Many screen idols past and present have looked good in a T-shirt or two in their time. There was Marlon Brando and James Dean in their plain white tees. And Steve McQueen looking rugged in a well-worn one astride a Triumph motorcycle (McQueen's face reappeared on a Dolce & Gabbana T-shirt a few seasons back). Then there's modern-day leading man, Ryan Gosling, in a skull and crossbone printed tee under a suit and velvet slippers.
The wardrobe basic has been upgraded over the years with new materials, finishes and techniques. It's gone from being sold in packs of three into the designer realm, with some costing upwards of HK$1,000. The American designer James Perse built an entire business around the perfect T-shirt.
The humble tee is humble no more. It's best to pick one that fits your body well. It should sit nicely around your waist, so pay attention to the length. Look at how it fits your arms: a properly fitting shirt should show off your guns. If you're going for the V-neck cut, avoid those that plunge too low. And most importantly, leave the slogan tees to dudes who don't know any better.
There are many ways to wear a T-shirt, and on its own with a pair of jeans is the most familiar. This summer, however, you have many guys wearing trim tees in white or grey with bright coloured pants. Wear one under a suit a la Gosling, or pair it with a tuxedo jacket and ripped jeans. Rock a vintage style tee with a leather biker jacket and bleached denim, as shown by Boss Orange (HK$850, right).
Prada recently came out with the 2012 Parallel Universe tees (top left), a collaboration with artist Vahram Muratyan, which feature colourful, stylised images of cityscapes, sunglasses and bags. Pick one and wear it with distressed Calvin Klein Jeans (HK$1,490, right).
A casual timepiece from Toy Watch's St Tropez with a braided cotton wristband (HK$1,488) teams well with a simple tee.