You’re a creature of many dimensions. Sure, it can take you two hours to get dressed, and sure, you can sometimes look at your closet full of clothes and assure yourself that none of it will work for your very normal day at work. But that’s not always you. Really, more often than not, what you’re really looking for in place of those two hours and your whole closet-full of clothes is a simple T-shirt. One that is as dependable as it is comfortable and stylish. Luckily, that T-shirt is not a white whale. It’s very much available to buy.
When it comes to picking your favorite tee, there are a few factors to consider. First off, how do you want the shirt to fit? If you’re hoping for something slim cut to accentuate your figure, you’ll probably want to stay away from the boxy designs. On the other hand, if you’re just looking to lounge, then you may want something looser.
Do you want your shirt to be more on the sheer side, or are you looking for a bit more coverage? Some of the most comfortable T-shirts out there are barely there — literally. If you’re not about that life, be sure you’re looking at a shirt that is solid all the way through.
Then, of course, you’ll want to keep price points in mind. On the one hand, a great staple T-shirt is practically invaluable. But on the other hand, how much are you really willing to pay for a plain top that’s meant to be one of the most casual pieces in your wardrobe?
Ultimately, no matter which of our favorite T-shirts you choose, we’re sure you’ll always have something to throw on, regardless of the occasion.
Updated on 10/22/2019 by Mara Leighton: Updated prices, formatting, and added Universal Standard. Included a few related links and replaced out-of-stock items. We are currently testing new products, so we’ll update this guide soon.
Universal Standard has the greatest size range of the brands included on this list. Women sized 00 to 40 can find their perfect T-shirt among the brand’s selection of shirts. And if you buy a piece from its Fit Liberty collection, the company will also replace your clothes for free if your size shifts either up or down within one year of purchase.
The Tee Rex, which is included in Fit Liberty, has it all: a slightly oversized fit, soft fabric, simple and well-designed silhouette, and comfortable for all-day wear. The shirt is soft and stretchy thanks to a combination of Peruvian cotton, modal, and elastane. A crew neck, curved hem, and lengthened sleeves give the shirt a drapey shape that lends some room to breathe without erasing your shape in fabric. It fits well at your true size, but you may consider sizing up for a looser fit or down for a more slimming one also.
Insider Picks reporter Remi Rosmarin said she “loved the feel of this fabric and the shape of the shirt— the curved hem is perfect for tucking into jeans. Ultimately, I probably would have sized up so the sleeves were a little looser, but that’s all a matter of preference.”
Pros: Soft fabric, drapes nicely, comes in many sizes, Fit Liberty will replace your clothes for free if your size changes within one year of purchase
Cons: Pricier, long fitted sleeves
It’s not easy finding a great white T-shirt. Some might say it’s about as difficult as finding Moby Dick (though they’d be wrong). Enter Everlane, the direct to consumer brand that is reinventing the way in which we shop for basics. And that includes the white T-shirt, which we called the perfect white tee.
And the great thing about its Cotton Box-Cut Tee is that it’s nothing like those super tight T-shirts you wore with your cut-offs in high school. Think of it as the grown-up T-shirt. It manages to be fashion-forward without being skin tight and looks great paired with either a mini skirt or a pair of jeans.
As the name suggests, the Box-Cut Tee features a slightly boxier fit than the basic Cotton Crew. Overall, it’s just a little more relaxed, with a very slight crop that gives it a more updated look. It has an effortlessly casual feel to it, and a versatile silhouette that can be worn with quite literally anything. If you’re into pockets, you have the option of purchasing the shirt with a chest pocket at no additional cost.
Thanks to its lightweight combed cotton construction, this shirt will get softer every time you wash it — and if you’re as in love as we are, you’ll wash it a lot — but the thread doesn’t seem to wear out. Even if it does, Everlane has a seemingly neverending supply of these tees, so it won’t hurt to stock up.
The pocket version of the tee is available in 13 colors total, including a bright white and slightly more ivory shade, while the plain tee is available in nine different colors and some striped patterns.
