Not all T-shirts are created equal, and I should know. I have quite a collection — around 48 the last time I counted — featuring everything from band T-shirts to tees from my favourite sandwich shop. And while they come in all manner of colours, white T-shirts are the bed stone of my clothing collection and the thing I’m most particular about.
The perfect white T-shirt should be a multitasker, able to sit under a shirt or be worn by itself with a jacket. Some are thick and boxy, others as soft as silk with a little stretch. So to whittle down the absolute best white T-shirts for men, I spoke to nine of the most stylish and interesting men in my contacts book — including actors, tailors, and ballet dancers — to find out which white tees they wore themselves. As I stand at a fairly standard 5-feet-11, I also took a deep dive into sub-Reddits (my favourite pastime) to find out what tall, broad, and muscular men recommended. Below, my picks for the best white T-shirts, including the best lightweight, boxy, and multipack options.
Best overall | Best thick white T-shirt | Best boxy white T-shirt | Best lightweight white T-shirt | Best for tall men | Best (less expensive) for tall men | Best multipack white T-shirts | Best (less expensive) multipack white T-shirts | Best splurge-worthy white T-shirt
What we’re looking for
Weight: While all the T-shirts we’ve featured are cotton, the weight of the fabric will determine everything from how it washes to how it sits on your torso. The weight of cotton and other fabrics is determined by grams per square metre, or GSM. Lightweight T-shirts have a GSM of around 160 to 180, while heavyweight T-shirts will be closer to 200 (by comparison, an average pair of jeans has a GSM of about 400). Heavyweight T-shirts will be more durable but might be less comfortable layered under a sweatshirt due to their thickness. Not all the labels we feature disclose their GSM, but I’ve personally worn all but one brand here, so where necessary have compared tees to gauge their weight.
Fit: Fit comes down to personal preference, and all the experts I spoke to had different ideas of what constitutes a slim or generous fit. We’ve aimed to find T-shirts available in a wide range of sizes, and dived into reader reviews and sub-Reddits to check if fits are true to size.
Price: As an everyday piece of clothing, we’ve kept price front and center of our considerations. We’re looking for something good quality that can be worn day-to-day — so while a £100 T-shirt by Acne might come highly recommended, we think there are equally good options out there for a fraction of the price.
Best overall white T-shirt
Slim fit | Lightweight | Available up to 2XL
This was the T-shirt that had the most recommendations from our panel, including Taymoor Atighetchi, CEO of Papier; Finlay Renwick, editor at Drakes Diary; and restaurant PR Hugh Richard Wright. It’s a lightweight tee, with “a chic Parisian cut, a slight roll at the sleeves, enough length to French tuck — and they’re lightweight, so they hang off the shoulders nonchalantly,” says Atighetchi. Renwick notes they run “slightly slimmer,” which makes them ideal for wearing with tailoring or a chore coat. “As a ‘larger gentleman’, but with good, broad shoulders, I like a T-shirt to be fitted but not too tight,” says Wright. “These are a slightly oversize cut, which I have to be careful with, as it can make me look huge with my build, but COS’s don’t do that.” Additionally, Strategist UK editor Ailbhe Malone says the women’s version of this T-shirt is her white tee of choice and notes that they wash particularly well.
Best thick white T-shirt
Mid-weight | Loose fit
For those who don’t know, Uniqlo U started out in 2015 as a collaboration between the brand and ex-Hermès artistic director Christophe Lemaire, and has since flourished into a sub-brand of its own. I personally consider this T-shirt the holy grail of white T-shirts, but there’s a reason I didn’t select it as our best overall. Our experts all agreed a slim, lightweight T-shirt was perfect for layering, and Uniqlo U’s T-shirt runs slightly thicker. So for now, consider Uniqlo U the best (slightly thicker) version. A spokesperson for Uniqlo couldn’t confirm the GSM to me, but it is notably thicker than T-shirts from COS, Arket, and J.Crew that feature elsewhere in this story. (If I had to guess, I’d estimate 190 to 210 GSM). In either case, it’s a little too thick to wear under other garments in the warmer months, but it’s an ideal base layer in autumn and winter. The fit is loose-ish — I don’t like a T-shirt that feels like it’s clinging to my arms or stomach — and I’ve had some Uniqlo U T-shirts for about four years and they’ve washed extremely well (this is likely due to the thicker weight).
