"How Many T-Shirts Should I Own?" Or 8 Most Versatile T-Shirts A Man Should Have In His Wardrobe

The most indispensable items in our wardrobes are basic necessities. A t-shirt is one of those necessities. Even if you spend most of your work days in suits, you still can't go without a few t-shirts in your closet. We are looking at 8 most versatile t-shirts every man should have in his clothing arsenal.

History of the T-shirt

A T-shirt is a style of shirt named after the T shape of the body and sleeves. In contrast to shirts that are made of woven cloth, t-shirts are typically made of jersey, which makes them light and easy to clean.

Today it's perfectly fine to have a t-shirt as the only piece of clothing on the top half of the body. However, originally t-shirts were worn as undergarments.

The earliest slip-on shirts without buttons date back to the early 20th century. They were white cotton crew-neck shirts with short sleeves that the U.S. marines used as undershirts and wore under a uniform.

Soon t-shirts became popular among farmers and workers in other industries as a bottom layer of clothing.

Because they were inexpensive, easily fitted and easily cleaned, t-shirts became a popular garment for kids as well.

After the World War II, it was common to see veterans use their uniform trousers and a t-shirt as casual clothing.

And after Marlon Brando wore one in 1951's Streetcar Named Desire, the t-shirt cemented its status of a fashionable, stand-alone garment.

Types of T-shirts

There are several types of t-shirts that are mostly distinguished by their necklines.

The original and most basic one is a crew-neck t-shirt.

Next, there's a v-neck t-shirt.

A polo shirt (also known as a golf or tennis shirt) is a t-shirt with a collar and a placket with two or three buttons.

Men's Orange Polo, Beige Horizontal Striped Shorts
No matter where the day takes you, you'll be stylishly ready in this casual pairing of an orange polo and beige horizontal striped shorts.View Details

A henley shirt is a collarless, round-neck t-shirt with a placket with 2 to 5 buttons.

All of the above are usually short sleeve t-shirts, but they can also have long or 3/4 sleeves.

Finally, t-shirts can also be sleeveless. These are called tanks and typically have a round neckline.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's move on to what t-shirts in particular will make your clothing lineup more versatile.

8 Most Versatile T-Shirts A Man Should Own

1. White Crew-Neck T-Shirt

The original white crew-neck t-shirt is hands-down one of the most versatile pieces in your casual line-up.

You can pair it with shorts, chinos or jeans and wear as a stand-alone top in your casual summer looks.

Alternatively, the white crew-neck is an indispensable layering piece. As a neutral color, white works with absolutely any other color (perhaps, with the exception of white, unless we're talking about a well put-together total white look).

2. Grey Crew-Neck T-Shirt

Another neutral colored item, a grey crew-neck t-shirt works great by its own when paired with jeans (from light wash and indigo to charcoal and black) and when layered under cardigans, blazers and bombers, again in practically any other color apart from grey (or at least the same shade of grey).

3. Black Crew-Neck T-Shirt

A basic black tee is a wonderful alternative to shirts when you're going for a smart casual and evening-appropriate look. Wear it with a blazer and dark denim or chinos for drinks after work, to a club or to a semi-casual date.

Men's Camel Overcoat, Black Crew-neck T-shirt, Light Blue Skinny Jeans, White Low Top Sneakers
This off-duty combo of a camel overcoat and light blue skinny jeans is extremely easy to put together in no time, helping you look sharp and ready for anything without spending too much time combing through your wardrobe. Go for a pair of white low top sneakers to inject a dose of stylish effortlessness into your ensemble.View Details

4. White and Black Striped Crew-neck T-shirt

The easiest way to spice up a basic combination you've been wearing all week is to swap your solid t-shirt with a printed one. The safest pattern to go with would be white and black/navy stripes.

By the way, as far as patterns are concerned, stripes are a neutral. So if you decide to go further and try some pattern mixing, go ahead! Here are a couple of ideas: introduce a paisley pocket square into your tee and blazer combo, layer a fair isle cardigan over your striped tee, or pair it with printed shorts for a summer look.

5. White V-Neck T-Shirt

Arguably less dynamic, the white v-neck tee is none the less a good alternative to your white crew-neck t-shirt when you want some variety.

Wear your white v-neck t-shirt just like your crew-neck: combined with jeans in your basic layered pairings under long sleeve shirts, cardigans, blazers and denim jacket, etc.

6. White Polo

Polos are great because they work in basic, casual combos just as well as they do in more elegant looks. And a polo in the neutral white color will go with any bottoms - dark denim, pastel chinos, you name it. Pair your white polo with jeans for a simple but put-together summer outfit or wear it with chinos and a blazer for a semi-casual dress-down-Friday-ready look.

7. White Henley

A white henley shirt is most appropriate for relaxed 'tee and jeans' combinations as an alternative to a white crew-neck. For a lumberjack look that ladies will love, wear an unbuttoned white henley under a red flannel shirt, paired with dark jeans and brown moc toe boots.

A white henley also looks cool when layered under long sleeve shirts and cardigans.

8. Charcoal Crew-Neck T-Shirt

For a look in the darker palette, appropriate for evenings or colder weather, a charcoal crew-neck t-shirt will be a great option.

Bonus: Layering Tips or How To Layer Sweaters Over T-Shirts

• Layer sweaters over crew-neck t-shirts

Wearing a basic crew-neck tee underneath a sweater is an easy way to add a touch of effortless style to your looks.

Crew-neck t-shirts certainly give you more layering opportunities than v-necks when it comes to sweaters.

• Crew-neck's neckline and hem should pop out of the sweater

For crew-neck sweaters, go for the double crewneck layer and wear a tee in a contrasting color that's slightly longer than the sweater.

• Avoid too high contrast when pairing a crew-neck tee with a v-neck sweater

For a more elegant take, go tonal and opt for a crew-neck t-shirt in the same family color, when layering under a v-neck pullover; or at least don't turn up the contrast too high.

• Layer under zip and button necks

For cold weather, a crew-neck t-shirt popping from a zip or a button-neck sweater and paired with jeans or a pair of wool trousers makes for a great casual or semi-casual look.

Do you like the featured outfits? These are some of the most stylish and popular combinations out there. But you can also filter out the outfits you see to match your own clothes.

Add some of your clothes to your digital wardrobe on Lookastic, and we'll show you outfits you can put together. Click here to get started .