In the latest instalment of his weekly column, Raven Smith turns style counsellor...
You can’t beat a white tee, but finding the right one can be a challenge. So, this week, I’m taking on the role of style counsellor, helping you navigate the sometimes perilous waters of shopping for this summer essential.
1. Get the right fabric
I recently bought a t-shirt in a luxuriously fine cotton but had to return it because the material was too thin. It was just too luxurious for me. Something a little more robust is better. Something that looks borrowed from someone attractive and good with their hands.
2. Make sure it’s not sheer
If your nipples are visible through the fabric, that’s bad. An open shirt is better, or even a jacket with nothing underneath. A clear sightline to a nipple is not a problem but the sort of covert, flirtation of a nipple areola through translucent fabric just isn’t kosher.
3. Try tucking
It can be very chic to tuck in a tee. This simple styling trick has the power to transform your outfit from Ubiquitous Festival Goer to Dashing Riviera Guy. It says, “Hello, I’m quite casual, but also quite sexy.”
4. Avoid V-necks
In the summer of 2007, I wore a deep V from American Apparel. It was an emotional time. I drank a lot of snakebite. I kissed nobody. It was bad. The V-neck acted as a sort of arrow, pointing at my broken heart and signalling my summertime sadness. In light of this, I’d recommend avoiding the V. If you’re that hot, wear a jacket with nothing underneath. Seriously, that’s fit.
5. Slogan tees
I can’t abide a slogan tee. If you have something to say, just say it out loud. Sure, clothes are a way for us to communicate with the world, but actually having words emblazoned on your top tends to be a bit naff.
That said, logos can be cool – shoutout to the little polo player on the horse.
7. Embrace mesh
Sunspel do a ‘cellular cotton’ t-shirt, which is posh speak for ‘mesh’. Because of the holes, the wind travels right through it in the summer, like when you open the oven in your face only cool. I have rebought this t-shirt every year for half a decade based on its ventilating properties alone.
8. Don’t worry about stains
One of my favourite tees has a chocolate ice cream stain, but I refuse to throw it out. If someone notices it, I just pretend it’s a brand new stain and say something like “Oh shit, oh no! Why me...”. The t-shirt is simply worth my EastEnders-level acting.
9. Never go sleeveless
I know you’ve worked hard on your guns big fella, but let’s leave this look for Love Island.
Once you find the right t-shirt for you, never let it go. Buy ten like Steve Jobs.
Raven Smith is a London-based creative director and the former commissioning director of Nowness. He is anothermanmag.com’s columnist, writing about style, life and culture.