What Your Tee Says About You… And How To Change That Message
Written by: Emily Kirkpatrick

The Too-Deep V:

This is a metrosexual and hipster go-to top. You’ve seen these out fist-pumping in the club and checking out a band you’ve probably never heard of at that trendy bar. The too deep-V showcases some serious man cleavage that should really be left exclusively to the ladies. At it’s exponentially plunging rate, it won’t be too long before navel-gazing takes on a whole new meaning.

The Alternative: The regular V-neck. Not as daringly low, but still the same general effect, and infinitely more palatable. Try taking the V up a few inches and you’ll be amazed by the change in people’s attitude towards you. Now just slowly lower your fist, toss the gel and stop with the obscure name-dropping, and there might be hope for you yet.

“Nothing screams middle-aged man going through a midlife crisis quite like head-to-toe Christian Audigier.”

The Nerdy Joke Tee:

We get it, guys. You’re into obscure one-liners, video games, and reddit. So, you think, what better place to show off your love of Family Guy, StarCraft and coding than emblazoned across your chest? But here’s the thing, jokes, especially esoteric ones, never translate well via clothing. Besides that, with repeated wear, the quote or image is bound to get old really fast.

The Alternative: This is a tricky one, because while the t-shirts above tend to pigeonhole you into a nerdy stereotype, there’s a way to avoid this and still express your unique personality through your clothing. Try finding t-shirts with cute, unusual patterns or artsier graphics. As a general rule, stay away from ones people have to read or need to know the reference in order to understand. Hitting this fine line between quirky and just plain weird can be hard to master. So, if in doubt, we suggest defaulting to the tried and true standards or asking your most fashionable friend for their brutally honest advice.


Mesh:

Ask yourself this question: Are you currently at a rave or are you some sort of leather daddy/dominatrix? No, you say? That’s what we thought. Now back away from the mesh, especially those skin-tight tank tops. No one needs to see this much of you, especially when they didn’t ask to see any of you at all.

The Alternative: Solid fabrics, nothing with little holes, nothing the wind can whip right through, just good, old cotton basics. We know, you’re thinking, but how will the ladies see my beautiful physique through all that fabric? The answer: they won’t, and they’ll thank you for it. If you must wear mesh, however, let us suggest taking a cue from womenswear and trying it layered on top or underneath other solids. Mesh, when used wisely and sparingly, can add interesting texture and a hint of surprising transparency to an otherwise conservative outfit.


Ed Hardy:

Despite ruthless public mocking of the types of men who continue to rock the Hardy (We’re looking at you Jon Gosselin), it seems like a few of you still haven’t got the memo. Rhinestones and garish tattoo-inspired graphics are now a beyond-dead trend, that should have died long before it ever started. Plus, nothing screams middle aged man going through a midlife crisis quite like head-to-toe Christian Audigier.

The Alternative: Anything else. Please. The world is begging you to stop hurting our eyes.


The Mega Crop:

Who are you. Seriously, if you’re not a gay man at a pride parade, a member of Wham!,  or an aspiring teen pop star, there is no reason to be sporting this look. And yet, someone out there must be buying it because these crop tops keep coming down men’s runways in droves. It started a few seasons ago, logically enough, with lacrosse-style, slightly cropped jerseys. But the newest incarnations, such as on the Topshop FW14 runway, are little more than bicep cozies, leaving the chest almost entirely exposed. Where will the madness end?

The Alternative: A midriff concealing top. We know you worked hard on those rippling abs, but save them for the gym and the bedroom. Besides, as all well-dressed women know, less is more. Sexy is, of course, partly about what you choose to expose, but more importantly, it’s about what you choose to conceal. A well-fitted tee or button down that shows off your shape without looking like it was spray-painted on will always be more appealing to a women than full-on exposure. Leave something to the imagination, fellas.


Wrinkled:

This applies to all shirts no matter the cut, style or douche-factor. When your shirt is wrinkled, you look totally disheveled. A messy shirt says you couldn’t be bothered to pull yourself together and could care less about it. Not good, especially when you’re on the job or on a date.

The Alternative: Gentleman of the world: Buy a steamer. It’s so simple, and for a minimal investment you’ll never have to go through that pre-work everything’s wadded up and crinkled freak out ever again! If for some reason you still can’t convince yourself to take the plunge on one of these little miracle workers, a super hot shower left running will do the trick. After a quick steam session, your shirts will all come out looking, in the wise words of Outkast, “so fresh and so clean clean.”


Emily Kirkpatrick is a fashion and lifestyle writer from New York City

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