While setting up for this style challenge in an idyllic cafe-lined alley, it was quickly made apparent that we weren’t the only white tees that strolled the streets of Toronto. Evidently, the simplicity and ease of styling a white t-shirt is no secret. Sure, we don’t always show love for basics (I’m looking at the folk who live off of PSLs and Candy Crush), but to have basics in your wardrobe? It’s simply a sartorial no-brainer and the building blocks to any well-dressed man. Just ask the likes of Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Chet Baker.
The white tee isn’t just a staple in the wardrobes of style-conscious gents though, it’s often unconsciously a resident of laundry-bag wardrobes as well (which hardly seems fair). But with it being so versatile an item, if you wanna stand out (in a good way), then it’s not just about owning a white tee, it’s styling also matters. For example, a white tee may be a perfect blank canvas, but abrasive logos, an unsightly fit, or being decorated with your last meal are just a few sure-fire ways to take it from Marlon Brando to Marlon Brandon’t. In this week’s style challenge, we show you more acceptable methods to bringing style appropriate versatility to the Tee.
Photographer & Graphic Designer
A white t-shirt is like your sartorial supporting actor. It doesn’t scream or overpower your outfit, it supports the lead. For this outfit, my white tee made these pants from J.W. Anderson and my Louis Vuitton portfolio look like Bonnie and Clyde.
Founder & Creative Director
A white tee, a lightweight suit, and converse (either Chucks or Jack Purcells) have been my uniform as of late. My schedule is often jam-packed with events, meetings, speed walking, and photo shoots, so this outfit seems to be functionally appropriate enough for the various engagements of the day.
The best part of a white tee, other than it arguably being fashion’s most democratic item, is that it’s relatively lightweight. As my speed walking becomes a light jog, I can ensure my body perspiration level is appropriately under control by the time I stick out my hand and say “Thanks so much for meeting with me”.
A white tee has always been my essential layering piece. In the summer I like layering one with a button down and in the fall it’s the perfect base to start a great look. I try not to spend a lot of money on white tees, so all of mine are actually from Walmart. This allows me to be confident at whatever life throws at me (literally and figuratively).
For this look, I chose to wear it with a floral shirt, light washed jeans and sandals. I’ve been rocking the “dad-chic” trend a lot recently.
When you’re trying to put together an outfit with pieces that have a lot of personality, the white tee can be a perfect base layer. In this scenario (serving wizardry-waitress realness), the t-shirt breaks up the otherwise monochromatic and unique pieces and grounds it in a more casual space. In that sense, I also felt more comfortable throwing on a baseball cap over my rough hair day, knowing that my white tee-shirt allowed me to play down the more formal elements of my outfit. And of course, my cap had to rep Slytherin (we’re brave, not stupid) in full commitment to bringing this Harry Potter-esque cape fantasy to life.
Almost everything I own is monochromatic, and my shirts are no exception. I tend to favour neutrality in my wardrobe, so I was relieved this iteration of the style challenge didn’t have me digging too deep into the closet. It doesn’t fit me as nicely as it once did, but the easygoing comfort of a white tee evens out my doubts. The rest of my “outfit” is more function than form – I’m a musician in my off hours, and had to play a small festival in a sweltering record store later that evening. The shorts, like the tee, proved to be the right choice for a room of sweaty patrons.