Hey gang, Nicole Longstreath here from The Wardrobe Code.
If there is a garment which is quintessentially American, it’s the t-shirt.
The French have berets, the Scottish have kits. But Americans claimed the t-shirt sometime around 1955 – perhaps to honor the memory of one famous t-shirt wearer, James Dean.
Ever since then, it’s been a favorite of the young and rebellious.
So, as the students of America head back to school this season, I’m lending some helpful hints to help them build a proper t-shirt collection – as well as some advice on how to pair this favorite garment beyond it’s traditional partner-in-crime, jeans.
How to Build a Proper T-Shirt Collection
Above all else, focus on quality. Check the fiber composition – mostly cotton? Good. Over 50% synthetic (like polyester)? Bad. Look for pilling (those tiny fuzz balls that turn up around the underarms) and make sure a washed t-shirt’s side seams aren’t warped, giving the shirt a “twisted” appearance.
Err on the fitted side. Despite what the trends might be, baggy t-shirts are rarely flattering on anyone. It doesn’t need to be tight, but we need to be able to see your shape a bit.
Go for lots of character and variety. Never buy multiples of the same shirt in different colors. Choose a variety of colors, knit weights, necklines and material on the front.
Also get plenty of solid colors and crisp whites. Not every shirt needs some kind of logo or drawing on the front.
Secondhand is your best bet. Previously-owned t-shirts have a special, broken-in quality about them. And, the best part, by buying used, you’re making an environmentally-friendly, sustainable choice.
As I said, t-shirts pair just fine with jeans, but that’s definitely not your only option. To add some interest to your look, pair t-shirts with something unexpected. Make the most of high/low drama and combine t-shirts with suit blazers, fancy skirts, colored chinos and anything else that feels exciting.