If I may paraphrase Carrie Bradshaw: One is always looking for an apartment, the perfect white T-shirt, or a job. (It was something like that…) I know for sure the white tee part was in there, because isn’t that truly the Sisyphean struggle of all of our lives? Once you find the perfect white T-shirt, your life will be changed forever.
So, with countless options out there, how does one find the truly GOATed white tee of their dreams? Constant observation, style-hunting, and word of mouth, of course (and reading this article). We polled some of the best-dressed people we know about their personal “holy grail” white T-shirts and what makes them so fantastic. If you’ve been fiending for Jeremy Allen White’s perfect tee from The Bear but just can’t justify spending $95 on a single shirt, then the good news for you is that every tee in this story (aside from one splurge) costs under $100 (aside from one ‘$pensi designer splurge), and there’s a style and fit for every vibe represented. The essential things to look for in a white T-shirt? Form, fit, and function—aka the right fabric and weave, the right cut, and the right vibe.
So get your scrolling finger ready, because this fall we are looking fresh to death in our white tees (oh!), whether we’re styling them with jeans, suits, or who knows, maybe a tiny pair of Gucci shorts. Go wild with the rest of your ‘fit—This is a wardrobe essential for a reason: It goes with everything.
Robbi Thuet, Founder & CEO, Tecoda
If there’s anyone who can speak to the quality of a good white tee, it’s Robbi Thuet. Founder of your new favorite canned cocktail Tecoda, she lives in a capsule wardrobe of pared-down, high-quality basics. Thuet cares not only about the quality of her clothes, but also where they come from. Her favorite Essential Crew neck from KOTN is not only “a classic wardrobe staple made with super soft Egyptian cotton, that’s not too fitted and not too boxy,” but it’s also ethically made in Egypt, with cotton sourced directly from family-run, small-holder farms in the Nile Delta. Not only is it “a shirt you can feel good about,” Thuet says it’s great to “dress it up or keep it casual,” and that it’s “perfect for tucking into vintage Levi’s on a Sunday stroll in Brooklyn or into trousers for a dinner out with friends.”
Women’s Essential Crew
$38 at KOTN
Jordan Shavarebi, filmmaker
Whether in Birkenstocks and jeans or a linen suit, the always impeccably dressed Jordan Shavarebi is a big fan of MUJI’s “extremely affordable tees.” I think we can all agree with Shavarebi’s assertion that “no one likes to feel like a dumbass for paying more than $20 for a white tee, and yet so many do…because they feel like they must. But they need not.” That’s not the only reason why he loves MUJI’s tees; the hilarious filmmaker adds that “it makes the chest of most any man look amazing without being pornographically tight everywhere else,” which he swears “is some sort of crazy science.” He also claims that “it feels great on the skin, it’s the perfect length,” and adds that “as a bonus, you automatically get the very calming MUJI shopping experience with every purchase.” Wow.
Men’s Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt
$12.90 at Muji
Griffin Funk, designer, Apple
Designer Griffin Funk’s pick is proof that you don’t need to shell out a ton of your hard-earned clams for quality or style—his favorite white tee can be purchased on none other than Amazon. Funk says “[I] live in these Pro Club white T-shirts. They fit well, wear in great, and they’re also only five bucks when you need to replace them.” Funk says that he buys his regular size, and they hold their shape well in the wash, with minimal shrinkage. (Funk stumbled upon them after becoming a fan of the brand’s pullover hooded sweatshirts, which he also deems “great.”) While some of the brand’s photos on Amazon sometimes show an oversized fit, Funk insists that they run true to size.
Men’s Comfort Cotton Short Sleeve T-Shirt
$14$9.15 at Amazon
Ali Kornhauser, fashion stylist
First and foremost, stylist Ali Kornhauser has a PSA for the crowd: “White T-shirts should always be a crewneck.” We think that goes without saying, but hey, that’s why they pay her the big bucks. She says the two brands you’ll find in every good stylist’s arsenal are actually just regular-degular Hanes and Gildan tees. Kornhauser says “Gildan tees wear down incredibly well,” and even spills a little-known insider secret that “Yeezy tees are actually just dyed and distressed Gildans.” So put that in your pipe and smoke it—you can just DIY your own T-shirt and save 250 bucks. The Gildan G2000 (great name) has a seamless double-needle collar for comfort and a flattering “tubular fit.”
Ultra Cotton T-shirt, Style G2000, Multipack
$10.92 at Amazon
Kornhauser loves Hanes tees for both women and men, and says that the viral Karla x Hanes baby T is just a cropped version of the brand’s Essential T-shirt; just something to be aware of when choosing your best Hanes style.
Essentials Men’s T-Shirt Pack
$26$15.98 at Amazon
When it comes to her own wardrobe, Kornhauser loves and wears the classics, but one of her favorite items to splurge on is Toteme’s high-end white T’s—in both the crew and scoop neck styles. The wide sleeves, relaxed fit, and curved seams make the fit feminine and modern.
Sophia Elias, founder of FINEASSLINES
Artist and founder of the ridiculously clever and funny greeting card company FINEASSLINES, Sophia Elias has undeniably great taste, and when it comes to wardrobe staples like a classic tee, pays the most attention to fit. She says that SKIMS (yes, Kim Kardashian’s surprisingly rad basics, undies, and loungewear brand) makes “easy, reliable pieces, for when you want a simple, but fitted silhouette.” If you are looking for the perfect white T-shirt to tuck in or wear with other form-fitting garments, Elias likes that “you don’t have to think too deeply about fit issues.” With SKIMS’ stretchy cotton jersey, thanks to the 90% cotton, 10% spandex fabric, “you know it will fit.”
Cotton Jersey T-shirt
$48 at Skims
Ramón Carazo, associate creative director, VICE Creative Studio
Leave it to a creative director to give us both one of the most accessible white T’s in the bunch and an incredibly cool, independent CDMX-based brand. First, while Ramón Carazo said he was “sorry to state the obvious,” he said he can’t help but “love the Uniqlo U Crew Neck from Uniqlo. The fabric is thick and [the shirts’ cut is] structured, which means they age wonderfully and would probably survive the fall of civilization.”
U Crew Neck Short-Sleeve T-Shirt
$19.90 at Uniqlo
But in Carazo’s words, “If we want to make things a bit more interesting, my absolute favorite is from BSCS de México, a local CDMX brand that makes the perfect white tee.” He describes “the first time you wear one [as feeling] like floating into a room with a view of the sea on an airy afternoon, with a glass of dry Dolin vermouth in your hand and nothing to do.” Now that’s poetry.
Dem Franchize Boyz knew what they were talking about—but so does everyone above. Congratulations on your new life with the perfect white T-shirt.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.