Help Me Dress Myself: The Right T-Shirt for the Right Job

Here's how to pick out a tee that not only matches your outfit, but also fits your arms, shoulders and neckline perfectly.

right-shirt-for-the-job

Are you one of those guys who wants to look stylish but finds it doesn’t come all that naturally? We feel you. Don’t fret: With some advice from LA-based stylist Meg Gallagher, we’re all going to learn how to dress a little better. In this edition, we’ll be looking at how to pick out the perfect T-shirt.

Step #1: Find Your Fit

“For most body types, a slim fit T-shirt is the most flattering option. Oversized shirts can make you look small, and shirts that are too tight highlight parts of the body that you probably don’t want highlighted,” Gallagher explains. If you’re having trouble knowing whether or not a shirt fits you correctly, Gallagher suggests checking the length—if the bottom of the T-shirt sits at your hip, chances are it’s the perfect fit.

Step #2: Avoid Printed Tees if You’re Dressing to Impress

“Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of printed T-shirts—I feel like they’re a bit collegiate rather than professional and sophisticated,” Gallagher says. “So, for my clients, I always recommend wearing solid color tees.” Don’t toss your favorite band T-shirt in the trash just yet, though. If you’re going for the leather-jacket-wearing-rockstar look, Gallagher says a printed tee can look fashionable if it’s more washed out and distressed (that is, worn in and slightly faded).

Step #3: Stick to “Heathered” Colors

“As far as T-shirts go, solid colors tend to look flat,” Gallagher says. “Which is why I recommend heathered colors.” That’s when the manufacturer uses multiple different colored fabrics—rather than one solid color—while putting the shirt together, which gives it a speckled look.

Step #4: Know Which Neckline is Right For You

For those with extremely broad shoulders, Gallagher says V-necks are a good option, because they open up the neck area, giving your shoulders a slimmer appearance. For those with average or narrow shoulders, however, Gallagher says crewnecks are the safer option and warns that a less-than-subtle V-neck can look cheesy.

As far as which necklines to wear with what overwear, Gallagher says wearing a V-neck T-shirt with a V-neck sweater is a no-no, because seeing chest hair pop out of your sweater is just plain weird. Since wearing a crewneck tee under a V-neck sweater is no longer in style, she recommends wearing one of the following: Crewneck tees with crewneck sweaters; button-downs with V-neck sweaters; or crewneck tees with cardigans “because of the way they frame the face against the elongation of the cardigan’s open front.” Fashion—it’s complicated.

Step #5: When In Doubt, Wear a Henley

If neither the V-neck nor the crewneck tickle your fancy, Gallagher says the henley is a good middle ground. “Henleys give you that crewneck shape, but also give you the opportunity to pop open a button if you want to open up your neck area.” She also says they’re extremely versatile. “Henleys can look sophisticated if paired with chinos and a cardigan, or rugged if paired with a flannel, jeans and work boots.” Turns out, putting buttons on a T-shirt wasn’t a bad idea after all.

If you have any questions about getting the look you want—fits, cuts, colors or anything else fashion-related—email us at bm@dollarshaveclub.com. We’ll have Meg answer it in an upcoming post.