There’s nothing like an old, faded, incredibly comfortable T-shirt. It carries years of stories in its washed-out threads. While it takes years to get there, the process is well worth it.
The best T-shirts are uncomplicated, but because of their simplicity, the smallest details have substantial effects. The material, the knit, the seams, the silhouette, the hem, the neckline — all these parts (and more) come together to create a garment that transcends social and economic divisions. So if you invest in a quality tee now — our favorites are below — you’re sure to be rewarded in coming years, as the garment will just keep getting better.
Hanes Beefy T
Hanes has been serving up the beef for decades and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better tee for the price. It's super soft from the get go and has just the right weight to wear as a year-rounder.
Pro Club Heavyweight Cotton Short Sleeve Crewneck T-Shirt
As far as multi-pack t-shirts go, Pro Club’s sit in a class where few others do. The all-cotton fabric is substantial, yet comfy and the price is tough to beat.
Uniqlo U Crewneck Short-Sleeve T-Shirt
Uniqlo’s U sublabel is a style hack for fashion fiends. And among the lot of Christoph Lemaire-designed basics, the t-shirt stands out thanks to its thick cotton jersey, bound collar and impeccable fit.
KC Jacks Foundation Short Sleeve Shirt
With the backing of military-grade fabric and construction behind it, KC Jacks’ Foundation Short Sleeve Shirt is ready for heavy duty. The collar stays close to the neck, it’s long enough to tuck in, it comes in a range of colors and it’s made right here in The States.
Los Angeles Apparel 6.5oz T-Shirt
Made in Los Angeles, this shirt has a 6.5-ounce American-cotton fabric that is garment-dyed with natural enzymes — that means it’ll feel broken-in from the first wear. It features a generous fit and high neck line.
Everlane Premium Weight Pocket T-Shirt
This shirt features a 6.2-ounce cotton knit that is pigment-dyed and garment-washed so it looks gently loved. Made in Vietnam, it has a slim fit and single chest pocket.
Forty Five Supima Crew Tee
Made in the USA, Forty Five's entry into the tee market uses premium Supima cotton to knit its luscious jersey. It features a classic, vintage-style silhouette and a range of garment-dyed colorways.
Front General Store Heavy Weight T-shirt
Known as one of the best vintage stores in New York City, Front General Store also makes a great in-house basic t-shirt. Like many of the greats, it’s dense and thick, giving it a great drape. They’re comfortable thanks to the seamless body and tagless neck, and the made in Japan pedigree is a bonus.
Buck Mason Slub Classic Pocket Tee
Buck Mason's made a killing with its line of quality tees. Though the curved hem tee is a huge boon for the brand, we prefer the straight-hemmed Slub Classic Pocket Tee. It has a great hand and tons of slubby texture to distance itself from the undershirt fare. It's made in LA and comes in the requisite black and white options, but be sure to look out for its seasonal colorways, too.
Noah Recycled Cotton Tee
Noah's premium tee eschews new cotton in favor of a 100% cotton jersey. It has a decent heft and a buttery hand feel to match.
Outerknown Groovy Pocket Tee
Made from organic cotton, this shirt is loosely knit for an airy feel which goes well with its relaxed silhouette. The garment-dye process also gives the tee more character.
Todd Snyder and Champion Basic Jersey Tee
Made in Canada, this shirt features 9-ounce cotton jersey that’s sewn with vintage flat-lock machines. The shirt has a trim fit and includes a subtle C patch logo on the left sleeve.
Freenote Cloth 9 oz Pocket T-Shirt
Beefier than the self-proclaimed (but still very good) Hanes Beefy-T, Freenote Cloth's heavier-than-thou tee has a soft and dry vintage hand feel. It's cut into a Goldilocks fit and the custom-knit fabric and signature pocket details show that it's not just a plug and play tee.
Velva Sheen T-Shirt
Made in America with traditional vintage construction, this t-shirt has a classic silhouette and ribbed neck. The style runs small, so order up one size when purchasing.
3sixteen Heavyweight Plain T-Shirt
This shirt is cut and sewn in San Francisco and features a triple-needle coverstitched collar. According to the brand, the shirt will shrink 1 inch in the chest and 2 inches in the length after the first wash — size accordingly.
Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1950’s Sportswear T-shirt
When you think of Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, his t-shirt looks something like this. The fabric is a great all-around midweight, and the cut is something out of the 1950s with its trim fit and shorter sleeves.
Jungmaven 100% Hemp Pocket Tee
Made from 6.8-ounce hemp jersey, this shirt is textured and drapey. The garment-dyed style features a classic fit and relaxed neckline.
Merz B. Schwanen 2-Thread Heavy Weight T-Shirt
This shirt has a unique fabric: the outside feels tightly woven and the inside feels soft and brushed. It is made from Greek organic cotton that is knit on vintage loopwheeling machines — the classic silhouette has no side seams. (The tee will shrink a half size on the first wash.)
Lady White Co. T-Shirt
Cut, sewn and knit in Los Angeles, this pre-shrunk shirt has tubular construction (so there are no side seams). It is made with American cotton and features a double-needle binded collar.
Reigning Champ T-Shirt
Made in Canada, this shirt has a classic fit and ribbed crew neck. Of note: subtle branding on the left size seam and exposed seam stitching.
Warehouse & Co. Lot 4601 T-Shirt
Japanese-based Warehouse & Co. makes a slew of legendary goods. Its t-shirt ranks among the finest available thanks to its tubular construction, dense cotton jersey and reinforced bound collars.