20 Statement T-Shirts To Step Out In This Summer

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20 Statement T-Shirts To Step Out In This Summer

Words by The MR PORTER Team

5 July 2022

There’s surely no greater testament to the boundless creativity bubbling out of the fashion industry than the fact we’re still yet to tire of the T-shirt. In its essence, it’s the most minimally constructed of garments – typically requiring just four simple pattern pieces – and yet time after time the clever folks at the best brands succeed in taking that basic blueprint and whipping up desirable deviations that continue to whet our sartorial appetites (and swiftly migrate into our shopping baskets).

This season proves no exception. In fact, in our quest to whittle the latest crop of arrivals down to our absolute favourites, we’ve settled on no less than 20 picks that we rather fancy, with none quite like the next. From a distressed little lilac number from Balenciaga to a most elegantly tie-dyed piece from our very own Mr P., consider each of these jazzy tees to be a slip-on-and-go solution to looking pap-worthy in a pinch this summer.

Responsible craftmanship is the driving principle at need-to-know Japanese label 11.11/eleven eleven, and those who dive into its impeccable offering can expect to emerge with a piece with that’s as thoughtfully made as it is handsome. In the case of this organic cotton T-shirt, it’s been hand-painted using an impressive-sounding “mud-resist technique”, while the slouchy, high-fashion fit helps ensure that the once unfairly maligned V-neck is as far from Jersey Shore territory as it can be.

While some fashion collabs catch us by surprise, others feel so perfectly symbiotic that they can only be match made in menswear heaven. Wales Bonner and adidas’ long-standing love affair falls firmly into the latter category, with their latest capsule collection including this joyous, vintage-inspired pink-and-yellow striped tee that’s set to be a go-to for music festivals, parties in the park and other such warm-weather pursuits.

This is not just a T-shirt. This is a Balenciaga T-shirt. A subversive, surrealist take on the garment, if you will. It’s crafted from cotton-jersey and has been cast in a soft lilac – so far, so summery. But then it’s been artfully chopped and screwed and tagged with the brand’s logo in graphic white letters. Congratulations, Mr Gvasalia, you’ve only gone and done it again.

Sadly, no points will be awarded to those who correctly guessed the brand behind this Henley T-shirt – in a few short seasons, this vibrant shade of electric green has become as synonymous with Bottega Veneta as the house’s decades-old intrecciato weave. Attention-grabbing hue aside, this piece is spun from a textured terry-style cotton blend that transforms an otherwise unembellished garment into a fuzzy, wonderful-to-wear statement all of its own.

Did you love Bambi as a child or are you a heartless monster? We kid, we kid. But never kid about truly excellent nature-inspired T-shirts, such as this one from Mr Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry. Cut for a roomy fit, and made of 100 per cent cotton, this is the perfect tee to feel nostalgic in.

You don’t have to be a lover of medicinal plants in order to appreciate this T-shirt from Camp High – but it doesn’t hurt. Exclusive to MR PORTER, this OEKO-TEX certified cotton tee is a cheeky ode to sparking up and feeling a bit silly afterwards. Perhaps not for the office, but this is an ideal nights and weekends tee.

This sans-serif logo is quite a status symbol, and CELINE HOMME has made quite a few versions of this T-shirt, even one that’s covered hem-to-hem in silver sequins. For a more subtle approach, we recommend a dégradé take on the classic. Keep the rest of your outfit simple to really make the sunset hues pop.

Who doesn’t love a soft, worn-in T-shirt? And if you don’t have to be the one doing the wearing in? Well, all the better. This ERL tee, printed with an American high-school-type logo that’s crackled and creased like it’s been there forever, is soft and easy – a roll-out-of-bed piece of cotton perfection.

If you’ve never experienced the tactile pleasure of putting on an impossibly soft cotton T-shirt from James Perse, you, dear reader, are missing out. This one has a bleached pink and white pattern that is perfect for a summer in the sun.

Japanese brand KAPITAL has a real knack for creating authentic-looking Americana. This jersey tee is inspired by old football jerseys, and the number 44 it’s emblazoned with is wearing the label’s signature smiley socks.

The colour of a pack of Parma Violets, this relaxed tee from LA-based brand Lady White Co has been locally produced by the brand from custom fabrics. Lilac is a big trend in menswear this summer, but this tee is timeless enough to be part of your rotation for years to come.

What’s cute and cuddly and always lands on its paws? We’ll leave you to work that one out, but LOEWE’s printed tee should give you a clue. It’s been made in Italy from super soft cotton-jersey and is the ideal gift for a cat lover.

The starting point with the design of this T-shirt was the Summer of Love. But the end result has something of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures about it. Either way, this piece by our in-house brand Mr P. is channelling Haçienda energy and we’re all for it.

Creative director Mr Obida Obioha uses his eponymous brand and gallery in Lagos to showcase contemporary art and craftsmanship from across the African diaspora. But perhaps it is at its best when it champions local talent. This piece displays Nigerian techniques and natural dyes on cotton-jersey that’s been grown nearby.

Ocean covers more than 70 per cent of the planet. It’s a big body of water, but it’s in a bad shape, largely thanks to us. World Ocean Day is an international effort to do something about it. And for this year’s event, Orlebar Brown launched a capsule aiming to support oceanic reforesting programmes. In short, buy this T-shirt so future generations of fish can dance their merry underwater dance.

A bear with a sore head – or, rather, without one. That’s how cross you’ll be if you miss out on this drop from LA-via-Italy label Palm Angels. The signature motif from its new “Kill The Bear” collection makes for a statement piece. If you came expecting a picnic, you’re sure of a big surprise.

Magic mushrooms and psilocibin have been trickling into mainstream culture over the past few years. Not literally, thankfully, although you may be forgiven for thinking otherwise if you stare too long at this T-shirt by the wonderfully named POLITE WORLDWIDE®.

Alternatively, if you prefer being on terra firma, seek solace with this printed cotton-jersey T-shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren. We’re trying to think if there is anything that represents solid ground more than Wimbledon and teddy bears…

Back to something trippier here with Stockholm Surfboard Club, and what is perhaps their estimation of a few microdoses too many. But if you’re looking to fix your mental health using more sober means, just buy this T-shirt. Designed exclusively for MR PORTER, proceeds go to our Health In Mind Fund.

Sometimes a block of colour can be just as impactful as abstract swirls. And so it is proven with skater stalwart Stüssy and its bold summer tee, which is also emblazoned with a house of cards design. We were going to make a pun about the quality of this T-shirt not being a gamble, but we won’t. Oh…