For a time there, say, about a decade ago, a V Neck T Shirt wasn’t quite the style move it is today. V Neck T Shirts got a bad wrap, as the “V” design plummeted far too deep and the results were, well, less than stylish. The types of V neck tees on the market today are much different, made with more sustainable materials and plenty more style points.
How exactly did we get here? How did the V Neck T Shirt go from trendy style move to the bastion of American Apparel stores, and then back again to a respected member of the menswear community? It’s a winding road, as with many current staples in menswear, just in the same way that the basic white crewneck T-shirt started as an undershirt worn by the military before making its way into civilian life.
Of course, T-shirts were around in various forms for decades before that before they became standard-issue wear (that’s maybe the reason so many brands use the moniker “Standard Issue” for their T-shirts — they’re dependable straightforward and made to exacting standards, and the same can be said for the best V Neck T Shirts).
The V Neck T Shirts of this day and age also make the face appear more angular and thinner, and they also help showcase the shoulders and collarbone.
The story of this style of tee isn’t quite so complicated, but the end results are certainly just as stylish and wearable these days. A V neck tee is closely associated with cozy loungewear or worn as undershirt (so that the “V” design doesn’t peek out from underneath the unbuttoned first button of a dress shirt or Oxford shirt, for instance). There’s more to this staple basic piece than meets the eye, though.
A V Neck T Shirt can be every bit as versatile as your crewneck T-shirt or pocket T-shirt, provided you find the right fabric and fit. The best fitted shirts (and yes, your T-shirt should be fitted) wear well with other classic summer style staples, including a denim jacket or a denim shirt (we’re all about the denim these days).
That’s not all a V neck tee can do. Perhaps the biggest indicator of the versatility of this style has to be the fact that you can find them in plenty of colors beyond just bright white, and in plenty of fabrics worthy of wearing this tee on its own (stick with us here).
And on hot summer days, sometimes, that’ll be the only layer you want up top (besides some stretch drawstring shorts and canvas sneakers on your bottom half, that is). When it gets colder, you can wear your tee with a cotton cardigan or underneath a denim workshirt. If you find the right tee, the call is up to you.
These T Shirts, funnily enough, serve another purpose besides just being an undergarment these days (although it’s always wise to have a V Neck T Shirt on under your dress shirt or Oxford shirt, especially if you’re the type that tends to rock the unbuttoned look). You’ve got style icons like James Dean and Marlon Brando to thank for the fact that the T-shirt in general took off as a rebellious style move, and it’s from those years that it’s now acceptable and even cool to wear a V neck T Shirt solo in the wild these days.
The V Neck T Shirts of this day and age also make the face appear more angular and thinner, and they also help showcase the shoulders and collarbone. Those are small design touches, to be sure, but maybe that’s why women love a guy who looks great in a T-shirt, right? That could be you, if you play your cards right and pick up one of the best V Neck T Shirts.
Consider the below tips a sort of handy checklist to ensure you get the perfect fitting V Neck T Shirt for your wardrobe and your daily pursuits.
What To Look for When Shopping for V Neck T Shirts
- Quality material: Like we said above, this year’s crop of V Neck tees is a bit different than the tees, with super-deep “V” cuts, permeating the scene a decade ago. The best V Neck T Shirt for your hard-earned dough is usually made with sustainable or performance material (think organic cotton or else merino wool, for instance). These materials help the shirt hold its shape and stand up to repeated wears, so that V-neck design doesn’t get rung out or droop (merino wool is especially valuable if you want to get the most versatility and performance out of a V Neck T Shirt. The better the material in your shirt, the more pricey it might be, so keep an eye out for shirts that combine relative affordability with top-notch quality (don’t worry, because our picks have you covered).
- The right design: If you didn’t catch us the first time, the V neck tes on the market right now don’t have the swooping deep “V” or U-shape of super-drapey T-shirts from the decade past. You know the look: Perhaps even your favorite indie rock band was snapped wearing the trendy “deep V” T-shirt (or you yourself indulged — guilty as charged). V Neck T Shirts in this day and age are more subtle and have a “V” that’s quite literally not so deep. This is a great thing, because it gives the T shirt a bit more polish, and helps cover up more skin (always a benefit if those deep V T Shirts were way too low cut for your grooming situation). The picks you’ll see today are both subtle and stylish.
- The right color: You can get a range of V Neck T Shirts in every color imaginable, but allow us to offer a word of warning. If you want a V Neck T Shirt that is, once again, more subtle than outrageous, stick with a more muted color, or perhaps with a V Neck T Shirt that’s been garment-washed (so the color doesn’t quite stand out as much). To wit: The highligher orange or yellow V Neck tee you wore to a music festival years ago is no longer the right move to make; colors like navy, heather grey or even a washed-out goldenrod are much more acceptable. It’s all part of the learning process, and we think you’re well on your way.
Those are but three tips to get you started as far as shopping for V Neck T Shirts aplenty is concerned. Here’s the next step in your knitwear education: Picking up the proper V Neck. Start with our favorites, which very well could become your personal favorites soon, too.
The Best V Neck T Shirts for Men to Buy Now
American Giant Classic Cotton V-Neck T
Here’s where all the little details come together to make a modern V neck that’s worthy of praise and worthy of your wardrobe. For one, American Giant makes its gear with rigorous attention to detail, in this case using jersey cotton for a durable, substantial and yet soft feel. The fit is classic and close to the body without overdoing it, and you’re certainly not stepping out of bounds by wearing something in a timeless color like navy.
Everlane Organic Cotton V-Neck Tee
Everlane is another American company going above and beyond what one typically expects of basics. They operate with transparency every step of the way, cueing you into how and where its stylish and affordable V Neck T Shirts are made. Although this one is made in China, unlike the AG option up top, it’s still reliable and classic enough to wear with the brand’s slim denim or tailored chinos. Layer it up or add an Everlane trucker jacket, because the choice is yours.
Forty Five Supima V Neck
Forty Five’s origins are pretty sweet, to say the least (the brand was dreamed up by our friends at Huckberry, after all). The Forty Five Tee symbolizes the pursuit of the perfect T-shirt, just as the 45 RPM record holds one hit single (you could call it a “perfect record,” in that sense). Forty Five’s take on the V Neck, made with Supima cotton for soft comfort and breathability, is worth buying by the bundle and mixing or matching with anything else in your wardrobe.
Mack Weldon Pima V Neck T Shirt
What can’t Mack Weldon do? The brand makes tech chinos, breathable performance shirting, finely made boxer briefs and socks, and of course, one heck of a V neck tee. It’s the use of Pima cotton that makes this tee so darn essential. Although it’s pricier than your average big-box retailer package of V Neck T Shirts, think of it like a modern classic you can wear under anything — or on its own.
Tommy John Second Skin V Neck Tee
Here’s a V neck T shirt for the guy who can’t decide between one that’s more loungewear-oriented, or one that’s able to be worn underneath, say, a leather jacket. The aptly named Second Skin Tee from Tommy John should prove super-soft and super-dependable wear after wear, and it’s got a “V” that’s not too deep, plus a cut that’s nice and trim — no matter how you choose to wear it.