For guys who are already buying and wearing essential tees day in day out, you might want to skip our introduction and go straight to the list (scroll below).
For the rest of us who are still skeptical or are still wondering if plain tees are for them, keep reading.
Essential T-shirts (or better known as Basic Tees) are as the name suggest – essential!
Not that you really must have, but you should have! And just to be sure we set things straight; we are talking about plain tees with absolutely no patterns, prints or logo on it.
Don’t get this mistaken with the thin t-shirts meant to be worn under another shirt or cardigan. The brands we will be talking about in this post have some of the best essential tee that you can put on and just head out.
>>Why are there not as many people wearing the essential tees?
Here comes the hard truth…..
The biggest reason some guys don’t wear the essential tee is because they have, to a certain degree, what’s known as the “man boobs”. Because the essential tee is plain, there’s not pattern or print on the front of the tee to break and contour or create and flow that distracts the viewer’s attention.
With the absence of print or textured pattern, the body shape becomes the foundation of the tee, and with that, gentlemen with ‘man boobs’ (yup, the nips that is) and stomach can get pretty obvious.
The other reason we can think of is perhaps some guys find it boring to simply wear a plain top. Especially the younger chaps who are probably still in school or just entered the work force.
Advantages of Wearing Essential Tees
Showcase your awesome body shape
In contrast to the reason why people avoid plain tees to not show their body shape, plain t-shirts reward guys who’ve put in the effort at the gym (or wherever you trained) by showing their body shape while covering distracting details.
Simply put, the essential tees show the outer portion of your chest as well as the contour of your arms very well. Most essential tees are designed to have fitting sleeves which really reward guys with well-trained deltoids.
Classic and timeless
Without a doubt these essential tees are timeless and simply don’t go out of style (although V-neck might not be as trendy for now). Dark colored tee – like Navy Blue, Dark Grey and Black – are some of the classiest colors that are almost always the safest options to looking good.
Allows fancy accessories, pants and shoes
AThanks to their simplicity, options for matching accessories, pants and even the shoes have so much more flexibility. Neck accessary for example will garner a lot more attention as opposed to a printed tee. Likewise for pants and shoes.
As you can see that there are definitely more pros than cons when it comes to wearing the essential tee. Now let’s get on to our top 5 places in Singapore to get them!
As with other post on MWS, we’ve also included tips and tricks on getting the best possible deal.
This brand is no stranger to everyone in Singapore.
As a truly minimal brand, Muji is famous for their timeless housewares and stationaries; they also fare well in their apparel department. Sticking to their trademark aesthetic style of making products that reflects the needs of consumer as plainly as possible without forcing any personality.
Muji is also known for its quality; hence you can be sure the tees are made with good quality fabric.
>> Where to buy?
Muji also have an online store although some items available in-stores might not be listed in the online store, and the navigation is also not as good as other e-commerce stores. But they do run their own promotions once in a while and if you enjoy shopping at the comfort of your own home, why not.
Check out their online store here.
Retail store wise, their flagship store at Orchard Paragon definitely have the most comprehensive collection (although we must give credit for their effort in stocking almost all collections in every store). We personally like trying apparel at their Somerset 313 and Orchard Ion outlet as well.
>> Buyer’s tips:
Muji runs in-store discounts and even clearance sale pretty often and their tees always have quite a lot stocks for sale. Hence be sure to be patient and wait for sale to grab yours.
Even if you miss the sale or the item you want ran out of size, they will definitely start selling these essential tees in coming collections (there are only so many styles for essential tees you see).
Muji members get notified first hand of all promotion and sales via SMS. Simply spend a total of $100 in a single receipt at any MUJI stores to be a member. Members get $1 credited into their member card for every $20 spent in-store.
Click here for details on how to become a Muji member.
Fun fact: the Chinese characters meaning of Muji, 無印 stands for ‘No Logo’ in English.
Sifr is one of the longest standing local menswear labels in Singapore that stood the test of time.
As one of the featured brand in our list of local Singaporean labels, Sifr have one of the most comfortable tees available. We actually only started paying attention to pima cotton after trying on their tee.
