3 August 2011

Grandad T-shirts: A Review

Unbutton this relaxed summer tee

Summer is a season for shorts and t-shirts, no doubt about it. But with so many styles of t-shirt available, which is the best for keeping cool and looking chilled? For me, there's nothing better than the grandad tee. Just don't let the name fool you - there isn't anything old-fashioned about this particular style.

The grandad-neck t-shirt is designed to the same measurements of a standard crew-neck t-shirt, but with the added flexibility of buttons trailing downward from the collar, much like a polo shirt. These buttons can be left done up, or they can be undone for cooler comfort on a warm day.

Typically, most grandad t-shirts feature a placket of three buttons, but in some cases there can also be two, four or five. The t-shirt pictured above, for example, is one of Topman's older styles of the grandad tee, with five buttons and contrasting stitching. In my view, four or five is an adequate number, since it gives a more relaxed choice in how open you want the t-shirt to be.

The casual composure of the t-shirt is what makes it a summer classic. But the freedom and simplicity of the grandad t-shirt is what makes this style the best. It is also by far one of the better looking styles of t-shirt available to buy.

Grandad vs Crew

Crew-necks are of course the most basic and most common style of t-shirt, but sometimes don't have much room to breathe. A grandad t-shirt offers the same neckline, but gives the option to open up the chest to a little more air.

Grandad vs V

V-necks are typically cut deep, which give the wearer an extremely casual look in which they won't get too hot. However, these v-cuts aren't always flattering, especially on slimmer bodied men. In addition, they can reveal perhaps a bit too much chest hair. Grandad tees, on the other hand, allow the wearer to choose how open they want their t-shirt and still keep cool without having to expose too much of themselves.

Grandad vs Y

Y-necks are the t-shirt hallmark of Topman, and ridiculously popular at that. A small v-neck with additional buttons to open up the chest to more air is naturally practical for the summer, but over the years this style of tee has become renowned for its odd mixes of bright colours, which - when combined with its popularity among boys and adolescents - has made the y-neck a bit tacky. Grandad t-shirts offer a better looking style, and normally in less bright colours too.

Grandad vs Notch

A t-shirt where buttons are just for decoration? (You can probably see where I'm going with this.) While notch tees look silly with their helpless-looking buttons, the buttons on grandad t-shirts are both practical and decorative.

(Image sources: burton.co.uk & asos.com)
In summary, grandad t-shirts are - at least in my opinion - the best style of t-shirt around. Although they're not guaranteed to stay in fashion like the staple crew-neck, their flexibility and button detail make them a perfect piece to wear on a hot summer day.

In the current market, I'm afraid you're more likely to find long-sleeved tops than the short-sleeved t-shirts I've been reviewing, but there's always the option of pushing the sleeves up for a more rough-and-ready look. And if you do like the style, why not also try a grandad-neck jumper in the winter?

So the next time you go perusing for something new, grab yourself a grandad tee if you haven't already. Stay cool, feel relaxed, and look good.

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