Finding a beach-appropriate T-shirt has gotten harder and harder over the years as designers have bedazzled casual tops with loud patterns, designs, and logos better fit for billboards. If surfwear was once a small corner of the fashion world stocked with Pendleton shirts, it is now a 13 billion-dollar industry defined by the obnoxiously fluorescent. This means that men no longer have to seek out memorable shirts: They have to find less memorable, less objectionable shirts. The reward for searching is feeling like the only guy at the beach who doesn’t look like product placement.
A great retort to the T-shirt chaos are Jack O’Neill shirts, a line with 61 years of innovation from its brand patriarch, a man who invented the first wetsuit and changed cold-water sports forever. Our pick of the litter, the Premier tee, represents everything we look for in a T-shirt – it’s slim-fitting, woven from 100 percent cotton, and, best of all, prewashed, so it won’t shrink. The subtle screen-printed logo displays the address of O’Neill’s original surf shop – the world’s first, actually – which opened in Santa Cruz, California, in 1952. Everything old is cool again. [$26; oneill.com]Back to top