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Great T-shirts have always been a staple in every wardrobe. A good T-shirt is essential for staying fresh while working out, keeping cozy while lounging, and now they’re also a mainstream fashion — and power — statement. Well-dressed execs are rocking premium tees with a suit, while hypebeasts sport plain white T-shirts to showcase grail-worthy sneakers and accessories. In short, everyone seems to be upping their T-shirt game.
This T-shirt renaissance would have sounded insane a few decades ago. Stand-alone tees used to be a pillar of counterculture fashion, stylishly protesting the collard shirt corporate world. But once Brando and Dean donned their white tees in A Streetcar Named Desire and Rebel Without a Cause, respectively, the T-shirt was changed for good.
Now that tees are such an important garment, many guys are ditching their regular six-pack of undershirts for something nicer. The best modern T-shirts are made with premium fabrics that stay comfortable all day, with flattering, stylish fits and features such as anti-stink technology. We can’t promise that you’ll look like Dean or Brando – but you might feel like them.
There is one downside to the meteoric rise of T-shirts: shopping for great tees is now a serious chore. To help narrow down the search a bit, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite T-shirt brands for men below. We’ve selected a range of tees with almost every kind of fabric, hemline, neckline and fit you can imagine, so there should be something for everyone.
Everlane has taken the clothing world by storm with hyper-minimalist essentials for men and women. This Air Crew Tee pretty much sums up what Everlane is about: high-quality materials, modern looks and reasonable prices. The fit is slim and the cotton is finer than Everlane’s regular cotton crew shirt, giving the Air Crew a light, breezy feel that sets the standard for T-shirts we want to be slipping into today.
2. James Perse
James Perse has been synonymous with upscale loungewear and basics since the brand started back in 1994. James Perse’s T-shirts are one of their best-sellers, because they balance laid-back and high-end, with tees that work for everything from a beach stroll in Malibu to a boardroom meeting in Beverly Hills. This shirt below uses Perse’s signature jersey fabric along with a slightly relaxed fit for a T-shirt that’s almost too comfortable.
3. Calvin Klein
If you’re looking for plain, no-fuss undershirts (that can also be worn solo), Calvin Klein has you covered. This pack of shirts from Calvin Klein includes three crewneck tees with a classic fit and a soft plain cotton build. They’re nothing special – and that’s exactly why they’re great.
You don’t have to be a construction worker to rock a Carhartt T-shirt. Some trendsetters recently discovered that Carhartt tees’ durable comfort and workwear look is great on normal folks too. The shirt is made of a cotton-polyester blend and features a large, slightly boxy fit, so consider ordering a size smaller than usual.
5. Under Armour
Workout tees offer a considerable upgrade over regular cotton T-shirts for any form of exercise. Good examples, such as Under Armour, effectively wick sweat and fend off BO for a cleaner, less smelly workout. This tactical tee also has a flatlock seam construction that prevents chaffing.
Brooklinen is a new company that started with high-quality bedding and recently expanded with loungewear that’s as comfortable as, well, a bed. Their T-shirts are one of the best pieces for upping your downtime wardrobe with a light jersey cotton-modal blend. The fit is relaxed (for doing just that) and there are no tags to speak of, so no scratching along your neckline either.
The Japanese brand Uniqlo somehow manages to be a worldwide powerhouse with a cult following in the fashion industry. They’re famous for affordable, modern basics (for men and women) such as this Supima cotton tee. The Supima cotton is made using Uniqlo’s special process that yields more texture and less scuffing. Stock up on these to wear to everything from a concert to job interview.
With this Element tee, Rhone marries everyday style and exercise gear. The shirt utilizes SilverTech threads that keep BO in check while you’re running errands or jogging. Rhone is a go-to brand for workout basics and for good reason – their shirts keep you feeling fresh and moving comfortably all day long.
9. Buck Mason
Vintage pocket tees such as this one from Buck Mason are a great addition to off-duty outfits, loungewear and casual office wear. This tee is made of loose-knit, textured “slub” cotton that’s as soft as it is good looking. The shirt is also conveniently pre-shrunk for a consistently great fit and features a modern curved hem.
Most modern tees come from young, trendy brands; Sunspel is different. The high-end English retailer was founded in 1860 but still competes with the new guys (think: quality materials, better construction and a tailored –but not tight — fit). This cotton-jersey T-shirt is the product of three decades of work to make the best high-end tee, and the work certainly paid off.
For sustainably-minded shoppers, we recommend this Rewind Recycled tee from Outerknown. The shirt’s cotton is made from repurposed leftovers from Outerknown’s facilities and the polyester is recycled from waste such as plastic bottles. But the end result is the opposite of trash with a super soft feel and a surfer-inspired look.
12. Velva Sheen
Velva Sheen is a great brand for straightforward tees. Their T-shirts come in stylish solid colors, such as the lavender/gray tee below, and feature a slightly short cut. Order your normal size for a slim fit or a size up for a more relaxed fit.
GAP is synonymous with classic, All-American basics, and you can’t go wrong with this classic T-shirt. Whether you need a cozy tee for a day at the beach, or you’re trying to nail the Fifties punk look for a night out, this white tee is a great option. The tee features a straight fit, sits right at the hip and uses 100% cotton.
14. J. Crew
Another great stop for simple, no-frills tees is J. Crew. The brand has a great selection of T-shirts, such as this broken-in tee. The shirt comes off the rack looking and feeling like your favorite old tee thanks to extra garment dying and a special wash. J. Crew also offers multiple fit options including slim, tall and classic, so pick whatever works for your style — and body shape.
Lululemon might be known for women’s yoga pants, but they actually make killer men’s loungewear too. This V-neck comes with Lululemon’s “Vitasea” fabric, which is a soft blend of pima cotton and lyocell. This comfortability, plus a very flattering fit make it one of our favorite tees on the market, even if you aren’t doing your downward dog.
16. CUTS Clothing
CUTS’ best-selling T-shirt looks deceptively simple but has a ton of thoughtful details that make it a winner in our book. The stretchy fabric and longer cut of this Curve-Hem T-shirt from CUTS makes it incredibly versatile, whether you’re wearing it to lounge around the house, or for a workout or run. The company’s “PYCA Pro” material is buttery soft and smooth against the skin, while the tailored fit hugs your frame just-so for better ease of movement — no awkward bunching or fear of your shirt riding up here.
You can’t have a T-shirt roundup without mentioning Hanes, and we’ve been surprised at how the venerable basics brand has stepped up their offerings in recent years. Our current fave: their Performance Crewneck Tee, which features the same comfort you know and love from Hanes but with the company’s “X-Temp” technology keeping you cool, and their “FreshIQ” technology working to minimize any odor-causing bacteria. All the fancy lingo just basically means you get a trim, comfortable T-shirt that won’t stink or cause you to sweat profusely, even when working out or out in the sun. And when it comes to T-shirts, it doesn’t really get better than that.