Don’t ever say that here at Style Girlfriend, we don’t listen to the people. Earlier this week a few of you on The Internet were up in arms over a selection of what we thought were dope-as-hell knit polos, griping that they were too expensive. The memeification of the headline was lost in translation, and some of you were like, Uh yeah sex is cheaper than a $200 sweater, so...hard pass. (I’m paraphrasing.) While I would almost always argue with the “own fewer, better things” philosophy—I get it, and am also not above a good deal!
And so, like the pendulum swings, I’m back with a menswear move that leans hard into the “affordable” category of your shopping budget: T-shirts.
Because who doesn’t love a good T-shirt?!
And I mean it when I say good. Remember when we all went through that phase of wearing garish graphic tees from Urban Outfitters that proclaimed inane sayings like, “Virginia is for lovers?” even though none of us were from Virginia?! We’re not going back to that.
T-shirts that aren’t plain and also aren’t horrifying do exist, so allow me to be your shopping sherpa—navigating you to the peak of playful-yet-grown-up tees. Stripes, pockets, and bold proclamations about your favorite food (more on that later), coming right up.
This isn’t the first time we’ve pushed Marine Layer on you guys—we’re all a little obsessed at SG HQ. Why? Well, in a nutshell, their clothing is just stupid soft. Like, makes you want to throw out every other thing you own soft. Not to mention, their men’s tops come in in-between sizes like “marge” and “larger,” which is very clever and fun to say.
This subtly striped pocket tee has a slight shirttail hem, which adds another element of “nice enough to wear out of the house” detail to justify the slightly-higher-than-you-might-be-used-to price point.
Soft-Washed Color-Block Tee, $8 (marked down from $15)
Basics? From Old Navy? Groundbreaking! Jk jk, but really Old Navy is low-key great, and we recommend their super-affordable T-shirts to anyone who will listen. I love this color-block crewneck because the white, blue and peach combination is just so cheerful. You could wear this tee with jeans and a field jacket now, and with your trunks and shades at the beach this summer.
I truly can’t resist epic throwback sports merch like this. And while you can spend hours stalking authentic vintage T-shirts on sites like Etsy and eBay, you can also sidestep that whole process and just check out Tailgate. Founded by designer Todd Snyder (and eventually sold to American Eagle), Tailgate makes some really fun, playful, and super-soft merch for college and professional teams. If you’ve got pre-determined loyalties, great; there’s a T-shirt for that. If not, go for this ’90s Lakers vibe, which is oh-so-cool in an effortless way.
If it’s possible, the only color we’re feeling as much as lavender right now is marigold yellow. It’s rich and sunny and looks good on everyone. It’s also very trendy right now, so when you toss on this comfy Bonobos tee, you can feel like you’re participating in something current and menswear-y while (really) barely trying at all.
Listen, I would almost never endorse any apparel that sports the likeness of a cartoon character. I make an exception for this simple illustration of my boy Snoopy—a true icon of friendship and flying imaginary planes. This Champion tee comes in a good variety of color combinations, but consider the violet and grasshopper-green options for something fresh this spring.
Nike x Atmos Tee, $55
Nike is doing so many cool collaborations right now it’s hard to keep track of them all. But one that’s definitely on our radar is their extremely neon-infused collection with Atmos, a painfully cool New York-based store and brand. This T-shirt gives me chill ’90s vibes in all the right ways. Wear it with anything from black slim cut jeans to shorts and Vans, and you’re good to go.
Brb as I click “add to cart” on this dumb yet fun T-shirt for myself, and then I’ll get back to telling you why I think you should buy it.
...Okay. Guys, I just love it so much. While you might not love pasta to the same degree I do, I wanted to single out an example of an #sgapproved graphic-ish T-shirt. If you’re going to go there, skip the corny “Virginia is for Lovers” slogans and seek out a tee that is cool and also delights you specifically. I wish all my favorite places had this kind of merch, tbh! (Bar 169 I’m looking at you…) Bottom line? Find your thing and rep it unapologetically.
Just, preferably not Virginia.