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White tees are an indispensable part of a man’s wardrobe. These are the ones we trust.
It’s impossible to overstate the impact of the plain white T-shirt. Donned by silver screen demigods like Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, and James Dean, referenced by rap artists like Dem Franchise Boyz, Travis Scott, and J. Cole, and worn by seemingly everyone at least once, the white tee is ingrained not only in popular culture but our psyches, too.
It’s as Americana as it is metropolitan, unique as it utilitarian, and everything adjective in-between. Versatility has gotten the white tee far; perfect as a top layer under the scorching sun or a jack-of-all-trades underneath another garment, there’s nothing it can’t work with — and well, for that matter. As such, toiling over the intricacies of different brand’s versions may seem counterintuitive. It’s just a white T-shirt, right? Wrong! Fit, feel, and, of course, affordability are important considerations.
Fortunately for you, we’ve weighed the options, of which are there millions, and rounded up a list of our favorites — from the $15 budget buy to the $65 splurge.
Kotn’s Essential Crew isn’t terribly boxy (or unflattering). Sure, it’s a tad oversized, but it fits snug across the chest, comfortably over the shoulders and under the arm, and it hits at just the right spot on your hips. Plus, it’s plenty thick. I’ve tried to stray from it in favor of others but I keep coming back.
Velva Sheen’s classic Regular Tee is made in the US from 100-percent cotton. Best of all? It has gone largely unchanged since the early 20th century sportswear brand debuted it. Touch a piece of history with this T-shirt.
The Uniqlo U T-shirt made its rounds earlier this year when Tyler, The Creator was spotted wearing one around LA and on stage during one of his album premieres. His made its way into the crowd and concertgoers confirmed its identity. The revelation caused the shirt to sell out almost instantly. At just $15, it’s a hell of an option — and it’s beloved by those that could afford something much pricier.
This Premium Weight Relaxed Crew is everything you and I both have come to expect from Everlane. It’s a T-shirt that’s quite nice, transparent about its construction, and budget-friendly.
Available in 20 colors (although white’s how we judged it), the Modern Essential Tee by Tomorrow’s Laundry is a no-fuss favorite of mine. It fits nicely, stands up to the wash surprisingly well and was coated with silicone for an even softer feel.
This option is American designer Todd Snyder’s premium iteration. Made in LA from 100-percent garment dyed cotton jersey, it’ll get the job done — and then some.
Outerknown’s an obvious add to most lists. The brand covers so many categories. But, we’d never add a brand based off faith alone. This T-shirt’s a good buy, brand aside. It’s made from sustainably and humanely sourced 100-percent organic Peruvian pima cotton that’s been pigment-dyed for a worn-in look and feel.
You’d be hard pressed to find a better T-shirt at this kind of price. For the going rate of a good beer, you can get yourself a solid unisex T-shirt that’s made in the USA from a blend of cotton and polyester. Soft and lightweight, these are machine washable, too.
What’s slub? It’s a process prior to weaving that affords cotton an irregular, largely aesthetic texture. It does lend a unique softness, too, though, making these types of T-shirts sought after for both their feel and their retro-tinged look. Buck Mason’s blends both old and new. “It’s a new tee that looks and feels a lot like your old favorites,” the brand states.
Made in Portugal, NYC brand Knickerbocker’s The Pocket T-Shirt trades lightweight blends for 100-percent heavyweight cotton. Weighing in at 7 oz, it’ll drape nicely without making you wade in a puddle of your own perspiration.
Represent’s new The Core T-Shirt has a slight mock neck, meaning it rides higher than your typical crew. For some, that might be uncomfortable, but I like it. The mock gives the 100 percent cotton tee better structure.
Taylor Stitch’s makes it white tee from a mix of upycycled cotton and recycled polyester, which makes the shirt’s soft but also heavy. It was also made without water, and with very little CO2 emitted, making this a sustainable option, too.
COS’ classic white tee is more modern than Velva Sheen’s, for example. There’s a slight shine to this option, which makes it work better with sweats or track pants than jeans, in my opinion.
Adapture sells its T-shirts in three different fits, Standard, Slim, and Relaxed. This is the straight-down-the-middle pick, aka Standard. Neither too bulky nor too long, it’s designed to fit the way most like a T-shirt to — and the fabric is moisture-wicking.
The best T-shirts are hefty without being heavy, if that makes sense. Full without making you faint. American Trench’s Interlock Tee is just that: roomy and relaxed, structured and yet very soft.
I know. This is an expensive T-shirt. But it’s made by Sunspel using Sea Island Cotton, one of the finest long-fibered fabrics around. It’s incredibly luxe, soft and extremely supple against the skin — even when it’s hot out.
Well, well, well. You should’ve known you’d see slub cotton again. This version is what kickstarted label Alex Mill. The brand was founded upon an original T-shirt design its creators felt was the best available option — “perfect,” they said. Would I agree? Not entirely, but it’s plenty nice and a polished option at an attainable price at the very least.
This T-shirt pays tribute to the earliest versions of the garment, which were brought home by GIs after WWII. That means the fit is slimmer (size up if you want it oversized), the pocket is small and the neck is mounted, meaning its flat and thin.