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Graphic t-shirts don't have the best reputation. And rightly so. One Female Body Inspector t-shirt is one too many, which is why many guys steer clear of the style entirely. But in 2019, the graphic tee has grown-up. Brands everywhere are turning out versions inspired by everything from skate culture to Grateful Dead tie-dye, and everywhere in between. Which means you can now wear one without looking like you're on your gap year, as long as you follow these guidelines.

Do stay on-brand

Pick a tee with a graphic that’s aligned to your age, style and personality. The chances of you pulling off a Thrasher tee if you can’t tell one end of a skateboard from another? Zero. Ditto band shirts when you can’t name any of their songs.

Don’t get distracted

A graphic tee should be the focal point of your outfit, so keep the rest of your look simple and plain with block colours. Think denim jackets, black jeans and neutral-coloured shoes.

Do let it age gracefully

There’s nothing like a lived-in tee to show your allegiance to whatever statement it makes, so let yours grow old with you. After all, a pure cotton tee will only get more comfortable with use, so don’t be precious about wearing it regularly. Just remember: to prevent the graphic from cracking, wash the t-shirt inside out at 30ºC and skip the tumble dryer.

Don’t forget fit

Just because you’ve gone for a graphic, doesn’t mean that everything else gets thrown out of the window. Regular fit is almost always best – that means a hem that ends around the middle of your fly, sleeves that stop mid-bicep, and shoulders that actually sit on your shoulders.

Do try tucking your t-shirt

Not everyone will want to do this, but consider this our blessing to tuck in your tee. When worn with smarter trousers and a pair of minimalist trainers, this instantly looks more dressed up than your tee-and-jeans vibe. If you’re going to do this though, ensure your t-shirt fits close to the body so you don’t get a billowing effect reminiscent of 90s dads.


Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Phill Taylor
Styling: Alice Watt
Styling assistant: Isabelle Harvey