Vegan Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 1 – Choosing a T-shirt

Vegan Men's Fashion Basics t-shirt

T-shirts for Vegan Men

Vegan clothing is often notorious for its ‘unfashionable’ qualities, but when it comes to T-shirts, to be honest, there are very few things you can get wrong. I mean, it’s just a T-shirt, right? Well, this post is for any man out there who just wants a little more garment guidance. Including those who want to maintain their ethics whilst asserting their fashion know-how. Trust me, I’m a vegan guy, and until recently my knowledge of clothes was dictated by whatever I got for Christmas!

The great thing about Vegan clothing is that whatever basics you get your hands on you can be sure you’re making a positive difference to an industry that’s built itself on fast fashion. Even something as simple as a T-shirt can have a pretty hard effect on the planet, but thankfully there’s enough choice out there to be both kind and still look like a stud.

The History of the T-Shirt

How to choose a t-shirt and look like a stud

T-shirts were worn mainly as an undergarment several decades ago to separate the grime of the body from what would normally be a more expensive outer-garment, such as a military jacket worn by the US Navy, of which supplied T-shirts to its sailors. Sailors and other soldiers however would remove their uniforms if the temperature was too hot and opt to wear just their T-shirts alone, catapulting the norm of wearing such a thing by itself.

Because of the comfort and ease of wear, the T-shirt eventually made its way to the likes of labourers and farmers, especially as veterans would continue to wear them long after their service, therefor symbolising the T-shirt as a staple working class piece. Eventually, once cheap screen-printing become available, the T-Shirt become the canvas to both social and political bodily advertisements, as well as a vehicle for personal expression with the likes of graphics and slogans, once more propelling the T-shirt’s claim to fame.

Types of T-shirts

Anniversary T-Shirt from Bleed Clothing

Crew-Necks

A very common type of T-Shirt and a garment most men are familiar with. They make great pieces on their own though are superb options for layering with other pieces such as cardigans and jumpers. Since they can come in array of colours, they can be worn to either compliment a statement piece such as a patterned shirt or a v-neck cardigan, or as they are for a minimalist silhouette.

Looking for a brand idea? Check out the Anniversary T-Shirt from Bleed Clothing. Made from organic cotton and compliant with GOTS standards.

Photo is copyright of bleed clothing GmbH. All rights reserved. Image is not owned by Man of New.

Knowledge Cotton Apparel V-Neck from Brothers We Stand

V-Necks

Unlike the Crew Neck T-Shirt, V-Necks offer a slightly more relaxed look with their generous exposure of the neck. Careful not to opt for a V-Neck that drops too deep (no deeper than the armpit), this style T-shirt is perfect for a more casual look, especially in the summer where your neck has more chance catching some sun. This look also works well if you want your neck to appear longer, so great for the shorter guy. If you’re holding a little more weight however, it might be best to avoid this collar as the V shape can draw the eye to your less-desirable features.

Looking for a brand idea? Check out the Knowledge Cotton Apparel V-Neck from Brothers We Stand. Made from Fair-trade 100% organic cotton and compliant with GOTS standards.

Photo is copyright of Brothers We Stand. All rights reserved. Image is not owned by Man of New.

Knowledge Cotton Apparel Henley from Brothers We Stand

Y-Necks (Henley)

Incorporating both the elements of a Crew and a V-Neck, the Henley or the Y-Neck is great at accentuating your upper body by drawing the eye to your chest area, especially if you have the first couple of buttons open. The button feature also adds to the design’s ‘extra’ feel, so great if you’re simply wearing it with just a pair of jeans.

Looking for a brand idea? Check out the Knowledge Cotton Apparel Henley from Brothers We Stand. Made from Fair-trade 100% organic cotton and compliant with GOTS standards.

Photo is copyright of Brothers We Stand. All rights reserved. Image is not owned by Man of New.

When to Wear a T-shirt

A T-shirt will never be appropriate for a ‘function’ event. Just as you wouldn’t wear a T-shirt to a wedding or a funeral, it’s best to leave this handy garment in the wardrobe when attending anything formal or even casually formal. The best time to wear a T-shirt would be for anything purely casual or loosely organised, such as a trip to the gym, visiting friends for a drink or, as they were once intended, for anything a little more manual or labour-intensive. It’s also best to leave the T-shirt off if you know you’ll be meeting new people such as at a party or a networking event. And NEVER for a work interview!

