EletiofeBest Fitting T-Shirts for Men (According to a Savile...

Best Fitting T-Shirts for Men (According to a Savile Row Tailor)

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Dad Bods Look Here

True Classic White Crew Neck T-Shirt

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For Premium Hunters

Sunspel Men’s Classic T-Shirt

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Swede Dreams Are Made of This

Asket The T-Shirt (White)

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For Custom-Fit Fans

Son of a Tailor Cotton T-Shirt

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Everyone has a favorite T-shirt. Most right now covet Jeremy Allen White’s from The Bear. For WIRED senior editor Jeremy Allen White, it’s one of his prized In-N-Out Burger designs—but lately, across his social media feeds, he’s been inundated by brands claiming he’s wrong and that they have unlocked the secret to creating The Perfect T-Shirt.

Some use heritage as a sales strategy, others target body insecurities, while a new breed of online fashion brands are turning to high-tech lasers and adaptive algorithms to create custom T-shirts, tailored to you. But which is best?

The nine T-shirt brands tested have all claimed (primarily on Instagram) to make the perfect T-shirt or words to that effect. Some, such as Spoke and Son of a Tailor, make shirts to order based on the findings of an online questionnaire, while others sell a varying choice of sizes, cuts, and lengths.

Obviously, fit is personal, and everybody is shaped differently, so to get the measure of each brand, Jeremy was joined by UK managing editor Mike Dent and contributing editor Chris Haslam, all of whom are different shapes and sizes, and—crucially—all have contrasting ideas around what makes the perfect T-shirt.

Davide Taub, head cutter at world-famous Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes, graded the T-shirts.

Photograph: Gieves & Hawkes

Gieves & Hawkes’ headquarters at 1 Savile Row in London where WIRED tested the tees.

Photograph: Gieves & Hawkes

And because fit is only part of the puzzle, WIRED sought the help of Davide Taub, head cutter at world-famous Savile Row bespoke tailor Gieves & Hawkes. Hawkes, which has been a royal tailor since 1789, purchased its London headquarters in 1913, establishing “the Row” as an epicenter for fine tailoring. So it is fitting then that Taub passed his expert eye, and fingers, over the quality of the fabrics and stitching used. It’s worth remembering that we didn’t discuss pricing with him.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but can the custom-fit, algorithmically driven designs really size you up like a professional? And perhaps most importantly, is there a cure (aside from hard work, diet, and exercise) for the dreaded Dad Bod?

  • Photograph: True Classic

    Dad Bods Look Here

    True Classic White Crew Neck T-Shirt

    “Our premium tees … accentuate the arms and shoulders to make you stand out and feel great … Side effects may include: Hyper Confidence, Extreme Charisma, Bloated Ego.”

    Not a day goes by without at least one of True Classic’s adverts entering our feeds. They promote clothes based around the “it’s not you, it’s them” approach, with the fit of your existing T-shirts to blame for you looking bad, rather than your flabby bits. How? Each tee is fitted around the arms, shoulder, and chest, much like a gym shirt, but far more relaxed (read: forgiving) through the body.

    Does it work? “To my shame, the ‘dad bod’ fit is perfect and the neck size is not too big, not too small, just right,” says Jeremy White. That said, WIRED is not impressed with the use of 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester, which makes it far more likely to end up in landfill or get incinerated. And when it does degrade, it will ultimately contribute to marine pollution.

    Taub felt the “stretch is so soft, and instinctively feels more comfortable, something you could happily go to the gym in.” And the “construction is fairly standard, and in keeping with the majority we’ve tested.” Mike Dent struggled with the extra length and volume of material, which made his midriff look peculiar, but he had to admit that it’s “so comfy, I’d probably wear it to death as pajamas.” Chris Haslam was nonplussed by the stretchy fit, and felt it “did nothing for me, aside from making me self-conscious about wearing such a snug-fitting top.”

  • Photograph: Sunspel

    For Premium Hunters

    Sunspel Men’s Classic T-Shirt

    “We made the world’s first luxury T-shirt in 1908, and have been perfecting it ever since … Our T-shirts are the best you’ll ever wear.”

    A British brand dating back 160 years, Sunspel specializes in luxury basics such as this made-in-England Classic T-shirt tested. They also have mid- and heavyweight options, plus a more premium tee woven from the rarest handpicked Sea Island cotton.

