The best T-shirts for men like water: you might not die without them, but your wardrobe sure would. (Some might say that’s why they call it survival of the fittest.) So we’re not gonna sit around and let your style flounder. Good tees are the foundation of virtually every great outfit, whether you’re rocking one solo with blue jeans and sneakers, layering it beneath a flannel shirt and boots, dressing it up with perfectly slouchy suit, or pulling it on with your running shoes at the gym.
The situations that warrant a T-shirt are endless. And for each one, there are a thousand tees to choose from. But actually choosing the right tee is a Herculean task because, well… every brand and their parent company makes a version. Which is why we’ve assembled this encyclopedic breakdown of the absolute best men’s T-shirts, from crisp white tees to funky-colored bangers, husky winter-ready heavyweights and paper-thin summer undershirts. Whatever you’re after, whatever your budget, wherever you’re going, you’re sure to find the T-shirt of your dreams accounted for here.
The Best T-Shirts Shopping Guide
If, as Tolkien might put, there was one T-shirt to rule them all, it would be the plain white tee. Your wardrobe could go plenty far with just one version and a pair of blue jeans, wearing it around the house as simple loungewear, or following in the footsteps of many a menswear great, aiming to cement yourself as a style icon. From pima cotton options to broken-in crewnecks to retro-inspired, relaxed-fit joints, these are just a smattering of our faves.
T-shirts are a commodity that shouldn’t force you into bankruptcy (though some might argue that a really, really good tee is totally worth the hit to your credit score). Thankfully, there are plenty of T-shirt brands that make rock-solid affordable options, and one of the below will never steer you wrong.
We’ve already explained why white tees are essential. But life is all about balance, which means you need a stack of top-notch black tees in your dresser, too. Where white T-shirts are pristine and proper, black T-shirts are sexy and badass. Who doesn’t want to feel like a sexy badass?
There’s more to tees than black and white alone, of course, and the finest colorful T-shirts can serve as a kind of sartorial mood ring. Are you feeling forest green today, or more of a sunny yellow? These are the best models to buy in every color of the rainbow.
Before brazen graphic tees and high-end Supima cotton splurges existed, the T-shirt had humble beginnings as a basic undergarment. If you’re attempting to protect your nice dress shirts and sweaters from the funk of your sweat glands, or simply need a warm base layer to keep the frigid air out, undershirts are designed to play a supporting role so the rest of your outfit can truly shine. You’ll find ‘em in a range of materials like waffle-knit thermals and temperature-regulating Merino wool—in addition to plain ol’ cotton jersey. But FYI: most good undershirts will lean closer to the slim-fit end of the silhouette spectrum.
You could work out in a standard cotton tee and you’d be fine—soaking wet and really smelly, but fine. What we’d rather you do is get a proper workout shirt. They’re not like regular T-shirts: they’re cool T-shirts—literally. Workout shirts are built with fabrics that have cooling and moisture-wicking properties, allowing you to exercise more efficiently and effectively. Some workout shirts also come with anti-microbial properties, so even when you’re sweating like a pig, you won’t stink like rotten bacon.
If you roam around the GQ office and ask our staff who makes the best tees in the business, you’ll get a barrage of different answers. Our team’s favored T-shirts span the entire spectrum, from mall brand staples to indie, made-in LA labels to the kind that make people exclaim, “You paid how much for a blank tee?” They may not be best-sellers, but they’re the ones you’ll find us wearing most frequently.