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Your T-Shirt Shouldn't Have To Say Too Much

The best plain tees don't try too hard. But that doesn't mean they can't be the star of the show.

basic tees

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.

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The Best Overall T-Shirt
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.

The Best Upgrade T-Shirt
Joe Mccoy Pocket Tee
The Real McCoy's

Vintage repro brand The Real McCoy's makes some the heftiest, hardest-wearing tees out there. This one's made in Japan from 100-percent Japanese cotton, and comes with a single chest pocket.

The Best Affordable T-Shirt
U Crew Neck 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. Plus, it comes in a dozen colors.

Essential Crew

Kotn's Essential Crew is the short-sleeve version of our favorite long-sleeve, Kotn's Essential Long-Sleeve. A simple tee with few, if any, frills, it's made from 100-percent long staple Egyptian cotton. There are three colors to choose from, too.

Classic Vintage Tee

Trust Australian surf lifestyle brand Rhythm to make the perfect, broken-in tee. It comes in a faded navy blue with a super soft hand feel.

Pocket T-Shirt

This sky blue Pocket T-shirt from Knickerbocker's flatters every body, courtesy of its thin yet pronounced neck and straight fit.

Cotton Hemp Tee
Taylor Stitch

Cotton-hemp blends produce T-shirts with impressive weightlessness. Use this one as a base layer under a sweater or a top to pair with your new jacket.

Slub Vintage Pocket Tee
Buck Mason
Buck Mason

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. 

Standard T-Shirt
Alex Mill

Alex Mill's catalog covers all the bases. But, it's the brand's T-shirts were impressed by most. (Ok, maybe the chinos, too.) They're simple, soft, and come in an array of sizes and colors.

Pocket Tee

Noah's premium tee eschews new cotton in favor of pigment-dyed and washed cotton. It has a decent heft and a buttery hand feel to match. 

Original Tee

Made from a 5-ounce blend of hemp and organic cotton, this shirt is textured and drapey. The garment-dyed style features a classic fit and relaxed neckline. 

Organic Cotton Pocket Tee

This shirt features a midweight cotton knit that is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard. Made in Vietnam, it has a slim fit and single chest pocket.

Supima Crew Tee
Forty Five

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. 

Relaxed Tee
Richer Poorer

Richer Poorer's 100 percent cotton tee features dropped shoulders, a relaxed fit through the body and a pigmentation inspired by Shibori dyes that's applied by hand.

Pocket T-Shirt

Yes, Viberg makes boots and shoes, but the brand's T-shirt is nothing to shake your head at. It has a vintage heft, classic shape, and soft black hue.

2 Pack Plain Tee
Velva Sheen

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. 

Pocket Tee
Imogene + Willie

This vintage black Pocket Tee comes from Nashville-based brand Imogene + Willie. It's woven from 100-percent cotton in the US, and finished with vintage detailing that adds durability.

Luca T-Shirt

Séfr's sunshine-colored pocket tee — aka the Luca — has longer sleeves meant to reference the best vintage ones.

Crew Neck T-Shirt
Los Angeles Apparel

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.

Athens T-Shirt
Lady White Co.

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 reinforced seams throughout.

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