Picking a T-shirt can much less complicated than choosing a dress shirt. There are less measurements to take into account because there are less elements. No need to worry about neck sizes or cuff lengths. But one of the most important parts of a T-shirt is the neck style. One of the most popular and versatile is the crew neck but what exactly defines it?
The crew neck style was born at the same time as the T-shirt itself. Originally, T-shirts were an underwear item that was worn beneath a shirt to absorb sweat. They were also popular early on with American football players to stop their shoulder pads chafing. The US Navy first used the crew neck frequently on their T-shirts, which were known as Gob Shirts. Another name for them was the scoopy neck T-shirt and this lives on in the German named ‘Schrank’. The term is still used for the style of top in German-American neighbourhoods in the north-east of the US, particularly if the T-shirt is grey in colour. The idea of the crew neck is that it is a collarless shirt or sweater that sits around the base of the neck. Often the material around the neck is ribbed and added to the T-shirt as a separate piece. But not all rounded necks are crew necks. The crew neck should be a snug fit while the round or scoop neck is generally looser. Roll necks are higher than the crew neck, often with a roll of material while a ballet neck is a ladies version with a wider neckline.
Crew neck variations
As well as the classic crew neck T-shirt, there are other variations on the theme. The Henley shirt is an example where the neck line breaks up with a placket containing two to five buttons. When the buttons are fastened, it has the same line as a crew neck. The mock neck or mock turtleneck is another version that extends around one inch higher than normal. This results in a look like a turtleneck but without the roll of fabric. A modern combination of necks is the blunt neck. This takes the V-neck straight sides and combines with a crew neck line and straight area at the bottom of the neck. These tops are ideal for wearing under dress shirts as well as in their own right.
Why choose a crew neck?
Crew neck T-shirts are adaptable to most all situations. They layer very well with a casual shirt or sweater. They also work well with V-neck layers, button downs or a cardigan. They can work under a dress shirt, though a scoop neck is usually better as the neckline is lower and remains hidden. The higher neckline on a crew neck is perhaps the only downfall for some people. If you don’t like anything too close to your neck, then a crew neck may not be the one for you. But then again, if you wear a dress shirt a lot, isn’t that much the same thing?