Simplicity is often the prerequisite for achieving tasteful and balanced look. Avoiding wild patterns or colours from the farthest borders of spectrum is a solution favoured by many fashion conscious men who lack the courage to experiment and move out of their comfort zone.

Make no mistake, creating timeless, minimal outfits that make us feel confident and comfortable is a premise we here at FashionBeans have continually preached over the years. However, as with everything in life, one approach or solution will never fit all circumstances and all situations. Tasteful attire does not necessarily have to be plain and simple or black and white.

The English summer is now fully underway, and despite showing us its rather hesitant face, marked by a somewhat tilted ratio of rainy to sunny days, this is the ideal season for a little bit of colour madness. After all, dressing for the occasion is a sign of good taste, and with summer being nature’s period of celebration, adding a few unexpected hues into our outfit is only appropriate.

Statement T-shirts

We have often stressed the value of plain, neutral crew neck t-shirts; their innate versatility allows them to be integrated into smart or casual outfits effortlessly, they can help anchor bold colours/prints when you want to experiment, and they can even hold their own when teamed individually with a pair of your best jeans. The plain tee will always be considered an essential, nigh a necessity, for the modern male.

As you will know, however, exceptions prove the rule. The subject of this article is the use of ‘look-at-me’ T-shirts – the type that come complete with brave bold prints, large logos or a nontraditional colour finish. I will hereby humbly label these, ‘statement tees’.

Statement tees have been featured as part of a number of designer collections for the current spring/summer season (Givenchy being an excellent case in point with their shark and rottweiler print t-shirts) and look set to continue their popularity through autumn/winter 2012 as well – should our recent break down of the animal motif trend be anything to go by.

Statement T-Shirts on the SS12 Designer Catwalks

They are an excellent option to help breathe life into your current wardrobe, offering something of a quick and easy fix that will help revive your every day look. Here are the 3 main options and types you can consider adding to your wardrobe this year:

Option 1. Graphics

Men's Graphic Print Statement T-Shirt Lookbook

Graphic tees have long become a stalwart of the modern males wardrobe. The ability to create a statement or striking visual through one piece alone has helped them become a key player in a spring/summer wardrobe, where the temperature can often make it uncomfortable to wear more than one layer.

Nearly every retailer and brand is producing their own take on the graphic tee these days, so it really is a matter of personal preference. However, there are a few key underlying themes that are on trend right now:

  • Dark and Edgy: Traditional associated with rocker and indie types, these t-shirts usually come in black and feature distressed prints or Gothic influences. Think AllSaints signature graphic tee range or Alexander McQueen’s iconic skull print (and all the other imitations now on the market). These styles are begging to be worn with other rock ‘n’ roll inspired attire such as black jeans, Chelsea boots and the like.
  • Animal Motifs: A trend that is set to become a major player during AW12, the market is already releasing a variety of versions for those early adopters. Below you can see everything from bears to dogs to wolfs – which all happen to have snarling faces, creating a more masculine aesthetic.
  • Tribute Tees: Retro brands, logos and bands have become a huge influence within recent t-shirt collections. Everyone from MTV to 7UP to Led Zeppelin can be found on tees that are often a throw back to the 80s and 90s. As we know, the 90s have helped shape men’s fashion during SS12, so these could prove to be a great addition to your casual wardrobe. If you are going for vintage prints, make sure the t-shirt is congruent – look for faded colours and soft cottons that provide a lived in effect.
  • Repeated Prints: This type of print has soared in popularity due to the current fascination with patterns. Typically involves a smaller print being utilised all over the t-shirt (whether symmetrical or not), in order to create the effect of a repeat pattern.
  • Allsaints Titan Cut Collar T-shirtAllsaints Titan Cut Collar T-shirt
  • Alexander Mcqueen Floral Skull-print Cotton-jersey T-shirtAlexander Mcqueen Floral Skull-print Cotton-jersey T-shirt
  • Givenchy Rottweiler-print Cotton-jersey T-shirtGivenchy Rottweiler-print Cotton-jersey T-shirt
  • Topman Blue Hawaii Roll Up T-shirtTopman Blue Hawaii Roll Up T-shirt
  • Vivienne Westwood Wolf Print T-shirtVivienne Westwood Wolf Print T-shirt
  • Blood Brother Oversized Graphic Wolf TeeBlood Brother Oversized Graphic Wolf Tee
  • Trainerspotter hibiscus Grenade VestTrainerspotter hibiscus Grenade Vest
  • Allsaints Jerusalem Raw Arm VestAllsaints Jerusalem Raw Arm Vest
  • Topman Multi Floral Print VestTopman Multi Floral Print Vest
  • Mens Vintage Fanta Bottle T-Shirt Mens Vintage Fanta Bottle T-Shirt
  • Mens Dangermouse T-ShirtMens Dangermouse T-Shirt
Option 2. Patterns

Men's Patterned Statement T-Shirt Lookbook

The industry is obsessed with patterns at the moment, but they just so happen to be the best way of making a real statement via your t-shirt. There is a pattern to suit every personal style, taste and existing wardrobe on the market at the moment, so make the most of it.

