If we had to come up with a menswear hall of fame of sorts, the type of pieces that stand on their own, that stand the test of time, well, where to start? You could name a select few picks, sure, but the plain white T-shirt is more than deserving of that first draft pick, so to speak.
There’s a reason the plain white T-shirt continues to serve as style inspiration and as a useful layer–or solo star–through the years. The T-shirt has functional roots aplenty, as an undershirt in the military, for one. A plain white T-shirt is a blank canvas: It goes with absolutely anything, from dark blue denim, a la James Dean, to olive chinos and a khaki cotton blazer.
And it’s been closely intertwined with rebellious movements–again, thank Dean and Marlon Brando–and also cemented itself as an all-time style classic. Heck, think of Top Gun: Maverick–does anybody look better in a plain white T-shirt than Tom Cruise? Steal a bit of that inspired, classic and looks-great-on-anyone style with our picks for the best plain white T-shirts.
We appreciate brands that take an elevated approach to the basics, and Sunspel has never cut any corners when it comes to something even as simple as the humble T-shirt. The aptly named Classic T-shirt deserves a place in your wardrobe, especially considering this tee is made in England from 100 percent cotton. Wear it with light wash jeans. Team it with navy chinos. Style it with grey stretch chinos and a blue denim jacket. Rock it however you please, really. At $90, it’s a worthwhile style splurge.
The best plain white T-shirts do things a little differently than your run-of-the-mill offerings, and James Perse knows that all too well. That’s precisely the reason you’re investing a bit more dough into this one, which features a garment-dyed finish for softness right out of the box, plus a classic fit. Feel free to wear it with black jeans on its own or underneath a black leather moto jacket for an edgy take on a timeless look.
You might think it’s hard to screw up the plain white T-shirt, but it’s even more difficult to perfect the plain white T-shirt, and you could say that’s what Forty Five has done. Part of the in-house lineup at Huckberry, Forty Five was born out of a desire to make the perfect tee (similar to how 45 RPM records housed one perfect single). Between the supima cotton fabric and the relatively tailored fit–plus a garment-washed finish for softness–it’s hard to argue with what Huckberry has dreamed up.
There’s just something different about the J.Crew approach to crafting the best men’s basics, including the plain white T-shirt. This tee has been pre-washed for plenty of softness, and things only get better from there: Take your pick from three fits (Classic, Slim and Tall) to find the one that’s just right for you, and be sure you’re wearing it with plenty of J.Crew-approved classics. A few suggestions, for starters, might include J.Crew’s famed chinos and some timeless Vans canvas sneakers, but the world is your oyster here.
Leave it to Todd Snyder to take something as straightforward as the white T-shirt and amp things up considerably–100 percent Turkish linen fabric is the main difference here. Think of it like a welcome change of pace from slightly heavier T-shirts, and note that the fabric has some nice depth to give it plenty of cool styling potential. Because it’s Todd Snyder’s best basics at work, this is one tee you could even rock with a lightweight khaki linen suit this summer–or beneath a shawl cardigan in the colder months.
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