>> Where to buy?
Sifr’s flagship store is located at the corner of Orchard Central (read this post on their 4 in 1 concept store, PACT). Their soft pima cotton tees are available almost any menswear multi-label stores – like Robinsons, Tangs, Rockstar by Soon Lee.
Sifr also have an e-commerce site with free shipping worldwide.
>> Buyer’s tips:
These comfy pima cotton tees by Sifr does come with a heavy price tag of SG$39 hence always wait for promotion to get them. Here’s a few ways to go about doing it:
- Wait for the stockiest that carries their Pima tees to run promotions (i.e. Tang’s member close door sales, Robinson’s ‘The Sale worth waiting for’)
- Buy the bundle pack instead of single piece from Sifr’s flagship store or e-commerce site.
- Sign-up for Sifr’s newsletter to get first hand info of promotions and clearance sale.
- (THE BEST DEAL) – Wait for PERCENTILE for their super clearance (they cleared all Pima tee at $7 during the last PERCENTILE in May 2016!!)
Uniqlo needs no introduction and is without a doubt one of our favourite places to find menswear in Singapore. They offer a wide range of apparels at very reasonable pricing and runs weekly special offer on selected items.
In view of the topic – Essential Tees – their Supima cotton is something too good not to be included in this post. It comes in V-neck and crew neck, Long sleeve and short sleeve, and its available in multiple colors.
What’s more impressive it’s the price tag, SG$14.90 for a basic suprima tee (WHAT?!).
Side note: In-case you are wondering the difference between Pima and Supima (like we have), this post explains it well. Basically there’s no difference – “Supima” is the trademark name used to promote and market textile and apparel products made with American Pima cotton. Hah!
>> Where to buy?
Uniqlo opened its first outlet in Tampines1 which resulted in weeks of long queue. Uniqlo have since expanded across the whole of Singapore.
Uniqlo also started their own e-commerce store selling most items as well as running limited offers on selected product. If you sign up to their newsletter, you will get notified on any online or in-store offers as well as new product release and collaborations.
As mentioned, they have an outlet in all parts of Singapore (see full list here).
>> Buyer’s tips:
Their biggest outlet in Suntec City is definitely our favorite outlet to shop. It has the biggest range of items (and sizes), yet it’s not so crowded like some of their other outlets.
Look out for their special racks where they place super clearance items at really cheap pricing. Don’t have high expectations though as there are normally limited sizing and these clearance items are not all that impressive.
Final Tips On Buying The Essential Tee
As with any menswear items, when you go for shopping for the essential tee – ALWAYS TRY THEM ON BEFORE BUYING.
This will ensure the size and cutting fits your size and body shape. Better still, it enhanced your body shape.
>> Other things to consider when you try on the tee:
Some colors look awesome as a tee but might not good well with your skin tone. Also take note of whether the color matches the bottoms you have (pants/ shorts), or will you have to buy another bottom just to match it.
Side note: Generally, it your bottom is denim it should be able to go with any color.
Thickness of the tee
Feel the fabric using your hand as well as when you try it on. Are you ok with the thickness of the tee? If it’s too thick you probably will not wear that often. Avoid getting fabrics that are too thin that others can see your n*ps.
Side note: Darker color fabrics are usually thicker than the light colored tees.
Feel for the label when you try the t-shirt on. Whether the label makes you feel uncomfortable. If it does, is it possible to remove.
Do note that almost every shop in Singapore that sells men’s clothing carries and sells essential tees – brands like Topman, Zara, Pull & Bear, Tangs, Robinsons and so on.
These three brands however are where we frequent to get our essential tees stocked. Primarily based on fabric material, cutting and pricing.
Now you know where we get our favourite plain essential tees, and what to look for, its time for you to go out there and try them on.
If you were skeptical about the essential tee, we hope this post can give you a reason to try (no need to buy if you don’t like what you see in the fitting room yeah).
If you like this post, do also check out other similar post in the Singapore’s context.
Feel free to leave in the comment if you’ve tried other brands and would strongly recommend it to the committee.