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In Detail: White T-Shirts

Feature: Long Read
Words by Abigail Gurney-Read

A great white T-shirt is many things: versatile, effortless, non-negotiable. Formerly most often worn under shirts or knitwear – out of sight, out of mind – the once-unsung basic has been promoted to wardrobe protagonist. As such, it’s had to up its game – and not all white T-shirts are made equal.

“The white T-shirt is a garment I focus on in depth with every collection,” says designer Neil Barrett. “The perfect style has roll-up sleeves that stay put, and a fit that’s loose on the body but touches where necessary. Never tight, never shapeless!” In short, investing in rock-solid quality is paramount, since this is the foundation upon which you’ll construct a look. Rome wasn’t built on sand, after all.

Men's White T-Shirts

Plain or Print?

Firstly, there's no wrong answer. Most of us, by and large, will have a selection of both – a rotation of quality staples and their subtly decorated counterparts. When introducing print (say, a logo or simple monogram), we recommend a ‘less is more’ approach; that way, you’ll be able to style them as you would your classics.

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The Three Cs

It’s said there’s perfection in simplicity – but even the simplest styles work to a formula.

  • Composition of White T-Shirts

    Composition

    Pure cotton – organic and Pima – or cotton-rich jerseys are favoured for T-shirts, due to the fibre’s lightweight feel, ability to breathe and general durability. Super-soft Lyocell and Modal are equally indicative of quality.

  • Cut of White T-Shirts

    Cut

    Classic silhouettes should be fitted without clinging; too close a cut, and your tee strays into ‘undershirt’ territory. Loose-fit styles have a casualising influence on any outfit – this is not the occasion to wear your Savile Row finest.

  • Care of White T-Shirts

    Care

    To keep your T-shirts whiter than white, bolster the efficacy of your regular detergent with a soaking agent pre-cycle. Then, removing coloured items, run them in a hot wash to lift dirt particles and shift unsightly discolouration.

The Icon: Steve McQueen

Loewe - The Icon White T-Shirt

It ain’t what you wear, it’s the way you wear it. Just look at Steve McQueen, Hollywood’s insouciant ‘King of Cool’, who earned his style stripes sporting understated casuals with confidence. The everyman’s anti-hero rebelled against the Sixties’ embellished aesthetic – wearing crew-neck white T-shirts with jeans, or ‘Steve McQueen’s’ for rhyming-slang buffs.

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Simon Longland, Head of Menswear

“The classic white T-shirt is a wardrobe chameleon. It’s timeless, ageless and goes as well with worn-in denim as it does with relaxed tailoring. Steve McQueen embodies its enduring appeal – his look is as relevant today as it ever was”

Loewe - The Icon White T-Shirt

It ain’t what you wear, it’s the way you wear it. Just look at Steve McQueen, Hollywood’s insouciant ‘King of Cool’, who earned his style stripes sporting understated casuals with confidence. The everyman’s anti-hero rebelled against the Sixties’ embellished aesthetic – wearing crew-neck white T-shirts with jeans, or ‘Steve McQueen’s’ for rhyming-slang buffs.

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Get Inspired

Pens at the ready – these savvy dressers style the staple to a T.

  • Model Eliot Moles le Bailly wears a white white t-shirt street style inspiration after the Neil Barrett show during the Milan Men's Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020
  • Korean model Seungchan Lee wears a white t-shirt street style inspiration after the Dolce & Gabbana show during Milan Men's Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020
  • Dougie Poynter wears a white t-shirt street style inspiration
  • Model Jae Hyung An wears a white t-shirt street style inspiration during the Milan Men's Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020
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Man and woman standing outside in jacket and coat

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