    Taub was instantly drawn to the construction of the Classic: “The neckline is just a bit more sophisticated, as it is made of the same cloth rather than just a generic trim like the rest here. The construction is consistent with the others; they’ve not done anything especially unique, but it does feel like really nice cotton, and just a little more sophisticated. It is thin though, so maybe best used as a layer.” But he was “disappointed” by the finishing of the neck, where the seam is left exposed, instead of finished smooth like most of the others. “It seems a cheap, quick way of doing it,” says Taub. Mike, a longtime fan of the brand, was left bereft by the comments, noting that “once seen, you can’t unsee the rather ragged finish.”

    The softness and feel of the cotton used and the grown-up cut means this T-shirt feels premium. Those of us more used to Fruit of the Loom are in for a treat. The cut is snug but flattering, with an excellent length for all WIRED’s testers, although it’s not especially forgiving for dad bods. And while not an issue if choosing one of the colors available, the white is sheer, and nobody needs chest hair and nipples on show—especially not in the WIRED offices.

    Can a $95 tee ever be considered good value? We’ve not been wearing our samples long enough to test durability, but Mike assures us that despite feeling thin, he has several still going strong after five years.

  • Photograph: Asket

    Swede Dreams Are Made of This

    Asket The T-Shirt (White)

    “As classic as they come.”

    Swedish brand ASKET, which translates as “a person who does without extravagance and abundance,” admittedly sounds quite dour, but their minimalist collection of wardrobe staples defines Scandi-cool, and their laser-cut, sustainable manufacturing, and business transparency puts most fashion brands to shame.

    Their 100 percent long-staple cotton, 180 grams per square meter T-shirts are available in 18 sizes (!), with long, regular, and short lengths. Taub was impressed by the quality but noticed a few foibles. “It feels more durable than the Sunspel, but it does have the same cheaply finished collar,” he said, “Although they have at least tacked it down. They’ve also skipped some of the features around the neck found on the Son of a Tailor.”

    As for fit, ASKET performed admirably, with Mike praising the cut and the “premium, dressy vibe, with a neat, un-flappy fit that I found very flattering.” Chris was also impressed: “It’s a great-fitting tee in a quality fabric. The shorter length offers a smarter silhouette, while the regular length still looks good, albeit more relaxed.” Jeremy was also positive, although ideally, he’d prefer a slightly less boxy shape.

  • Photograph: Son of a Tailor

    For Custom-Fit Fans

    Son of a Tailor Cotton T-Shirt

    “Custom fit means you get garments perfectly fitted to you, and you only.”

    Like Spoke, Danish brand Son of a Tailor purports to whip up the perfect fit via an online questionnaire based on height, weight, chest-to-waist ratio, and so on. They also offer a free remake guarantee, and, uniquely, you can log in to your profile and tweak the chest and waist width, as well as length by increments of 0.4 inches (1 centimeter). Other custom-fit options include your choice of crew or V-neck in classic or single stitch, plus two sleeve options and initial monogramming for no extra cost. It’s impressively comprehensive, and each T-shirt is laser cut in their own factory, and handmade.

    Made using 100 percent extra-long-staple Supima cotton in either medium (150 g/m2), or heavy-weight (200 g/m2) fabrics, the lighter of the two feels delightfully smooth—almost synthetic—while the heavier thread count falls extremely nicely while feeling premium.

    Initially impressed by the feel and fit, especially the length, Mike was disappointed to find the two weights of cotton T-shirts were quite different in sizing, with the medium being “flappy in all the wrong places.” This could well be a machine error, but it was too noticeable not to mention. No issues with the other T-shirts, with our testers being impressed by both cut, and feel, but all three felt that the neck was just a bit big. Taub also liked the quality of the stitching used. “The overlocking is quite clean,” he said, “and out of the packet they feel soft and luxurious—they’ve taken it slightly further than the others with really nice shoulder and neck detailing.”

  • Photograph: Spoke

    The Quality Cotton Option

    Spoke Original T-Shirt

    “A T-shirt that fits. Properly.”

