The Basic White Men’s T-shirt: How to style a timeless design icon

T-shirts have been around forever. Originally designed to be worn as a vest underneath shirts, t-shirts have made their way out from under to be the main event. They’re easy to wear, easy to clean, timeless, versatile and mighty comfortable too. What’s not to love?

Choosing the right T-shirt for you will depend on a number of things. First of all, there’s how you want to wear your t-shirt, whether that’s under a shirt or jumper, tucked into trousers or loosely hanging over jeans, layered up with another tee or on its own – the options are endless. Then there are the colours and styles you like, where you’re wearing your t-shirt and how smart you need to look, how hard wearing, crease resistant or lightweight you want it to be for certain activities and how tight or loose you like to wear your clothes. Lots to think about!

In this blog we’ll look at how to style a basic white, what makes t-shirts so timeless, and how to find the perfect fit for you. 

The timeless appeal of basic white T-shirts

There’s something about a white t-shirt that just works. It never looks out of place, no matter where you find yourself in the world. Here’s why we love a basic white tee:

It’s eternally versatile

This simple, minimalist garment can be effortlessly paired with a wide range of outfits. It serves as a versatile foundation whatever your personal style or occasion. It works for smart casual, casual and sport equally well. It’s easy to pair with other pieces in your collection. And it just looks good on everyone.

It never gets old

The white t-shirt has stood the test of time and remains a fashion staple for men. Trends come and go, but the white t-shirt has maintained its relevance throughout decades of changing fashion preferences. 

It’s easy to style

White is a neutral colour that complements any skin tone and matches well with different colours and patterns. It serves as a blank canvas that allows other elements of an outfit to shine, making it an ideal choice for layering or incorporating statement pieces. It’s easy to integrate it into different outfits, saving time and effort when choosing what to wear.

It’s the comfiest thing around

A well-made white t-shirt typically offers a comfortable fit and is often crafted from breathable materials like cotton or linen. The lightweight and airy nature of these fabrics keeps you cool and calm whatever the weather. 

It’s iconic

The white t-shirt has been associated with various cultural icons and movements over the years. From James Dean's rebellious persona to Marlon Brando's portrayal in "A Streetcar Named Desire", the white t-shirt creates an iconic image.

It’s sturdy and durable

A high-quality white t-shirt, when properly cared for, can withstand frequent wear and last for years. This makes it a cost-effective investment in your wardrobe, as it can withstand the test of time whilst also maintaining its aesthetic appeal.

Styling tips for basic white T-shirts

Whether worn with jeans, shorts, chinos, or sweatpants, a white t-shirt provides a clean and timeless aesthetic. Here are a few ideas to get you started with styling a men’s white t-shirt:

Keep it minimalistic

Pair your white t-shirt with blue denim jeans for the ultimate timeless and casual look. You can play around with it, roll up the sleeves of your t-shirt, tuck it in for a throwback to the 1950s – or add a strong pair of sunglasses and a pair of sneakers to make it more modern.

Go for the layered look

Wear your white t-shirt as a base layer and add a crisp cotton shirt, flannel shirt, linen shirt, or even a lightweight jacket. You can wear your shirt open or buttoned up halfway whatever works for you. Combine with dark jeans or chinos for a buildable smart-casual feel. Depending on the weather you can finish the look with lace-up boots, trainers or even sandals.

Mix neutral tones

For a grown-up look, pair your white t-shirt with neutral tones like navy, stone, khaki or black. You can play with different textures and shades of neutrals to add depth to the outfit but avoid bright colours for this style. 

Make it more formal

For a slightly smarter look, tuck your white t-shirt into loose-fitting tailored trousers in black, navy or charcoal. This works well with a crew neck t-shirt in a loose fit. Layer a blazer or cashmere jumper over the top and complete the outfit with a smarter trainer or lace-up shoe. 

Kick back in athleisure

For the most relaxed, sporty and comfortable outfit, combine your white t-shirt with joggers or athletic shorts and trainers. If needed, you can add a pullover cotton hoodie or zip-up hoodie for warmth and a laid-back look.

Try streetwear style

Choose a more relaxed-fit white t-shirt with slightly longer sleeves and a looser fit to show off your streetwear style. Add wide-leg canvas trousers, a denim or canvas jacket, and Converse or trainers of your choice. Don’t forget your cashmere beanie if the temperature drops!

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Get creative and swap things out according to your personal style, the occasion, and of course the weather conditions. The white t-shirt's versatility allows you to explore different combinations to express your individuality.

Choosing the right fit and fabric

Finding the perfect fit

Ideally, you want your t-shirt to fit you just right but what just right is will depend on your style and preferences.

Some people like their t-shirts to be tight fitting, others a little more relaxed and others still like a baggy t-shirt that has plenty of room and movement. Browse a few t-shirt styles to find the right one for you. You might like a classic fit with short sleeves or a more relaxed, slouchier fit with dropped shoulders and slightly longer sleeves. You might even like thicker, heavyweight cotton that hangs slightly differently.

If buying online, check the size guide on the website to see what size will suit you best. 

