Graphic t-shirts don’t always have the best reputation in fashion circles. But that’s just because these t-shirts are too often seen as a fallback for a real personality or sense of style. Too many men wearing too many loose and sloppy tees have created a reputation of graphic tees being for frat boys and overgrown manchildren.
But a good graphical tee can be a worthwhile part of any mature ensemble. It can even be the centerpiece of some outfits. As more and more celebrities begin confidently rocking t-shirts with suit coats, the appeal of the t-shirt is real. And so is its flexibility. Here’s how you can integrate graphic tees into your lifestyle while still looking good.
Keep it Casual
Celebrities may be wearing t-shirts as part of a suit ensemble, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can pull it off — and it doesn’t mean that every shirt is right for that look. A high-end plain t-shirt can be a great alternative to a dress shirt, but graphic tees should be reserved for more casual situations.
While the lines between the two often blur, there are differences between advertising and art. Your graphic t-shirt style should lean more strongly towards the latter than the former. While branded t-shirts can sometimes work when there’s irony or vintage appeal at play, graphic tees for adult men tend towards more minimalist and abstract designs. This allows them to anchor an outfit without overwhelming the rest of the clothes that constitute it.
Go With What’s Comfortable
The one rule that should rule over all of them is to wear what makes you feel good. If you don’t feel confident in what you’re wearing, it’s never going to look. But enough confidence can sometimes even salvage a t-shirt that’s bordering on bad taste. Let your personal preferences be your guide, but also don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
Don’t Be Fake
Most obviously, don’t wear a band t-shirt unless you have interest in them. While there are a lot of cool looking band logos, nothing’s more awkward than having an enthusiastic fan start a conversation with you over a band you know nothing about. What you wear should be authentic to your personality in whatever way possible.
The Fit is Important
The graphics on your shirt may be the first thing that draws the eye, but a shirt that doesn’t fit well is going to leave all the wrong impressions no matter how cool looking it is. A good t-shirt should be snug without being tight. That means a couple of spare inches along the side and a length that covers your waist without extending past the middle of your back jeans pocket.
Make Use of Layers
One mistake that younger guys tend to make is assuming that their t-shirt will do the talking for them so they don’t have to worry about anything else. A graphic t-shirt on its own just looks sloppy. Instead, be sure to compliment your t-shirt with a variety of colors that further reinforce your style. Layering can go a long way in this direction, and jackets and coats naturally tend to pair well with jeans and a graphic tee.
Graphic t-shirts are some of the most fun clothing around, and they can really leave an impression if executed correctly. And fortunately, it’s not that hard. A good set of mens basic tees can get you started, and then you can start to incorporate any number of cool graphical options into your wardrobe at your own pace.