T-shirt Fit Basics

A T-shirt should never be ill-fitting. As soon as you wear a T-shirt that’s either too baggy or too tight, it distorts your entire frame and can leave you looking either over or under weight. Try your tee on first if you can, if not, know what measurement you are in the chest, arms and torso height, as most websites will offer a size guide when purchasing.

Good rules to remember are to ensure there are no tension lines in the chest area fabric, the sleeves of the T-shirt end between your elbow and your armpit and the overall tee length ends halfway at your trouser fly. This way you can’t go wrong.

Vegan Fabrics

As T-shirts go, the champion fabric has, and will most likely always be, cotton! Cotton is versatile, soft, resilient and breathable, and when made well, it can stand the test of time. And best of all, cotton is natural. When it comes to vegan clothing, we can take it that step further by embarking on not just cotton but organic fair trade cotton that’s also GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified.

And with the invention and constant research into new fabrics, we’re now seeing the rise in the likes of hemp and bamboo clothing, of which are both highly sustainable and have a low carbon footprint in their production, whilst maintaining the same exceptional quality as regular cotton.

Types of T-shit Fabric

Gabe T-shirt ACF Clothing

Deadstock Fabric

From ACF Clothing, a brand that’s not only vegan and eco-friendly but aslo specialises in zero waste and sustainability, we have the crew-neck Gabe T-shirt, made entirely from leftover fabric from other designers where the fabric would normally end up on landfill. It requires far less energy and water to produce and this also means less pollution.

Photo is copyright of A.C.F CLOTHING LIMITED. All rights reserved. Image is not owned by Man of New.

Positive Bamboo Essential T-shirt

Bamboo Blend Fabric

From Positive Outlook Clothing comes the Bamboo Cotton blend, incorporating both highly sustainable materials to create something that’s not only soft and breathable but also wicks off sweat. Bamboo is known to have a minimum impact on the environment and is also hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial. What brands can boast that kind of positiveness? Try the Positive Bamboo Essential T-shirt for superior wear.

Photo is copyright of Positive Outlook Clothing. All rights reserved. Image is not owned by Man of New.

Colours, Patterns and Graphics

The T-shirt is a basic masterpiece, no doubt about it. There are rules to wearing one of course but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a simple easy thing to pull off (and on). When it comes to colours, patterns and graphics, it’s usually personal taste and occasion that dictate what you go for.

Colours

You can never go wrong with white. It’s the traditional colour and works with practically every type of combination. Whatever colour you go with however, try and go for the opposite in shade to your bottoms, such as white and grey T-shirts going well with darker jeans or chinos. Or darker tees going well with lighter shades in the jeans or chinos.

Patterns

Whatever you do with a T-shirt in terms of colour or in this case pattern, be it striped, paisley or whatever design suits your mood, make sure you follow the colour rules above and keep to a simpler detailed bottom. The less patterns the better throughout your entire ensemble.

Graphics and Logos

Call my bias or old fashioned, but I personally am not a fan of either of these two things. If however you enjoy the social engagement that comes with a graphic T-shirt, be it a feature of your favourite super hero, band or subject, don’t allow it to transform you into a walking advertisement. The same should be said for logos. There’s nothing more pretentious than having a designer’s name taking up the real estate of your torso. In other words, don’t let the T-shirt wear you.

If you do choose to wear these types of T-shirts, reserve them for trips to the gym or supermarket or when you have friends over. The last thing you want to do is project yourself with a juvenile statement on you tee at somewhere like a dinner party. And yes, I’m looking at the judgemental vegans here when I say this.

Conclusion

A T-shirt is not a complicated garment, and likewise, it shouldn’t be complicated for vegan men either. But that doesn’t mean you should just pick up the first one you see and call it a day. Have respect for the efforts gone into its creation, the quality of the materiel, the cut and the fit and the combinations you wish to pair it with. In terms of brands making a positive difference to your ethical wardrobe, there are plenty of them with plenty of options. Check out Man of New’s Ethical Brand List for some easy shopping and inspiration. Trust me, you’ve got this!

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