Whether you opt for a more masculine camo print, a Rockabilly inspired animal print, or a striking Aztec pattern, each and every one will inject new life into your current every day looks:

  • Asos T-shirt With Fairisle Stripe PrintAsos T-shirt With Fairisle Stripe Print
  • Worland Burgundy Tribal Print VestWorland Burgundy Tribal Print Vest
  • Chateau Roux Polka Paisley Pocket T-shirtChateau Roux Polka Paisley Pocket T-shirt
  • Topman Multi Pattern Roll Up T-shirtTopman Multi Pattern Roll Up T-shirt
  • Topman Black Lepoard Roll Up TeeTopman Black Lepoard Roll Up Tee
  • Asos T-shirt With Camo Print And Chambray PocketAsos T-shirt With Camo Print And Chambray Pocket
  • Kenzo Mens Multi-coloured Paisley T-shirtKenzo Mens Multi-coloured Paisley T-shirt
  • Adidas X Opening Ceremony Patchwork Paisley-print T-shirtAdidas X Opening Ceremony Patchwork Paisley-print T-shirt
  • Jonathan Saunders Boyfriend Diamond T-shirtJonathan Saunders Boyfriend Diamond T-shirt
Option 3. Bold Colours

Men's Bold Colours Statement T-Shirt Lookbook

Finally, something for those who still aren’t convinced about the prints and patterns trend. You might be a slightly older male or simply prefer a refined style – either way, how do you go about standing out? Well, a bold coloured t-shirt is a great place to start.

Whether you opt for the brightest shade of pink you can find, a pastel yellow to give a nod to the big colour trend of the season, or simply a slightly bolder shade of your signature blue, these striking tees will hold their own during the summer whilst injecting a much needed shot of colour into a tired autumn/winter outfit.

  • A.p.c. Pocket-front Cotton T-shirtA.p.c. Pocket-front Cotton T-shirt
  • Folk Pink Yellow Block T-shirtFolk Pink Yellow Block T-shirt
  • Reiss Bless Basic Crew Neck T-shirtReiss Bless Basic Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Folk Basic Crew Yellow T-shirtFolk Basic Crew Yellow T-shirt
  • Acne Purple Scoop Limit T-shirtAcne Purple Scoop Limit T-shirt
  • Uniqlo Dry Packaged Crew Neck Short Sleeve T ShirtUniqlo Dry Packaged Crew Neck Short Sleeve T Shirt
  • Asos T-shirt With PocketAsos T-shirt With Pocket
  • Selected T-shirt With PocketSelected T-shirt With Pocket
  • American Apparel Poly-cotton Short Sleeve Crew NeckAmerican Apparel Poly-cotton Short Sleeve Crew Neck
How To Wear

With most printed designs almost bordering on kitsch, statement T-shirts beg to be complemented with simple monochromatic pieces and go particularly well with black attire. Black has always had a special place within the world of fashion, often favoured by fashion designers themselves for its elegance and understatement.

It is precisely these 2 qualities that make black the perfect companion to a statement tee. Paired with slim black jeans or shorts, it will help achieve a perfectly balanced look that does not lack the ability to draw attention.

For those maturer men reading, be cautious when pairing bold print t-shirts with coloured bottoms or denim shorts. The risk being that this may result in a look reminiscent of 1980s. Although on trend right now, believe us when we say that the resulting outfit will be unflattering and even help to create a somewhat infantile look of a grown up geek. Think Big Bang Theory.

Instead, stick with what works best – indigo jeans, neutral chinos and your trusty leather/denim jacket.


The most important element to consider when accessorising this look is your choice of shoes. Once again, opting for less colour over more is strongly recommended here. The character and purpose of a statement tee is to draw attention, such that the rest of your outfit should stay monochromatic at best.

Simple black or white leather trainers are one option that requires no thought nor explanation. Alternatively, show some confidence and reach for a pair of black/brown tassel loafers. Apart from being on-trend, tassels offer a slightly more classical touch (often associated with America preppy style and the likes of Ralph Lauren), so when utilised in combination with your ‘shout-out-loud’ t-shirt it provides a provocative clash of styles whilst adding a hint of elegance and sophistication.

Fit & Proportion

The fact that we reiterate this over and over again is for a reason. ‘Fit is king’ is our mantra and it should be yours as well. The fashion forward men of this world should celebrate, as we truly now live in an age where high street retailers have become sophisticated enough to offer alternatives that not only follow the trends of most praised design houses, but also often add their own original twist on the items.

It is for this reason that a statement T-shirt can be a very cheap purchase and although you might be happy with the fit from the start, a short detour to your tailor should never be disregarded. Very rarely does the standard cut fit our bodies perfectly.

Particularly if you work out, you may find it necessary to opt for larger sizes to avoid having your shoulders squashed into a top that looks a few sizes too small. This will often mean that the bottom part of the garment will be equally wide, which will compromise the wide-shouldered ‘v’ shape that you work so hard to attain. Taking it in at the bottom will add a few extra pounds to the overall cost, but will help you acquire a top that you will love and want to wear every day.


Rather than being a comprehensive user guide, this article was aspiring to throw a new idea into the open arena of you, the FashionBeans crowd. Over time, you have grown into men well versed in the matters of fashion. Far from simply blindly following the given, you read, perceive and invent.

With this in mind, we would like to hear your opinions and views in the comment section below, as they inspire us and keep us going.