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Great t-shirts have always been a wardrobe staple — essential for staying fresh while working out, keeping cozy while lounging, and, now, making a fashion statement. Well-dressed execs are rocking Everlane’s Premium-Weight Crew with a suit, while hypebeasts sport Carhartt’s Heavyweight Short-Sleeve to showcase grail-worthy sneakers and accessories. Everyone seems to be upping their shirt game.
The best modern t-shirts are made with premium fabrics that stay comfortable all day, with flattering and stylish fits. But don’t count out that classic four-pack quite yet. When needing something fresh in a hurry, there’s nothing better than putting on a crisp Hanes white tee.
There is one downside to the meteoric rise of t-shirts: shopping for great tees is now a serious chore. To narrow the search, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite t-shirt brands below. With a range of brands like Everlane and Hanes, and almost every fabric, hemline, neckline, and fit you can imagine, there should be a t-shirt that can suit every need.
Editor’s T-Shirt Picks
Hottest T-Shirt Brands of 2023
From classic cotton tees to performance shirts you can wear to happy hour, here are our favorite tees to buy right now.
Editor’s Pick: Premium-Weight Crew Tee
Everlane has taken the clothing world by storm with hyper-minimalist essentials for men and women. The brand’s Premium-Weight Crew T-shirt showcases Everlane’s understanding of what we want out of our basics. Boasting a durable, dense cotton construction, the tee feels and looks like a high-quality piece of clothing. It blends right in with designer slacks and dress shoes for the office, but also looks great with straight-fit jeans and sneakers. Buy Premium-Weight Crew Tee, $45 at Everlane
Most Durable: Force Relaxed Midweight Tee
You don’t have to be a construction worker to rock a Carhartt T-shirt. Trendsetters are wearing Carhartt tees’ durable comfort and workwear looks and making a statement. The shirt is made of a cotton-polyester blend and features a large, slightly boxy fit, so consider ordering a size smaller than usual. Buy Carhartt Force Relaxed Tee, $25 at Amazon
Best Boxy Fit: Off-White Patch Pocket Tee
The European label Lemaire serves chic Parisian basics very well, especially when it comes to classics like the off white tee. The oversized pocket, dropped shoulder, and longer sleeves all add to this shirt’s appeal, giving you a boxier silhouette that pairs nicely with fitted slacks. Not to mention the beige stitch, which is subtle yet contrasting enough to give this shirt some added intrigue when up close. Buy Lemaire Off-White Patch Pocket Tee, $190 at Ssense
4. Fresh Clean Threads
Best Slim Fit: Crewneck Tee
The name gives it away: Fresh Clean Threads promises high-quality, no-frills essentials, and they deliver. Specializing in a fitted look, the brand’s t-shirts are especially flattering — whether under a button-up or solo. You also get a huge range of color options, so we suggest picking up a few if you like the fit. Buy Fresh Clean Threads Crew Neck, $24 at Amazon
Oversized Fit (Sponsored): Core Oversized Tee
Elwood Clothing is a great stop if you’re looking for some oversized tees. The LA brand is nailing the droopy, Nineties-inspired vibe right now, and they’re doing it in some versatile, unique colors too. Their Core tee comes in a variety of muted, versatile colors — all of which have been hand-distressed for a soft, worn-in look. Buy Elwood Core Oversized Tee, $23
$30 at Nordstrom
6. Fear of God Essentials
Best Bang For Your Buck: Black Bonded Tee
If there’s one brand that excels in high-quality basics, then it’s Fear of God. Their essentials line is not only affordable, but they don’t compromise on quality, delivering you a high-end product for a fraction of the price. This mock neck bonded tee is great for transitional seasons, with longer sleeves vs. the traditional short sleeve, and a higher neck that can be dressed up or down. Buy Black Bonded Tee, $40 at Ssense
7. Entire Studios
Vintage Look: Dart Tee
The best products always feel a bit aged. They’ve lived a life far longer than your own, and it’s visible through the wear and patinaed fabric. That’s what makes Entire Studios Dart Tee so great. It looks like it’s seen the world a thousand times over due to its faded wash. Buy Entire Studios Tee, $60 at Ssense
8. Calvin Klein
Best Undershirt: Cotton Crew Neck Tee
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. Buy Calvin Klein Crew Neck Tees, $35 at Amazon
9. James Perse
Coolest V-Neck: Combed Cotton Short Sleeve
James Perse has been synonymous with upscale loungewear and basics since the brand started 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 uses Perse’s signature jersey fabric along with a slightly relaxed fit for a T-shirt that’s almost too comfortable. Buy James Perse Short Sleeve V-neck, $80 at Mr. Porter
10. Under Armour
Best Workout Pick: Tactile Tech Tee
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 chafing. Buy Under Armour Tactical Tech Tee, $15 at Amazon
We’ve tried several T-shirts that aim to mimic the soft, “lived-in” feel of a vintage tee, but we think Buck Mason does it best with this Slub Classic tee. The shirt is garment washed with enzymes and softener to give that ultra-soft feel. Better yet, Buck Mason was able to create that thin look and lightweight feel that hangs better than stiff new tees.
Most modern tees come from young, trendy brands, but 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 Classic T-shirt is the evolution of Sunspel’s first tee in 1908, which they say was the first luxury tee on the market.
For sustainably-minded shoppers, we recommend this Groovy Pocket tee from Outerknown. The shirt is made from organic cotton that’s grown without chemicals, and the material feels extremely soft and comfortable when you’re wearing it. It’s available in 10 different colors, all complete with a surfer-inspired look (the brand is owned by surfing’s greatest, Kelly Slater).
Velva Sheen is a great brand for straightforward tees. Their T-shirts come in stylish solid colors, such as the olive hue seen here. 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.
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.
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 its offerings in recent years. Our current favorite: this 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.
Mack Weldon’s known for designing well-made basics and wardrobe essentials, from underwear to button-ups. But it’s this best-selling tee you’ll want to buy multiples of to wear throughout the week. The company used 100 percent soft pima cotton for the tee, and it’s a great top for wearing on its own, lounging around the house, or even under a jacket on cold, fall nights. It comes in five different sizes and 15 stylish colors.
Nike makes some of our favorite workout apparel, especially when it comes to its line of running tops. If you’re searching for a breathable tee to wear running, look no further than this one. It’s constructed with recycled polyester and has a soft, lightweight feel. Plus, the top wicks away sweat to help keep you dry during your workouts. Bonus: There are reflective details to make you more visible when you’re running at night or early in the morning.
What is it about KOTN’s crewneck T-shirt that makes it just so perfect? It might be the silky-soft Egyptian cotton the brand uses, that’s sustainably-sourced and ethically-made (it’s OEKO-TEX-certified in case you’re wondering). Or maybe it’s the way the shirt hangs just right, relaxed enough to not feel constricted but not so boxy that you feel like you’re drowning in fabric. Or maybe it’s that the slightly longer sleeves and the hemline cut expertly at the hip make this shirt as great for a casual stroll as it is with trousers for a fancy night out. No, what makes KOTN’s T-shirt so perfect is all of the above.