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Timeless Tee Shirts | T-Shirts

Who doesn’t love or wear t-shirts?  Not too many of us and for good reason!  T-shirts, undoubtedly the most popular and commonly worn shirt, have been around since the 1800’s, and have only grown in popularity since; never losing status or taking a backseat to any other shirt.

Named because of their shape resembling the letter T; tees are collarless, typically buttonless, constructed of soft, jersey material, traditionally short sleeved, and have either a round or v-neck collar.  They are comfortable; typically made of breathable cotton, with a relaxed fit – giving reason to them being the #1 favorite shirt.  Although several versions of t-shirts have evolved over the years, they have held true to their authenticity.

Undershirts, the original t-shirt; created from the old time, one piece “union suit” being cut into two separate garments, are intended to be worn as an undergarment to other shirts and sweaters.  They protect the torso by adding an additional bottom layer of clothing for warmth, to absorb perspiration, and to protect the skin from prickly, itchy fibers like wool.  Today, many men wear undershirts as an outer shirt, which is a great, casual look.

The white undershirt eventually led way to colored t-shirts because of its popularity – due to comfort, versatility, low cost and maintenance.  In the 1960’s, t-shirt art became the craze.  Still popular today, t-shirts display countless logos and artwork; often being used as a means of advertisement.

Traditionally, tees are made of cotton fabric, which lends to their comfort; however because cotton shrinks, fades and can lose its shape, many of today’s t-shirts are manufactured with cotton blend materials, which make them even more comfortable and durable.

Pima and Egyptian cottons are considered the best cottons for softness and comfort.  Combed cotton is another type cotton to look for if you’re going for softness, and is preferred over uncombed cotton for this reason.  Spandex and Lycra, and other revolutionary stretch fibers, are often mixed with cotton, so the shirt can stretch and hold its shape – great for tees that have a body defining fit.  T-shirts can now be found in 100% polyester, which you’d never know to look at or feel.  Poly’s been improved, and is a good choice if you want a shirt that doesn’t fade or shrink.  These poly tees are even absorbent, and will do the job other cotton t-shirts do.

Styled in different cuts, many tees now come in form flattering versions, giving us options other than the traditional square, boxy cut.  Collars vary from crew (rounded, collarbone style), v-neck and deep v-neck, and can be found ribbed or flat.  The Henley, known for its buttons, is another popular style that’s commonly worn as a top shirt, and rarely used as an undershirt, as it once was.  T-shirts come in short or long sleeves, as does the Henley.

T-Shirt Etiquette

Just because tees are inexpensive, casual and an everyday piece of garb, doesn’t mean they can be worn without regard to fashion.  I’ve made a list of things to know about wearing t-shirts to keep your wardrobe and image stylish and on target.

  • The length of tees, regardless of style or type, should be worn between the belt or waistline and crotch.  Long, over the butt tees are a woman’s style, and shouldn’t be worn by men, regardless of your size.  Short, at the waist length is also another look you want to avoid.  If you own a t-shirt that’s too long, a quick and simple hemming will shorten it to the desired length.
  • Tees with logos and artwork are great; however it’s best to wear these in a very casual setting.  You might want to pay attention to what’s on the shirt, too, because these t-shirts are trendy, and as usual, trends change.  Think tie-dye t-shirts, which have tried to make a comeback, but haven’t quite succeeded like they did during the 60’s and 70’s.
  • T-shirts are typically worn with jeans and shorts.  Henleys work with khakis and casual slacks, as can other appropriate tees.  Never wear a tee with dress slacks or a suit.
  • T-shirts can be dressed up, as well as worn casually.  They look great under a sportcoat or blazer, cardigan or vest; especially those that are more form fitting.
  • Tees can be worn either tucked in or untucked.  If tucked, be sure to wear a belt.  Tucking a t-shirt in tends to emphasize the stomach area, so if your waistline is on the larger side, consider leaving the tee untucked.
  • Neckline preference is just that, and all styles are acceptable.  That being said, v-necks lend a sexier, sportier look.
  • Long sleeve tees can be found in the same materials short sleeve T-shirts are made of, and also look great under a sportcoat, cardigan and button-up vest.  Perfect for winter months!
  • Never wear a t-shirt over a shirt.  Definitely not a good look!
  • Always wear clean t-shirts that are free of stains and holes, and not torn in any way.  I get how difficult it is to let go of a favorite, old tee, so if you have some lurking around your wardrobe, keep them for weekend yardwork.


We tend not to give much thought to t-shirts, but giving them the attention they deserve will keep you and your wardrobe looking sharp.


by Aaron Marino

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