    Spoke, as in “bespoke,” makes a big show of its ability to create something fitted to you. Input height, age, weight, waist, typical size, your general thoughts on sizing up, slim fit trousers, how you’d describe your build, and, for some reason, even how tight you fasten your watch, and the algorithm assigns you a size profile that should ensure a perfect fit every time. With T-shirts, this equates to sizes from S to XXL, with “half-sizes” M+ and L+, plus, slim and regular cuts, and short, regular, and long lengths. Spoke also offers a no-quibble 200-day trial—which, sadly all three of our testers needed to take advantage of.

    The quality of cotton is spot on, and Taub liked that “they’ve incorporated cute ideas here from traditional shirt making.” These “clever uses of the trimmings” include colorful hidden stitching and gussets at the hem. But, sadly, the Spoke custom fits were all over the place. One was overly baggy, one uncomfortably tight, and the third had the most peculiar pointy shoulders as if the hanger had been left in. Taub was brutal: “Basically the shape of the sleeve isn’t correct for the shape of the armhole.”

    Had we tried on the shirts in a retail store, we would never have bought the sizes allocated to us by the algorithm. Chris, for instance, shies away from anything with “slim” on the label, but in this case, it would have fitted him better, as his second attempt attested to. But there’s no escaping that 0 for 3 is a terrible hit rate.

  • Photograph: Rapanui

    Super Sustainable

    Rapanui Men’s Organic Cotton T-Shirt

    “We’ve spent a decade obsessing over the perfect weight, the perfect fit.”

    Arguably the most sustainable T-shirt brand in the UK, Rapanui uses 155 g/m2 certified organic cotton and is GM free. The factories in the UK, EU, and India are powered by renewable energy, all packaging is plant-based, 95 percent of the water used in production is recirculated and recovered, and they have a take-back policy for old garments that are then recycled.

    So you’re guaranteed a warm fuzzy feeling when you wear the T-shirt, but do you look good? The material is fairly lightweight and lacks the premium feel of, say, Son of Tailor’s Supima cotton, and doesn’t feel as hard-wearing as the Uniqlo range, but it’s by no means terrible. Taub liked the “nice lightweight feel,” but was a bit concerned by the neckline, which “shows a little bit of puckering, like it has been stretched already, but they have put effort into other areas with the shoulder and neck stitching protected.”

    The chest, arm, and shoulder fit was true to size for all our testers, although Mike did feel it was a bit “unshapely through the body, while also being an inch or two longer than I’d like.” But in reality, the combination of sustainability, eco-credentials, and exceptional value makes it a great choice for basics.

  • Photograph: Mott & Bow

    Bring the Bespoke

    Mott & Bow Classic Crew Driggs Tee

    “Our fit is designed to make you look good by enhancing shoulder width, elongating torso, and increasing bicep fit. Not too tight or too loose. Just right.”

    An online-only US clothing brand, Mott & Bow uses Peruvian cotton, and the Driggs tee feels smooth and fine without being sheer like the Sunspel. Available in XS to XXXL, there’s nothing in the way of bespoke options here, but the fit was impressive for all our testers.

    Mike reported no under-arm ruching and nicely fitted sleeves and shoulders. While Jeremy loved the feel of the cotton and the fit, he felt it might look better after a few washes. Equal praise from Chris, who liked the fit across the shoulders and not-too-long cut, although the fact it requires a cold wash (instead of the typical 40 degrees Celsius) invariably means it will languish in the laundry basket for quite a long time between wears. But it has been prewashed, so shrinkage should be minimal.

    As for stitching quality, Taub said that “the overlocking is clean, and, to me, it feels like a slightly heavier version of the Sunspel,” which is significant, given these cost half as much and fitted our subjects universally well.

  • Photograph: Colourful Standard

    An Eco and Classic Option

    Colorful Standard Classic Organic Tee (Optical White)

    “If you’re still searching for that favorite, it’s right here! Already got one? It’s met its match.”

    Another Danish fashion house doing cool things with 180-gram organic cotton. Colorful Standard produces basics in a giddying array of hues, with sizes from XS to XXL. Each tee uses ecofriendly dye, is PETA-approved vegan and made in Portugal, and comes prewashed for a softer, broken-in feel.

    “In recent years, Portugal has become a real base for made-to-measure quality garments,” Taub said, “and this is nicely produced. Very similar in construction to Son of a Tailor, with nice neck stitching, and protection over the back of the neck that will give the item more longevity.”

