Seven essential T-shirt styles every man should have in his wardrobe

Show us a man without at least one T-shirt in his closet and we'll show you a nudist.

The humble tee is one of the key building blocks in any guy's wardrobe, one that probably entered his style repertoire soon after entering the world and highly likely to stay there until he checks out of it again.

As with most things these days, like choosing a toothpaste or a Senate candidate, there's way too many options out there, so permit us to break it down for you.

The crew neck

A timeless, all round classic, the crew neck suits most men. The narrow neck opening creates a boxier silhouette that flatters guys with slighter torsos or shoulders.

Simple? Maybe.

For starters,  you need to get the fit right (although this applies to any type of tee). A frumpy cut looks good on precisely no one — aim for relaxed but snug, not baggy or circulation-restricting tightness.

The crew neck is a solid standalone or looks great under a button-up — fun fact: its original purpose was as a military undershirt, hence the 'crew' moniker. Wear it under a leather jacket like a rebel without a cause a la James Dean.

The V-neck or scoop neck

Essentially a slight twist on the classic with a wider neckline … just don't go too wide. These are good for guys with short necks or buff blokes after extra room to accommodate their traps.

The best way to wear this one is: subtly. Everyone has witnessed the abuse of V- and scoop- necks by narcissists and show ponies who think there's no such thing as a neckline that's too plunging for a man to wear (hint: there is).

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Stick to a shallower neckline and you'll be safe.

Star inspiration: Take your cue from style leader Paul Newman. Or if you've no idea who that is, Chris Hemsworth for a more modern reference.

The polo shirt

Great when you need something with more polish. This preppy member of the family works for anyone looking to elevate their tee game, especially older guys wanting to graduate from more basic cuts.

Polos were trending hard on the Spring 2017 runway, cropping up at Armani, Canali, Hermes and Dsquared2, among others. It'll smarten up shorts, denim and chinos, or tone down a blazer when shirting is too much. The collar can be worn buttoned or not, but it should never, under any circumstances, be 'popped'.

Star inspiration: Check out Leonardo DiCaprio or, if you're old school, Rock Hudson.

The Henley

With its button-up neckline, the Henley strikes a nice balance between the basic crew neck and the nattier polo.

The polo's collarless cousin offers a little more detail and excitement than a plain old crew, but there's a line that shouldn't be crossed. The depth of the placket (and subsequent number of buttons) can vary wildly. Generally you want at least the top button nonchalantly unfastened, just don't go to pec-baring extremes—if you get the fit and fabrication right, a Henley will showcase your chest quite nicely without having to expose actual cleavage.

Star inspiration: For guidance, look no further than man of the moment Ryan Gosling.

The long-line tee

This edgier cut is suited to tall, lean physiques – and works better for the kind of guy who can get away with a more directional look, who is usually, but not always, younger.

As far as wearing, it's all about proportion play. Fabric that drapes well is important, but what makes or breaks the look is what it's worn with. Balance the oversized silhouette with slim pants (baggy dacks + baggy top = sloppy). The top is a statement in itself, so stick to clean, simple separates in classic colours.

Star inspiration: For all his outbursts, Kanye West has this style down to a, well, tee.

Printed tees

For a while in the '90s a T-shirt emblazoned with a rock band, brand logo or collegiate emblem was all the rage.

With the decade in the midst of a fashionable revival, there's plenty of the same knocking around, but there's a fine line between ironic and moronic. The best rule of thumb is to steer away from anything juvenile, lewd or offensive. Better still, opt for a more modern look with graphic or geometric designs and cool digital prints.

Star inspiration: Channel Justin Theroux's slick approach to style to get it right

Stripes

Get in line with a style classic that will work for almost anyone who likes their clothes timeless but interesting.

To wear it, just ask yourself do you prefer a finer Breton stripe (with its French naval origins) or a chunkier rugby-style stripe, which you can expect to see more of this year. The former is more versatile, the latter leans towards the casual side of the equation. If stripes feel like a bit of strong look, try them under a button up shirt or a blazer for a pop of print.

Star inspiration: If it's good enough for both Jean Paul Gaultier, Picasso and Kurt Cobain, it's good enough for you.

Check out the gallery above to see a selection of the best tees, henleys and polos to get.

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