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Fit is the cornerstone of good style. But while we often think of this dimension in regards to garments like the suit and dress shirt, it’s important to get a good fit in your t-shirts, too.
Size/Tightness. A t-shirt should be neither too baggy nor too tight. If it’s too big, it will drape and sag like a pillowcase and be unflattering. Too tight and you’ll look like a stuffed sausage — a look that can read as some combination of narcissistic, flamboyant, and/or douchey. If you’re in shape, and have a good build, you can lean towards tighter over looser. If you’re carrying extra weight, leans towards a looser fit — but don’t go too far, as too much extra fabric will only make you look larger rather than smaller.
Shoulder seams. The seams where the sleeves attach to the body should ideally exactly align with where your shoulder ends rather than lower on your arm or towards your neck.
Sleeves. A tee’s sleeves should hit about halfway up your upper arm. Sleeves that extend a little farther down can look proportional if you’re very tall.
Length. The bottom hem of tee should hit no higher than your hips, at least cover your waistband, and ideally extend a few inches below it. Any shorter and you’re heading into midriff terriotry, and run the risk of showing your back/butt crack/belly when you bend over. Longer than that and the shirt starts trending into a nightgown.
Shape. Avoid boxy tees that wear like a sandwich board with sleeves. You want the tee to be cut so it follows the shape of your body a little.
A well-fitting tee that hits all these metrics can be hard to find but is worth looking for. And while it may mean $25 instead of that $5 touristy tee, you’ll notice the difference and won’t go back.
T-shirts come with two main types of necklines: the crew and the v-neck. Each works best according to the look one is going for, as well as the proportions of your face and body.
The crew collar. This is the most classic option, and offers a timeless look. It best suits men who have a slight build and frame, as the collar draws the viewer’s eye out, broadening the neckline and creating the appearance of squarer shoulders. The crew collar is also a good choice for men with longer necks and narrower faces, as it balances and adds proportion to these features.
The v-neck. A v-neck has a slightly less formal feel than the crew collar, and adds a little more visual interest and style to the standard tee. It’s well-suited for the shorter man, as it makes one appear less boxy and adds a bit of height to the appearance. It complements men with rounder and/or wider faces as well. I would not recommend a v-neck for those larger in size, however, as the v tends to draw the eye down to the belly.