The importance of breathable materials

Once you’ve found your perfect fit, you want your t-shirt to last. If it starts to wear through, thin or bobble, you’ll have to do all the work of finding your perfect white tee again. That’s why it’s best to look for good quality materials from the outset, then you know your t-shirt will last, wash after wash. Look for 100% long-staple or organic cotton and check if the t-shirt is a premium weight. Some companies will publish the gsm which helps you work that out.

It’s also best to avoid synthetic blends like cotton mixed with polyester. If you’re shopping in-store, take a look at the inside label to check this. These blends make your t-shirt much less breathable so you’ll end up hot and sweaty in no time. Synthetic fibres also hold onto smells more than natural fibres which will make you less popular in the office.

Best cotton T-shirts for men

Rise & Fall men's t-shirts: A library of highly wearable favourites

At Rise & Fall we like to design and create highly wearable, long-lasting staples. We call these modern everyday classics. And our T-shirt collection is a big part of this. T-shirts are the hard-working staples that you wear day in and day out, to work or at the weekend, for sports, adventures and supermarket shopping. A well-designed t-shirt, one that feels good, allows you to breathe and lasts for a long time will help you move through life with ease.

We believe in buying fewer but better things, to focus on what matters. That’s why our t-shirts are designed with:

  • Highly breathable organic cotton that feels super soft against your skin
  • Timeless styles you won’t tire of
  • A high-quality finish
  • Premium weight fabric that will last and last
  • Garment washed to maintain shape and style 

Better for our manufacturers, better for the environment, and ultimately — better for you.

Explore our t-shirts for men

From slouchy long-sleeve tees to classic fitting short-sleeve t-shirts, available in all sorts of timeless colours, we’ve got just the right amount of t-shirts for you to choose from. Enough that you’ll find your perfect fit but not so much that you’ll be overwhelmed by the choice itself. Browse the full t-shirt library to choose from some of the best t-shirts for men in the UK. 

Classic tees

Our classic tees are cut for a relaxed fit. They’re slightly loose with short sleeves and fit well under a jumper or long sleeve shirt. They’re available in both long and short sleeve styles in a range of neutral colours, pastels and stripes. 

Relaxed tees

Cut for a slouchier fit with dropped shoulders and loose sleeves, our relaxed tees bring a streetwear feel. They come in three styles, a short sleeve crew neck, a long sleeve crewneck and a heavyweight short-sleeved crew neck for those who like a slightly boxier feel. They’re available in a range of neutral and brighter colours, as well as in a few stripe options too. 

Polo shirts

A great choice for smart casual wear, our polo shirts have a little something extra. They’re cut for a relaxed fit with slightly loose, short sleeves and use a typical pique construction that is highly breathable, durable and resistant to creasing. They create a timeless silhouette wherever you wear them. 

The classic cotton crewneck t-shirt

A crew neck t-shirt has lasting appeal. It won’t go out of style and is easy to pair with just about anything. Our men’s cotton crewneck t-shirts are available in a range of colours and styles, both long and short sleeves, relaxed and classic fit. If you’re after a classic fit, long-sleeve burgundy tee, we’ve got it. If you’re after a relaxed fit, lilac stripe, short sleeve t-shirt, we’ve got that too.

Our crewneck t-shirts are made with premium weight, 100% organic cotton for long-lasting softness, comfortable and breathable wear. They’re made by the same manufacturer as multiple leading luxury brands – but thanks to our unique supply chain, they’re a fraction of the price! Explore the collection here.

Building a capsule wardrobe

A versatile t-shirt collection

To build your stylish and comfortable capsule wardrobe, you’ll need a small selection of high-quality t-shirts. 

Select a few essential styles, colours, and fits that can be mixed and matched with other items in your wardrobe. Here are a few things to aim for:

  • Include some neutral colours like white, navy or grey
  • Mix up the sleeve lengths so you’re ready for all weathers
  • Invest in high-quality and breathable fabrics that will last a long time
  • Stick to classic shapes and minimalist designs like a basic white tee or simple stripes
  • Aim for around 7 t-shirts, ensuring you have enough options without overwhelming your closet
  • Once you’ve found a style you really love, invest in another of the same style or consider buying men’s multipack t-shirts

Best T-shirts for men in the UK

Why our t-shirts are the best:

  • They feel soft and lush against your skin
  • They’re made in a premium weight, for that perfect drape
  • Organic cotton lasts longer so you can buy less
  • They’re garment-washed to maintain their shape and size
  • They come in a range of timeless styles you’ll love forever
  • They’re priced at 50-80% less than their equivalent quality in other shops

Remember, the goal is to create a manageable collection of versatile items that can be mixed and matched at will. By selecting high-quality, long-lasting t-shirts in neutral colours, you'll have a foundation for a functional and stylish t-shirt library of your own. Start with your perfect white tee, practice styling it with the above ideas and take it from there.

Explore our range of basic men’s t-shirts today. Order a few styles and colours to your home with free shipping for over £75. Try them on with your favourite jeans, shorts, sweatpants and trousers to find your perfect match