Pros: Affordable, versatile, comes in 13 colors, transparent production processes
Cons: Some customers have noted that the tee is a bit short on taller women
Alright, so this is a bit of splurge, but can you really put a price tag on comfort? James Perse, the company behind seemingly every Silicon Valley CEO’s wardrobe (hi Evan Spiegel and Mark Zuckerberg) really does make one of the most comfortable T-shirts available. And just as Snapchat’s founder and CEO has turned the brand’s $60 v-neck into a staple item, you too can turn the James Perse Luxe Lotus Jersey Tee into a wardrobe mainstay.
The Lotus is a simple, effortless scoop neck shirt that seems to look good with just about anything. Round necks tend to be flattering for women with round faces, and the Lotus has a scoop neck that is low enough to be interesting, but not so low that you’ll constantly be adjusting your shirt to hide your bra.
I’m particularly fond of this shirt throughout seasons. In the summer, the super lightweight nature of the garment makes it a great pair for a pair of shorts. But in the fall or spring, you can easily layer this item underneath an open shirt or a cardigan. As it so happens, I’m a sucker for anything heather grey, which makes this T-shirt a no-brainer for me.
The Lotus is made with 100% cotton, and is cut just short enough to ensure that you don’t look sloppy even when it’s not tucked in.
Pros: Beautiful scoop neck cut, very comfortable, great for layering
Cons: If you’re not comfortable potentially spending $100+ on a shirt, then James Perse isn’t the right place to look
I’m a huge fan of the products over at Pact. The brand makes clothing for both men and women and specializes in basics made with certified organic cotton that is super soft and super affordable. Also, Pact doesn’t expect its shoppers to be rail-thin, and as such, the models showing off the clothing on its website look like real women, which is certainly refreshing.
One of my favorite items from Pact is undoubtedly the Featherweight V-Neck Tee. It’s a slightly fitted shirt (as most v-necks are) that hits around the hips (a tad longer if you’re a bit on the petite side). It’s not so tight that you’ll feel uncomfortable, but certainly capable of showing off your curves. It tapers towards the bottom, though, so you don’t feel as though you’re being sucked in.
The organic cotton, which is free of toxic dyes and pesticides, is super soft and naturally breathable, and because the shirt is prewashed, you won’t have to worry about any shrinkage as you run it through the washer.
While I love this shirt in my normal size, it’s also a great item to be worn a bit oversized. If you’re into either a looser fit or want something that looks a bit more casual, you can always buy a couple sizes up.
Pros: Made of breathable, sustainably-sourced, organic cotton; super affordable; great fit
Cons: Limited color options
You can admit it. You bought your man that T-shirt from Mott & Bow not because you wanted him to wear it, but because you wanted to wear it. There’s no shame in that. Sometimes, men’s shirts are just a bit more comfortable, what with their extra roominess and ability to be worn as a slightly questionable dress. And if you’re looking for a particularly comfortable guys-to-gals T-shirt, look no further than Mott & Bow.
Available as both a Crew Neck and V-Neck, the Driggs collection T-shirts are preshrunk, made out of 100% combed cotton jersey in Peru, and are available in five colors: white, heather gray, navy, dark gray, and black. The fit is, as the brand describes, “not too slim, nor too loose,” which is perfect for days when you just want to wear a shirt and a pair of leggings.
The shirt is extremely soft, and like many of our other favorite picks, preshrunk to avoid any additional size issues after a few cycles in the wash. I particularly appreciate that the Crew Neck from Mott & Bow does not lose its shape over time. While other crew necks seem to gradually stretch out, the Mott & Bow tee looks just as it did when I first bought it.
One of my favorite things about wearing men’s clothing is that it always feels a bit more substantial, and this shirt is no exception. While it’s soft and comfortable, it’s also a bit thicker without feeling heavy, which makes it feel higher-quality than many other basics in my closet.
The Women’s Marcy T-shirt from Mott & Bow is equally great if you want a more feminine look.
Pros: Great materials, quality construction, preshrunk, basic color selection
Cons: As it’s made for men, some women may not love the fit of this shirt
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