Basics Instincts: A Guide to the Best T-Shirts and Undershirts

The best T-shirts are both basic and beautiful. T-shirts serves as the canvas of a man’s wardrobe upon which the day’s outfit is mixed and layered. Bold colors, neutrals, or the classic black or white — choose one and let the rest of your outfit grow around it.

But what should you look for when buying a basic T-shirt and which is most important?

What to Look for When Buying a T-Shirt

  • Cut: This is arguably the most important aspect of a t-shirt. It’s how the shirt fits. From slim-fit to athletic to a regular cut, each body type requires an appropriate cut to look good. Knowing your body type will help you determine what cut of shirt you’re looking for. Knowing the cut that fits your body, means you’ll never mess up your silhouette every again.
  • Fabric: What the shirt is made of. Cotton, polyester, wool, cashmere, or a blend.
  • Style: It’s the design aspect of the shirt, not the build. Think undershirts, pocket tees, classic crews, v-necks, and long- and short-sleeves.

Now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s get into it. To learn more about T-shirts, we reached out to Tim Morse, the co-founder and president of Richer Poorer, to tell us a little bit about his company how to look good in a tee.

richer poorer crew pocket tee gray
Richer Poorer/Facebook

The Manual: Richer Poorer — that’s a name that sparks intrigue. What does a name like that say about your brand?

Tim Morse: The juxtaposition of the words Richer Poorer is at the heart of of everything we do from a product perspective — what we stand for as a brand and as humans. Our belief was that products don’t have to be expensive to feel expensive. On a human level, I’ve been fortunate to travel the world, and a reoccurring theme I saw throughout my travels was that some of the wealthiest people I came across had the most angst and seemed generally unhappy. Conversely, I’d meet people with almost nothing or a kid with a soccer ball and no shoes who had smiles for miles. Hence the traditional constructs of “rich” and “poor” I really began to question.

TM: One of our favorite parts about your company’s pocket tee is the cut. It wears comfortably and casually without being too “regular” or too “slim.” Can you tell us what your approach to fit is?

Tim Morse: Thanks for the great feedback. I believe it all starts with fit, so when developing our tee, we decided to take a couture approach to the design process. We spent over a year working on the details. Sampling and re-sampling, sourcing the rights materials, sketching, and pulling in pattern makers until were able to deliver what we felt was the best product in the market for fit, feel, quality, and price. Tees are one of the few pieces of clothing people have a strong emotional connection with. Our goal was to invoke that connection from the first time you meet a [Richer Poorer] tee.

TM: How can I best wear a tee to look good? Any tips on style here?

Tim Morse: What I love about our tees is that they are multi-dimensional, providing both style and function. From a style perspective, I’m a big fan of throwing our tee on with a jean jacket or a cardigan sweater to head to the office or out to dinner. Our long-sleeve tee is great with a pair of [Richer Poorer] sweat pants, hoodie … for a winter morning coffee run and surf check. I also wear my tee to the gym all the time for a super basic look. They say you’re not supposed to work out in cotton, which is total BS. Prior to developing our pocket tee, I had very little experience in wearing one. Now that it’s part of my daily uniform, I’ve become heavily reliant on the functionality of the pocket. Who knew!

The Best T-Shirts and Undershirts


Tommy John Second Skin Crew Neck – $43
best mens t shirts undershirts tommy john undershirt

Built with luxurious stretch fabrics and a patented “stay-tucked” design, this undershirt from Tommy John truly does feel like a second skin. Plus, it comes outfitted with a special memory collar that snaps back into place with each wear.

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Pair of Thieves SuperSoft Crew Neck T-Shirt – $20
best mens t shirts undershirts pair of thieves undershirt

Natural fibers make this Pair of Thieves undershirt soft and breathable, resulting in a cool wearing experience. Perfect solo or tucked underneath a denim jacket, this shirt is bound to become your new favorite.

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Pocket Tees

Richer Poorer Pocket Tee – $34
best mens t shirts undershirts richer poorer crew pocket tee

A relaxed silhouette makes this pocketed tee from Richer Poorer an ideal everyday go-to. Available in a wide array of colors, you can stock up on a handful of these bad boys for all sorts of different outfits.

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Frank and Oak Loose Fit Pocket Tee – $35
best mens t shirts undershirts frank and oak pocket tee

This pocket tee from Frank and Oak is made from a cotton/polyester blend, so has a comfortable and relaxed fit. Pair with dark jeans and a baggy cardigan for an effortlessly stylish winter look.

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Mott & Bow Crew Neck – $30
best mens t shirts undershirts mott and bow crew shirt

The Mott & Bow Crew Neck tee is crafted with a gentle cotton jersey blend that feels super soft on the skin. We especially like this shirt’s binded neck, which gives it a classic feel. Plus, it comes preshrunk, so the size you buy is the size you get!

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Uniqlo Supima Cotton Crew Neck – $10
best mens t shirts undershirts uniqlo supima shirt

For something a little more affordable, consider this crew neck from Uniqlo. Composed entirely of ultra-soft Supima cotton, this shirt not only feels great on the skin, but is also incredibly breathable. Grab a few of these and you’ll be good to go for an entire season.

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Saxx 3Six Five V-Neck – $32
best mens t shirts undershirts saxx v neck tshirt 1

Saxx offers a shallow v-neck crafted with ultra-soft pima cotton, which has longer fibers that results in a softer and more durable product. This well cut v-neck should add a touch of sophistication to any casual look.

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Jungmaven 100% Hemp Tee $94
best mens t shirts undershirts jungmaven hemp tee

Made with a hemp and cotton blend, this shirt sports a rougher worn look and comes in a ton of great color options. Good to know: This shirt is thicker than normal tees because of the material. Great for winter, but not necessarily something you’d want to wear in the summer.

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Dropellabs Cashmere T-Shirt – $120
best mens t shirts undershirts dropellabs cashmere

Feeling a bit sumptuous? Then you may want to slip into this all-cashmere tee from Dropellabs. The classic cut could lead passerby to assume this was a cotton number, but you (and your grateful limbs) will delight in its unbelievable softness. An added bonus? It’s completely stain-resistant.

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Article updated December 18, 2018 by Cody Gohl. Feature image courtesy of Richer Poorer/Facebook.

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