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What is better than slipping on a plain white T-shirt? The plain fitted curved hem tee should be a staple in every man’s or woman’s wardrobe; the style piece for every occasion. Day or evening wear, as long as worn with the right pair of jeans or smart shorts.
Simple and stylish, the t-shirt is the default item of apparel for most guys whatever the occasion. Bought in bulk, often from the same brand we faithfully return to time after time. The long-term favourite tees last longer and have more sentimental value than most of my relationships.
The History of the T-Shirt
T-shirts have come a long way since being handed out as part of the US Navy uniform, becoming popular in mainstream culture in the 1950’s thanks to Marlon Brando.
With the introduction of screen printing not long afterwards, personalisation and design came into play. But the plain tee will never go out of fashion, the style lasting a lot longer than the clothes. But why is this?
It seems some brands have started to focus more on making a profit than good quality clothes. Producing the tees on the cheap and relying on the brand name is sell them is fine if you are Primark.
But when paying £30 for a new tshirt, people are right to expect a level of quality. From a lot of brands, customers are reporting purchases are falling apart quicker, or losing the shape. Some even are developing holes around the seams. It’s important to wash your clothes at the right temperature, and insert a clothes hanger from the bottom of the t-shirt rather than stretching the neck.
What to consider when buying a new T-Shirt
So if you are looking for something new, we can help. Let us explain what makes the perfect fitted t-shirt. When buying a new t-shirt, then pay attention to these crucial things – fit, fabric, feel, colour, style, and function.
You want your fitted t-shirt to hug your body like a beer jacket on a cold night. The best ones show the muscles but hide the sins. If you can get it right, you will look like you frequent the gym more than the pub.
100% Cotton sounds excellent, but a 10% Polyester mix keeps the shape better, making the fabric more durable. The stretch is ideal for those who work on sculpturing their bodies and want to show it off.
In the urban wear fashion scene, curved hem tees tend to come as part of the core collections. The logo is either colour matching or contrasting.
Most brands tend to keep the core range consistent, so are the safe colours of white, black, grey, blue, green, or red. For 2018 we saw summer floral patterns, and in 2019 it was stripes.
There are always the usual attempts to be stand out; with flowers, birds, tie-dye, moths or skulls designs. Mostly these bold designs can rarely pass as evening wear.
There is often resistance to spend £30 on a t-shirt when the high street can offer them for a bargain price. But these mass-produced tees rarely hold shape and falls apart after a few washes.
Wearing a well-made tee that lasts for years make you feel a million dollars. If it is manufactured correctly you will be able to tell the difference, and with poor quality t-shirts if the fabric is not hot-washed before production the t-shirt could shrink.
What are the styles of T-shirts?
With the reliance on internet shopping, it’s handy to know what styles are out there. Firstly there is neckline which is pretty self-explanatory with low hanging round scoop necks, the round standard crew neck, and the V Necks. Polo Shirts are collared, and sleeveless tees have no sleeves obv. But what about the styles that are not so obvious?
What is a curved hem t shirt?
A curved hem t-shirt gets it name from the rounded bottom hemline. The standard hemline t-shirt style is a straight cut, and streetwear styles often favours the curved hem. This means a longer style but with easy access to pockets and a figure-hugging fit.
The style can be called Scallop hemmed, particularly in the USA where it was gained popularity in the Hip Hop scene. Sik Silk were always heavily influenced by American Culture and can be credited as a forerunner of the style in UK streetwear.
The curved hem tee fit might not be for everyone, so let’s detail some other styles.
The distressed Tee
So what is a distressed t-shirt? It’s the practice of intentional distressing clothes, to make them appear worn and torn. More common with jeans that have rips and slashes in the fabric giving a pre-worn look. Or Hobo-Chique as the Editor calls it.
It gained popularity in Camden Town in 1970s London with the punk movement particularly around, blurring the line of being fashionable and mistaken for homeless.
So there you go, while Gen Z may think they are the coolest people on the planet shopping at Boohoo, they are actually dressing in styles from their parents generation which they probably deem the uncool people on the planet.
Do you want further proof that fashion goes in cycles and is repeated? The Skinny jeans favoured by the modern Fashionista and made popular by Hera London, were first popular in the 1950’s rock and roll era and were likely worn by your Grandparents.
The oversized T-shirt
An oversized t-shirt is baggy and has sleeves that come down to the elbow. It’s basically 2 sizes too big but with the neckline the right size. So if an item of clothing is described as “true to size”, it just means it fits as per the standard sizing.
Not to be confused with a longline T-shirt which is just longer than usual sizing, but the rest of the fit is the same (see below)
If you are below the average height you might want to try this on first to make sure it gives you the look you want.
According to the Editor, baggy tees were the rage in the 90’s so this is another fashion style repeating. Although oversized does not mean baggy, it’s just a loser fit and much more comfortable.
The muscle fit tee
A muscle fit t-shirt is cut close like a fitted tee, but is often a cotton mix with elastane rather than polyester to give enough stretch to cover the guns.
Make no mistake, this makes no attempt to promote anything but the upper arms, so those with a bit of extra girth might want a thicker and baggier fitted tee and leave the muscle fit shirt to the Gym-goers, athletes and weight-lifters.
But if you have spent many hours toning and working on your body, this is the perfect style for you.
The Raglan T-shirt
The Raglan t-shirt is the style when the sleeves extend to the collar, rather than ending with the shoulder. Normally the sleeves are contrasting colour, as shown in this Sinners Attire tee.
The style is named after Lord Raglan who had a specially designed coat produced after losing his arm in the Battle of Waterloo.
In modern times it is more associated with American Basketball.
The Longline Tee
Not to be confused with the oversized tee, the longline T-shirt is longer than the average cut.
Usually covering the pockets and sometimes going as far as the knees much like a t-shirt dress. This style can sometimes have side splits to give easy access.
Similiar to this style is the drop tail tee which has a longer rear, similar to that of a tailcoat. Again the side split makes this style easier to design and manufacturer to allow for the extra length at the back.
This style did not take off as much on the UK urban scene and again was popular in US Hip Hop.
Conclusion on curved hem tees
We hope that goes some way to explaining the history of t-shirts and the various styles available, but please put any questions in the comments.