Building a man’s wardrobe can take time, it isn’t going to happen over night. But there are fundamental pieces in your wardrobe that should be the foundation. Inevitably your style will develop and change over time, that key item you wore in your twenties will be thrown out when you enter your thirties. The building blocks need to be interchangeable, able to work with multiple looks both smart and casual. In this series of posts I will run through the collection of garments I believe every man should have in their wardrobe.
Part 1: The White T-Shirt
Now before I start, just because you get a great quality white t-shirt does not mean you will fast become James Dean or Steve McQueen. It pains me to see men swaggering around with their t-shirt tucked into their jeans thinking they are Marlon Brando in a A Streetcar Named Desire. A fitted white t-shirt will certainly add a confidence to your style but don’t let this new self assurance dominate your strut.
Versatility is key, with the white t-shirt being used as a vital layer during winter as well as on its own during the summer. Worn beneath a blue oxford shirt it adds a layer of warmth whilst hiding any Tom Jones chest wigs creeping towards the eye line of an unsuspecting female. Team with a pair of selvedge denim and white Superga trainers for an effortlessly cool weekend look, which all it would need to finish it off is some Ray-ban’s or Warby Parker’s.
For some men the smart casual look can be a difficult one to manage as they haven’t established their wardrobes so that they are adaptable. The white t-shirt fits in perfectly with this look, and you can take some tips from Tinie Tempah who adds a simple t-shirt to his Burberry suit so that it loosens the usually restrictive nature of wearing a formal shirt.
When shopping for this key piece my recommendation would be to head to Sunspel who specialise in unfussy menswear that is made to last. If your budget can’t stretch to this then Uniqlo would be a great alternative. Without focusing on trend-led fashion they enable their customers to buy affordable clothing that will not shrink or stretch the longer you wear and wash.
Below are some key looks you can easily replicate.
Look 1 – The Saturday Night White T-Shirt
Remove the shirt and relax with a t-shirt and blazer combo. You can experiment with different colour blazers depending on weather/confidence etc but the navy blue blazer is a staple you can not go wrong with
Look 2 – The Sunday Morning White T-Shirt
I mentioned this look previously, but it is an absolute no brainer. Imagine the sun is shining and you and friends or your partner are meeting up at the local coffee shop for a brew.
Look 3 – Dressing Down The Suit
If you work in a corporate world you might find it difficult to get away with this. But for those men that don’t have the restrictions this look can be a great way to introduce a suit into your arsenal without going with the whole buttoned up style.
I hope this article has given you some insight into how men can dress up or dress down a simple white t-shirt. The crucial word in this series of articles is ‘versatility’. Not every man can have a wardrobe full of clothes that are only worn a handful of times You need to be able to mix and match to get the most from a collection of key pieces that I will introduce you to over a number of articles.
Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.