with the fabric. You don’t want to be in a situation when you need to swing your arms, for example, and find that the stitching holding the sleeves to the main body prevent you from achieving your full range of movement.
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Everlane is a clothing brand for the modern era and focus heavily on ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes. Their t-shirts are made in Vietnam in a hand-picked factory from a variety of high-quality cottons.
Originally an assignment at the Stanford Business School, Bonobos creates high quality, wearable and comfortable basics for men. They employ a range of high-quality fabrics and revolutionary cuts to create the perfect basics.
Since becoming one of the most successful online fashion retailers, ASOS have introduced their own line of clothing – ASOS design. Since they offer a large selection of the worlds best clothing brands on their website, they can draw inspiration from all over to create eclectic designs of their own. This applies to their t-shirts which come in an enormous selection of affordable styles.
Topman is a British menswear brand that has been around since 1978. They have a large selection of good quality, affordable t-shirts available in an array of colours, fabrics, patterns and cuts. Finding a tee to suit your needs should be a piece of cake.
Flint & Tinder
Flint & Tinder is a small subsidiary of Huckberry which draws its designs from traditional, hardwearing American looks. All of their items are made in the USA to extremely high standards. Their t-shirts are no-frills, practical and stylish.
J Crew’s ethos is to make timeless clothing that lasts a lifetime. They have an expansive range of t-shirts, available in modern cuts, trendy colours and timeless designs so you can find your perfect tee.
Founded in Amsterdam, Unrecorded came about in an attempt to put up a front to fast fashion. As a result of this, all of Unrecoded’s clothing uses high quality, durable fabrics, sustainable production processes and timeless designs that are immune from the coming and going of fashion trends. Whilst basic, their t-shirts are made from organic cotton and feature a timeless, elegant cut.
Saturdays NYC was started by a group of friends in New York City who shared a passion for surfing and coffee culture. Their appreciation of these and the aesthetic lifestyles associated with them is the source of inspiration for the label. Their tees combine modern cuts with cool, minimalist designs that ooze urban cool.
Started by the world’s most dominant competitive surfer ever, Kelly Slater, Outerknown is his own brainchild and legacy. The brand employs sustainable practices to ensure the planet and its fruits can be enjoyed for generations to come. Outerknown’s tees are clean-cut and basic, perfect for any casual affair.
After successful stints at the likes of Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and The GAP, Todd Snyder opened his label to focus on his own style and taste in clothing. He has a range of unique, high-quality clothing and has had collaborations with the likes of Champion and Red Wing. His t-shirts feature a modern cut and are available in a selection of great fabrics.
Famous for his unique and interesting designs, Paul Smith knows how to make clothing that is in the moment but not of the moment. His selection of t-shirts are crafted from organic cotton and are available with patterns or in plain.
Unbeknownst to many, Sunspel is one of the finest manufacturers of wardrobe basics. They’re so good, they’re even the choice of basics for Daniel Craig’s 007. Designed and made in Europe from ultra-high quality fabrics, Sunspel’s basics look fantastic and will last you a lifetime.
Outlier creates clothing with the aim of helping people with the freedom to do whatever they want, without being restricted by their clothing. Above all else, they focus on functionality to help empower the wearer. Their t-shirts are the embodiment of this ethos and are the creme of the crop when it comes to comfort.
Founded in 2012, Wahts has created premium menswear staples with premium fabrics and designs to present a contemporary athleisure aesthetic. Their t-shirts are high quality and have a sleek, modern look.
Orlebar Brown is famous for making swim shirts so cool and sophisticated that James Bond wears them. Alongside making the world’s best ‘shorts you can swim in’, Orlebar Brown has a range of t-shirts that match the quality and style of their shorts.
Acne Studios was originally a subset of Acne, a Swedish brand that focused on graphic design, film production and advertising. Since then, Acne Studios has taken off to become one of the most influential designer brands. Their t-shirts pair ultra-high quality with distinct, modern designs.
Reiss is the epitome of high-quality British menswear. While you can find prints within Reiss' collections, you're more likely to find simple, minimalistic pieces in a range of colours that will allow to you create myriad outfit combinations. Reiss' t-shirts are made from 100 per cent cotton for supersoft quality.
Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo is a must-visit shopping destination for well-made, well-fitting menswear essentials, but without the price tag of some more premium clothing labels. Uniqlo offers both short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts, but its the Supima cotton range that has us giddy with excitement. Supima cotton is superior to regular cotton as it exhibits greater strength, colour retention and softness.