One thing to note: Don’t get these mixed up with the Uniqlo U Airism T-shirt, which is part of the company’s line of athletic-ish wear. This is 100 percent cotton, while the Uniqlo U Airism T-shirts retain the same cut and shape but are only 53 percent cotton and blended with polyester.
Best boxy white T-shirt
I got tipped off about these T-shirts in 2020 from my friend Sam Diss, a freelance creative and editor, as well as Tayler Willson, an editor at Hypebeast. Pro Club is a U.S.-based wholesale clothing brand, and its basics are hardworking pieces that wash well (I’d absolutely recommend its sports socks too, which are like a hardier, more rugged Nike tube sock).
“The body is boxy and a little high under the armpits, which keeps the shape flattering,” notes Diss. “And the arms aren’t too short either, which is my T-shirt pet peeve — you want the arm to fall just after the crest of the bicep. The neck is also standout: tight and high, almost like a mock-neck. It elevates every outfit I have.”
Willson described the material as “seven-ounce heavyweight, 90 percent cotton” and complimented the thick neckline. My boyfriend and I both own a couple of these, and true to their roomier, loose fit, they only come in sizes M–XL. However, the cut is really nice, and even though mine should swamp me, they’re very flattering. I’ve noticed they wash and iron well — and they are often mistaken for pricier brands by friends. Like COS and Uniqlo’s T-shirts, the price is remarkable given the outstanding quality, and this T-shirt has the distinct quality of featuring in the Strategist 100, our guide to our most stood-behind gifts. But given the thickness, these aren’t notably soft T-shirts (we’ve found a couple of soft options, below).
Best lightweight white T-shirt
Lightweight | Slim fit
Two of our experts loved the T-shirts from COS’s Scandi sibling, Arket. “They wash really well. I know that’s a lame thing to say, but it matters,” says Renwick, who also buys the heavyweight T-shirt in a size up for a roomier, casual fit on weekends. “I’ve had a couple of the same ones for over a year, and they still feel brand-new.” Wright agrees: “They wash amazingly, and the cut is fantastic.” While I don’t own this T-shirt in white, I do have it in black — and was able to pick it up during an Arket sale for a mere £9. It has a pleasing cut that is slim without feeling skinny or constrictive. Arket’s T-shirts come in lightweight, mid-weight, and heavyweight options, but my mid-weight tee is surprisingly light (and the lightweight ones do not come in plain white). This has a GSM of 170, which I’d consider pretty lightweight — 160 GSM is around the weight of pima cotton, which is known for its long, silky fibres.
Best white T-shirt for tall men
Medium weight | Slim fit | Available in tall and 2XL
J.Crew’s crewneck T-shirts can run a little expensive — the three I own all came from the brand’s once-reliable online sales — but they are worth the price. Both Russell Tovey and Tan France rave about the soft cotton and nice fit (in fact, Tovey owns this T-shirt in 30 colours). “I find them perfect. They’re deceptively simple, they wash well, and they’re an amazing fit,” he says. France added that the broken-in style, another term for pre-washing, means they avoid feeling too crispy and stiff — something he doesn’t like. “They feel so much softer than most other T-shirts. I want my clothes to be as comfortable as possible, and this is really, truly soft to the touch. Too many other T-shirts I’ve tried feel too box fresh.”
Compared to the other brands we’ve featured, however, J.Crew offers an impressive selection of sizes; not only do the T-shirts come in classic, slim, and tall options, but they go up to a 2XL too. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most recommended brands for tall men in the sub-Reddit r/AskMen. One 6-foot-10 Redditor on r/malefashionadvice said that while J.Crew was one of the better brands for tall men, it charged more for its tall range, but did compliment the T-shirts’ “nice long body and fairly slim fit”. The brand’s tall tees also came up several times on r/tallfashionadvice, with one customer, a self-professed “slender giant,” noting they fit well on the arms and had a “perfect” collar.
