An ultimate T-shirt guide

The humble t-shirt, a wardrobe staple since time immemorial, often gets relegated to the realm of casual Fridays and lazy Sundays. But what if I told you it wears a rich history dating back to the 19th century and remains irreplaceable in our wardrobe?

Let’s revisit the story of this wardrobe staple and explore the styling inspirations by Galerie Mode!

Did you know…

The t-shirt's ancestry can be traced back to the 19th century, where laborers, seeking comfort in hot weather, cut one-piece union suits into separate "T-shaped" tops. These early versions lacked buttons and collars, serving purely as functional undergarments.

Born from the practical realm of undergarments, the t-shirt's journey to iconic status is a testament to its adaptability. In the early 20th century, it migrated from military barracks to factory floors, a symbol of hard work and utilitarian ease. Soon, Hollywood caught on, using it to clothe rebels and cowboys, cementing its image in popular culture.

The humble t-shirt, a wardrobe staple for over a century, has transcended its utilitarian origins to become a canvas for self-expression, cultural commentary, and everyday comfort.

British sailors had begun wearing white T-shirts by the late 19th century

Veronica Lake, 1943

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, 1974

How to choose a good t-shirt

Since the t-shirt is a wardrobe staple, choosing a good t-shirt from the start saves you a lot of time and effort later on. Consider aspects such as materials, weight, yarn quality, fit and style.

Choose cotton fabrics:

  • Natural cotton: Opt for natural (or better, organic) cotton for a more sustainable choice and gentler feel on your skin.
  • Thickness: Choose cotton that feels just the right thickness. While cotton is highly breathable, too much thickness may cause you to feel discomforted when sweating. Around 210gsm like this cotton t-shirt from Gosker is ideal.
  • Shrinkage: Choose pre-shrunk cotton or wash cold and hang dry to minimize shrinkage.

Testing and comparing:

  • Feel the fabric in person for softness and comfort.
  • Check stitching quality and details like neckline finishing.
  • Compare prices and brands to find the best value for your needs.

Bonus tips:

  • When in doubt, size up for a more relaxed fit or size down for a snugger one.
  • Invest in a few high-quality, versatile t-shirts rather than many cheap ones.
  • Experiment with different styles and necklines to discover your perfect fit.

T-shirt styling inspirations

Embrace the endless potential of your t-shirt drawer. We'll explore how a simple t-shirt can be dressed up for chic office wear, down for laid-back weekend vibes, or transformed into a statement piece.

City Chic

Oversized cream t-shirt with poplin shortsAdd a colorful waterproof green striped mini tote and sport shoes for a modern athleisure look.

Daily Parisian

Classic look with an oversized black t-shirt, cream long jeans and a raffia cloche hat for a vintage Parisian look, done in a modern way. Add a raffia belt to tone down even more the look to be on the feminine side.

Dressing up

T-shirts and pearls, an unlikely duo at first glance, can be surprisingly chic when styled with intention. The white oversized t-shirt makes a perfect canvas for a white wool bucket hat with pearls around the brim. Elevate the look with a touch of edge from a black raffia shoulder bag, also embellished with pearls. Complete the look with pearl hoop earrings and a playful touch of the lipstick necklace bag.

Mixing high and low

Mixing high and low is a styling trick that strikes the right balance between classy items and more accessible pieces. In this look, you pair a classic printed t-shirt and cotton shorts with an artisanal visor hat handcrafted from natural raffia, and a subtle touch of elegance from a pearl necklace and long drop heart earrings. A powerful piece to elevate this look is the artisanal raffia bag with delicate details that scream quiet luxury. 

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