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Pull Off Marlon Brando’s White T-Shirt Look

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The white t-shirt isn’t just an additional source of layering in cold weather; it’s also an easy way to cap off a classic look. Like James Dean and many others of his era, Marlon Brando (seen below on the set of A Streetcar Named Desire) knew how to wear the white tee and more importantly, knew which type to wear. It goes without saying, but not all white t-shirts are created equal.

American actor Marlon Brando in character as Stanley Kowalski in the film 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' directed by Elia Kazan, 1950. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
(John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Wearing an item that fits you properly is paramount, and here, Brando nails the skin-tight fit. The shirt’s sleeves end mid-bicep, making his arms appear longer while highlighting his shoulders. The fabric appears light but not see-through. The shirt complements the rest of the outfit without standing too far out. In essence, a look to strive for. Below, RealClearLife has selected five white t-shirts for various body types and styles.



The Classic Crew by KOTN ($30)

This shirt is cut slim but long enough in the hem for guys on the taller side to wear. For this one, KOTN uses an Egyptian cotton blend, making it one of the softer shirts around. It’s great for wearing under a suit or just by itself with some printed shorts.



Crew Slub Tee by Buck Mason ($28)

For those of you with a bit of bulk, this slub tee has a bit more structure to fit around you. The rounded hem gives a tailored look that’s quite flattering. (If you’re wondering, slub cotton is slightly textured fabric that’s more breathable.)

(Buck Mason)
(Buck Mason)


Men’s Crew Neck T-Shirt by Uniqlo ($10)

A luxury tee at a fraction of the cost. Made with Supima cotton, the fabric feels like silk and makes colors (yes, even white) shine. The Japanese company cuts all its clothing slimmer and side-fitted in the arms and shoulders, while slightly roomier in the body.



Ringspun Jersey Tee by Reigning Champ ($99 for 2)

This wide-cut shirt’s details are what separate it from the average undershirt: reverse flatlocked seams, set-in sleeves, rib-bound collar, and bartacked reinforcements. Sturdy and reliable, the tee feels just as new as the day you bought it, even after a year’s worth of washing.

(Reigning Champ)


Lee by Unis ($52)

With its high hem and slim cut, this shirt is better for smaller guys, but its classic fit means it won’t be too tight for those on the larger end of the spectrum. Unis’ Lee has the vintage t-shirt feel you’ve been searching for in its fabric but also its look.