by Anrea Sparks
The T-shirt is a staple of every man's wardrobe. From simple solids to unique graphics, T-shirts are always comfortable and versatile. They look great with jeans, sweaters and even board shorts. A graphic T-shirt, however, can be a little harder to pair with. Most graphic shirts have bold patterns that can overwhelm or clash with the rest of your outfit, especially when you're trying to layer. Luckily, layering graphic tees isn't impossible. In fact, the following tips can help you layer graphic T-shirts with all your favorite wardrobe staples.
Blazing trails: A clean blazer is the perfect complement to casual shirts. Offset a men's graphic tee with a blazer or jacket in a solid color. Choose a jacket in a color from the graphic or make a statement in a bold, contrasting blazer. A classic navy, black or tan blazer can dress up a graphic T-shirt, and a denim jacket will go with just about every T-shirt in your closet. Be careful when pairing patterned jackets with graphics; too many patterns can make your outfit look too busy.
Hoods and knits: A zip-down hoodie or cardigan gives you a similar layered look to the blazer option, but with a much more comfortable, casual feel. A solid hoodie always looks great over a printed T-shirt, and it's hard to go wrong with a classic cardigan. Look for solid colors or wide stripes in shades that complement your men's T-shirt. Leave the hoodie or cardigan completely open or half-zipped; just make sure you can see the graphic underneath.
Unbuttoned: A casual button-down over a short-sleeve graphic shirt is an easy ensemble that will always look great. Leave your shirt partially or completely unbuttoned and roll up the sleeves to see the T-shirt underneath. Go for a solid button-down or even a striped shirt. When pairing a graphic T-shirt with a patterned shirt, keep the pattern on your button-down smaller and lighter than the pattern on your men's tee. This way, your button-down will never overwhelm your casual tee. On chilly mornings, add a cardigan to the ensemble for ultimate layering.
Sneak peek: A graphic T-shirt beneath a polo shirt, Henley or even a V-neck sweater gives your polished look a dash of unique style. While you won't be able to see the entire graphic beneath a polo or Henley, a glimpse of graphic at the neckline adds instant interest to your outfit. If you're layering underneath a V-neck sweater, a graphic T-shirt is the perfect choice. Throw on a sweater over your casual T-shirt for your chilly morning commute, and then take off the sweater for an after-work ball game.
The long and short of it: Graphic T-shirts aren't just for layering underneath other clothing. A short-sleeve shirt over long sleeves is a classic casual look. Pull on a tee over a white long-sleeve T-shirt or pick a solid color that complements the graphic on your T-shirt. A long-sleeve waffle-knit shirt adds texture to the look, and a lightweight cotton hoodie underneath gives you even more options for your wardrobe.