Best (less expensive) white T-shirt for tall men
Lightweight | Slim fit | Available up to 3XL
William Bracewell, first soloist with the Royal Ballet, first told us about Marks and Spencer T-shirts. His go-to white T-shirts come from the brand’s David Gandy for Autograph range (which has been discontinued) and the regular Autograph range. “These are just so soft, with a bit of stretch, which I’m a big fan of,” he says. The sizing goes from S to 3XL, which is one of the broadest we’ve found on the high street, although the bigger sizes are occasionally sold out. This T-shirt has 260 customer reviews, making it one of the best rated T-shirts on the website. Customers spoke highly of the fit and comfort; these T-shirts are made with Supima cotton, which is a registered brand named for a kind of American-grown pima cotton.
Best multipack white T-shirt
Slim fit | Lightweight | Available up to 2XL
Since it’s the best overall white T-shirt in our opinion, it stands to reason that COS’s multipack would be our best choice if you’re bulk buying white T-shirts too. They work out to be a slightly better value, at £15 per shirt, versus £17 each if you buy them separately, so this might be a good option if you’re updating your wardrobe en masse.
Best (less expensive) multipack white T-shirts
Lightweight | Regular fit | Available up to 3XL
While ASOS previously came highly recommended to us, we have knocked it from our less expensive multipack T-shirt in favour of Marks and Spencer’s white tee set. This is down to one main factor: availability. ASOS regularly replaces its stock, and as such, the T-shirts we heard good things about are frequently hard to find, out of stock, or replaced by a different kind altogether. Currently, ASOS sells 28 kinds of plain white T-shirt, but they are either oversize, muscle-fit, or heavily branded. However, M&S’s multipack gets you three pairs for £15 (or five pairs for £25, though these are low in stock right now), and comes in the same size range as the tall T-shirts. They are made from lightweight cotton and are a regular fit.
Best splurge-worthy white T-shirt
Slim fit | Lightweight
I’ve heard good things about Sunspel T-shirts for many years — when I was an intern at Esquire, it was the T-shirt all the editors swore by. The British label has been around since 1860, but it rose to prominence in 2005, when costume designer Lindy Hemming commissioned the brand to make clothing for Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, which included two variants on these T-shirts. Sunspel’s white T-shirts also came recommended by Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski, who told us he is very passionate about white T-shirts. “The collar is really nice and thin, not too thick. The sleeves are just the right length where you don’t have to roll them up, but you can, and it doesn’t look too much like a muscle tee,” he says.
Casely-Hayford founder Charlie Casely-Hayford (who has collaborated with Sunspel) agrees — he has been buying its white T-shirts for several years and told me he wears one every single day, usually under a suit. Late last year, the brand gifted me two of its T-shirts to try for myself — the classic cotton T-shirt, favoured by Porowski and Caseley-Hayford, as well as the more heavyweight Riviera shirt, the one originally designed for Craig. Though the GSM of each T-shirt is unavailable, Sunspel told me the classic weighs 122g, while the Riviera weighs 150g. I’ve been wearing both of them for about five months now, and I am astonished at how soft and plush they still feel — though the lightweight original is my favourite. These are slim but don’t feel constrictive and are perfect layered under a cardigan or jacket. (That said, it feels like a bit of a waste tucking a Sunspel T-shirt away. Even though they are logo-less, one friend clocked it immediately after meeting me for drinks last month, based on the fit and quality alone.) These are the most expensive T-shirts we feature here — though I think the quality more than justifies the price, this might be a T-shirt saved for special occasions compared to the others in our guide.
Taymoor Atighetchi, CEO of Papier
William Bracewell, first soloist with the Royal Ballet
Charlie Casely-Hayford, founder, Casely-Hayford
Sam Diss, freelance creative and editor
Tan France, Queer Eye host
Ailbhe Malone, Strategist UK editor
Antoni Porowski, Queer Eye host
Finlay Renwick, editor at Drakes Diary
Hugh Richard Wright, restaurant PR
Russell Tovey, actor
Tayler Willson, editor at Hypebeast
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