Trying to choose the best plain white t-shirt is like trying to choose the “best” bottle of red wine. What’s that even mean, when there’s such a dizzying number of variations? Buying a fresh one means figuring out how you feel about fit and shape and cut—and all sorts of smaller details, too. Do you want short guns-baring sleeves or bigger, boxier ones? A traditional straight hem or a curved hem for a less-basic untucked look?
There’s no unicorn “best” plain white t-shirt that tops them all (though if we hear otherwise, we’ll let you know). And to be honest, that’s a good thing. Plenty of variety means you can stock your drawers with the right plain white tees for all sorts of situations.
That’s why we’ve sifted through an endless piled of plain white t-shirts to turn up our 17 favorites. Slim-fit white tees, beefy tees, platonic-ideal pocket tees, everyday undershirt tees, and even a workout-ready white tee. Whatever your plain white tee preference, we’ve got you. So allow us, the sommeliers of plain white t-shirts, to guide you through our tee list.
Best Boxy Tee
Uniqlo’s main line is great if you’re on the hunt for a quality everyday tee, but if you’re looking for an option with a little more flavor, Christophe Lemaire’s take is for you. It still sticks the landing in terms of affordability (it’s Uniqlo, after all), but the sleeves are longer, the chest is wider, and the vibes are significantly vibier.
Best Two-Pack of Tees
Reigning Champ has been churning out beefy cotton bangers for 15 years, and it applies the same level of care to its tees as it does to its world-class sweatshirts. A 2-pack will run you a clean 100 bucks, but for that money you’re getting made-in-Canada, ultra-durable goodness with reinforced collars that won’t get all noodly after a few washes.
Best Something Extra Tee
We have nothing but respect for anyone willing to brave the bins in search of the ever-elusive, perfectly-fitting vintage pocket tee. But if you’re short on time, rest easy knowing John Elliott put in the legwork for you. The designer’s retro-indebted T-shirt is cut from a slubby cotton with a touch of distressing around the neck, and incorporates vintage-inspired stitching that solidify his commitment to the cause. Oh, and the distressing is unique to each tee, so even if the whole squad apes your swag yours will still be yours alone.
Best Ridiculously Cozy Tee
No, you’re not dreaming: The people behind the sheets you sleep on also make a killer tee you’ll want to sleep in. Sleek, streamlined (no pesky tags here), and oh-so-soft, Brooklinen’s made-in-the-USA tee is designed for classic looks and peak comfort, 24/7.
Best Pocket Tee
Adsum is one of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets when it comes to understated menswear made “the right way”: with quality, fit, and timeless design top of mind. The brand’s pocket tee comes in a ’90s-baby cut (squared-off and a little boxy) that’ll look good no matter which way the trend winds blow. And the 250-gram heavyweight, made-in-Canada cotton helps it land close to full-on sweatshirt territory, great news for anyone (read: all of us) looking for a tee they can wear—and wear hard—all season long.
Best Affordable Tee
Uniqlo has the extreme seasons on lock, with both its Heattech pieces for winter and the company’s Airism technology for the sweaty days. You can easily toss this on as an undershirt —in fact, we’d recommend it, since this poly-spandex-blend crewneck is cool to the touch, wicks away moisture, and defends against dank odors. But the Airism tee can hang on its own if needed, because it lacks the glossy sheen of other synthetic shirts.
Best Tech-y Tee
Mack Weldon’s tech-focused approach to basics yields the AIRKNITx undershirt, a top contender for both summer fits and general undergarment use. It combines a blend of lightweight microfibers, a dollop of stretch, and a breezy mesh construction to let your vapors evaporate. This is how you keep your button-ups free of sweat stains. (Though if you need more undershirt options, we’ve got you covered.)
Best Tee to Buy in Bulk
Kirkland Signature’s multi-pack tees are how you get the most bang for your t-shirt buck. Their thick, peachy-soft fabric is made from 100 percent ring-spun cotton. And like some of the more expensive teas on this list, the straight, slightly boxy silhouette comes without fussy side seams.
Best Bargain Tee
Hanes has served up more than a billion Beefy-Ts since debuting it in the 1980s. The secret to the tee’s popularity is simple: it’s a classically trim cut with a soft but substantial, all-cotton jersey fabric, at an affordable price.
Best Slim Tee
We love Velva Sheen’s tees as an OG brand, but they also win us over for their slim cut. They’re super flattering, regardless of when you last did a chest day. And, unlike other tees, you don’t have to size down just to get the slim silhouette you’re after.
Best Tee to Wear With a Suit
Rocking a tee beneath a suit jacket is a style move that’s more advanced than you’d think, with a handful of pitfalls. Perhaps the most important detail is the neck—the Sunspel Sea Island’s crew neck doesn’t sit too high, nor does it slouch like a boat neck. Plus, the coound collar construction means the collar lays flat and holds its shape, with no worry about bacon neck after a few washes. Plus, Sunspel’s Sea Island tee can hold its own when the suit jacket comes off, thanks to its luxuriously smooth hand, slight sheen, and classic trim fit. But
Best Hard-Workin’ Tee
Like all of Carhartt’s goods, this tee is tough but comfy, with a hardy cotton-blend fabric that keeps you cool while you work—whether that’s in Zoom meetings or the garage. It also won’t restrict your range of motion thanks to the roomy cut and raglan sleeves. And the cherry on top? The fabric is also stain-resistant.
Best Investment Tee
Need more beef from your tee? 3sixteen’s heavyweight t-shirts are some hefty boys, made of a custom-knit all-cotton jersey that’s simultaneously soft and impressively dense. While there are heavier t-shirts out there, 3sixteen’s stays just this side of sweatshirt territory—a balance of heft and comfort, like a cozy weighted blanket.
Best Curved-Hem Tee
All those untucked tees with the curved hem you’re seeing these days? That’s because of Buck Mason. They hit the nail on the head with their original curved hem tee, sparking a new style that look good hanging free or buckled up.
Best Tee for Screenprinting
If you’re looking to jumpstart your streetwear brand, you’ll need a graphic tee and you’ll need to do it on a Gildan. Gildan’s been the canvas for some of the most iconic graphic tees in history, including many a Supreme tee (and a Frank Ocean name check). Maybe a year or two from now, we’ll be name-checking your label.