The small details that can make or break an outfit are a big focus at the ol’ Style Guide. Everything from the break of your pants to the cut of your slim polo to the quality of the buttons on your favorite classic Oxford should be up for consideration. And it’s with that in mind that we’re talking about (all together now) the style upgrade (Ding, ding!) that comes with one of the best men’s pocket T-shirts seen below. What’s the big deal about a pocket T-shirt? And why should you grab one (or two, or three) the next time you want to hit ‘Refresh’ in your closet? For one, it’s got more visual interest and styling potential than a basic tee – the chest pocket and the fact that texture is a big part of a great pocket T-shirt speak to that. And two: It can be worn on its own, it can be slipped on underneath a chambray shirt in the spring, or layered up under your favorite crewneck sweater in the fall or winter. For one T-shirt, that’s a lot of versatility. So ready your mouse, pull up a chair and read away. To see how to style a pocket T-shirt, check out yours truly on Instagram or Twitter, too.
#1. Richer Poorer The Tee Shirt in Heather Grey — $54 (Two-pack)
For a company that started out making socks, Richer Poorer has done an admirable job expanding its line of basics step-by-step. As of late last year, that includes a selection of easily wearable, slim-fitting and practically essential pocket tees in a range of versatile colors that runs the gamut from a crisp Black to a pleasing off-white Natural shade. The Heather Grey color shown here — and as I wore on a Memorial Day trip upstate — might just be the best of the bunch, with soft fabric and enough visual interest to be worn under an unstructured blazer in the summer (not to mention a shawl-collar cardigan in the fall and winter).
For a company that makes basics that are sometimes thought of as simple, Mack Weldon sure does things the right way. Everything from the brand’s 18-Hour Jersey Trunks to its boxers are made with quality, comfort and style in mind. Those are underrated qualities when it comes to stylish basics, but the brand’s got it on lock. Mack Weldon is a Style Guide favorite for that very reason, and this pocket tee – in a great shade of heightened indigo – is just the ticket for wearing with your favorite khaki blazer in warm weather, or a washed crewneck sweater when the weather gets breezy. The price ain’t half-bad, either.
#3. Buck Mason Steel Slub Pocket Tee — $32
If you’re not hip to what Buck Mason’s doing yet, I’d suggest you acquaint yourself with our latest Style Guide Q&A, first. All good? Great – let’s get down to business. The brand makes a mean pocket tee, crafted with rugged-refined fabric and pleasing design details like a rounded hem. The Steel color shown here is just different enough from a typical light grey, and that difference adds a bit of an edge – in this case, it’s the type pocket tee to wear with off-white chinos and tan suede chukkas for a slightly monochromatic look. And, the quality of this T-shirt is such that it can be worn under a lightweight navy blazer or a chunkier cable crewneck sweater.
When is a basic T-shirt more than a basic T-shirt? When it’s made with soft, slubby fabric right in America, that’s when. Add in the fact that this particular Steven Alan T-shirt plays well with other refined, minimal staples from the brand, and you’ve got a pocket T-shirt worth the investment. In this instance, you should look to pair the navy color with everything from the brand’s slim black denim for a night out, to a pair of crisp light grey trousers alongside an olive blazer (see how we’re really working that neutral color angle?). Of course, you can easily wear it sans jacket with your favorite pair of chino shorts the rest of the summer.
#5. Abercrombie & Fitch Striped Pocket Tee — $20
Since when did Abercrombie & Fitch become so stylish? Well, the short answer is that the brand’s always had rugged heritage and solid knitwear, yet the overall line required a bit of … freshening up, if you will. Design head Aaron Levine – of Club Monaco fame – has so far upgraded the brand’s look and feel admirably, and that means pieces like this striped pocket T-shirt work well alongside new classics, such as this stellar field coat. The fit of this T-shirt is slim, the stripes add that crucial visual interest, and there’s not a logo in sight. Buy a couple of these for your T-shirt drawer — or save the extra cash for whatever the brand dreams up next.
Still think a pocket tee is something to put aside in your search for a stylish wardrobe? If you’ve got your basic #menswear essentials covered, think again. Particularly if you like stocking up on new items every now and again, it’s a style you can and should reach for consistently in months both warm and cold. Whether grab a slim Todd Snyder pocket T-shirt or one of the picks above, there’s no doubt that even the smallest of details – like the rounded hem on that Buck Mason pocket tee – can elevate the humble pocket tee from just another T-shirt to something that can be a focal point of your outfit. Tuck it in a bit, roll up the sleeves, toss it on under a denim jacket or go clean-cut with a breezy linen blazer – there’s not really a way these stylish pocket T-shirts can’t be worn.
Got questions on these tees? Think I missed one? Chime in on Twitter to get this #menswear feud going (wink, wink).
Circle back on Friday for our weekly menswear recap – we’ll see you then,