    For a brand aimed squarely at Gen Z, the basic men’s T-shirt is surprisingly grownup-looking, sitting nicely between the dressed-up luxe of Sunspel and a gym t-shirt, with fitted but not overly tight sleeves, true-to-sizing across the shoulders, and a flattering paunch-concealing drape.

    Mike’s only real criticism here, something echoed by both Chris and Jeremy, was that the cut is slightly too long. Jeremy was pleasantly surprised by the fit: “For me it has a Goldilocks neck, perfect on the arms and flattering in the body, and while it doesn’t feel as premium as Son of a Tailor, it’s a great option at a good price.”

  • Photograph: Uniqlo

    Big in Japan

    Uniqlo U Crew Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt

    “Our goal: the perfect T-shirt.”

    A global retailer worth around $9.6 billion, Uniqlo is the biggest brand on test, and with 1,000 retail outlets worldwide, there’s plenty of scope to try in-store before you buy. They’ve got a wide selection of T-shirts, including on-trend oversize designs, and those made using their polyester Airism fabrics, but we opted for the classic 100 percent cotton heavyweight tee (XXS to 3XL), from the Uniqlo U collection. The first thing Taub noticed was the thickness of the cotton used. “It’s not luxurious, and rather heavy-handed,” he said, “But there’s no reason to doubt that this T-shirt will last a really long time.”

    Chris loved the cut of this T-shirt, although he downsized to a small for a more fitted look, and unlike Jeremy, who had issues with the collar “that made me look like a Playmobil character,” he felt it worked well here. Jeremy was sold on the overall fit. “The thickness of the fabric and attention to detail makes it feel far more premium than the price suggests, although the roomy arms and boxy shape will appeal to a younger audience.”

    Mike wasn’t as keen, preferring a closer cut, but he did think it fitted well across the shoulders and chest. The cotton felt “quite coarse” compared to the rest, and it has zero stretch. Mike also questioned how well the shirts washed, but so far, we’ve had no issues there, and the thickness eliminates the need to iron.

  • Photograph: Mott & Bow

    Who Won Our ‘Perfect’ Tee Test?

    SCORES:

    Mott & Bow — M8 / C8 / J7 — TOTAL: 23

    Colorful Standard — M8 / C7 / J8 — TOTAL: 23

    Asket — M7 / C8 / J7 — TOTAL: 22

    Son of a Tailor — M5 / C8 / J7 — TOTAL: 20

    Uniqlo — M6 / C7 / J6 — TOTAL: 19

    Sunspel — M7 / C5 / J6 — TOTAL: 18

    Rapanui — M5 / C6 / J6 — TOTAL: 18

    True Classic — M5 / C4 / J7 — TOTAL: 16

    Spoke — M4 / C4 / J4 — TOTAL: 12

    Both ASKET and Mott & Bow produce high-quality T-shirts off the peg, but ASKET’s extensive choice of sizes, including width and length, should ensure everyone can find something that looks and feels great. Uniqlo seems to have created a superb-value, indestructible design that will last for years, while Colorful Standard proves that prewashed, hipster-approved organic tees can look great on all body shapes.

    Of the two bespoke brands, Son of a Tailor was far superior to Spoke. The use of quality (albeit not organic) Supima cotton in a choice of weights, combined with a flattering, premium look and the ability to tweak subsequent designs to suit stands them apart, despite the strange discrepancy in sizing. Spoke failed to impress, although the remake of Chris’ original shirt was a significant improvement.

    Taub isn’t surprised that the online algorithm approach isn’t, as yet, foolproof. “Getting people that aren’t experienced inputting their measurements is flawed. You could never get a customer to send their measurements accurately. I’m also surprised none of these brands ask for a simple photograph, as it would really add a dimension.”

    But he does concede that “if you understand that the first T-shirt [ordered online] isn’t going to be the best, and instead consider it a journey with a brand you’re willing to trust and support—and that will still be in existence in the future—you will learn what looks good on you. Through trial and error, you will be able to get a custom fit from a factory-made garment. But from what I’ve seen so far, none of them really have been better than you just spending two days going to every single shop, and checking them out for yourself.”

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