Quick, go over and take a good, hard look at your T-shirt drawer. What are you finding in there? Perhaps a few band T-shirts, high school or college athletic tees, gaudy graphic tees – if you’re finding stylish T-shirts in that drawer though, consider yourself dismissed. For the rest of us, there’s plenty to be said for treating your T-shirt like you’d treat any other style essential.
We’re talking quality construction and design, a great fit and soft, versatile fabric – you know, the kind of T-shirt a grown-up might wear. The options abound in plenty of styles for these more casual times, so let’s take a deep dive into your drawer of tees and help you come up with a pick or two – or three, or four – that actually passes muster. Here are the best tees for grown-ups.
Best V-Neck Tee
Perhaps you remember those days a decade or more ago, where V-neck tees swooped far too long. The V-neck tee of today is cleaned up and features a much less severe “V,” making it the sort of tee you can rock on its own or as an undershirt – particularly in the range of useful colors on hand from Fresh Clean Tees. For under $20, you might not find a better V-neck.
Best Crewneck Tee
Forty Five was founded on the same principle that makes the 45 RPM record great – one hit single translates to one stylish, well-made T-shirt, you see? There's a lot to love about this subtle crewneck tee, including the curved hem – which flatters even more well-built body types – plus the textured slub fabric for some visual interest. It’s a bit pricier than basic tees, but well worth it (especially if you grab a bundle of three T-shirts).
Best Scoop Neck Tee
Wearing a scoop neck tee is a definitive style statement – it’s a bit more trendy, but no less versatile when done up in a crisp color like black. It’s a nice way to switch up your T-shirt game for something a bit more eye-catching, and the more relaxed fit works nicely with more relaxed jeans or chinos, too. A bonus: Cuts T-shirts are a favorite of athletes and stylish guys alike.
Best Henley Tee
The henley is a classically rugged menswear pick that’s made it's way from sporting territory into the real world on the backs of the world’s most stylish guys (hello, Ryan Gosling). You can mimic some of that style in your own neck of the woods with a soft short-sleeve henley with that flattering curved hem and old-school ribbed sleeves to show off those guns.
Best Pocket Tee
What makes a pocket tee an upgrade over your standard T-shirt? Well, it’s simple: It’s that visually appealing pocket tee, the sort of small design detail that turns this tee from an undershirt into one you can easily wear all on its own. And because you’re shopping Amazon Essentials here, you’re getting plenty of quality for a low price (in a pack of two stylish T-shirts, to boot).
Best Tye-Dye Tee
All things tie-dye are all the rage right now, but this option is much cooler than the kind you made at summer camp. The tie-dye tee is all grown up now, with a more dialed-in fit and some cool color options – and super-soft fabric – for breezy summer style. Feel free to style this tee with a more neutral pairing on your bottom half, like navy stretch chino shorts and white canvas sneakers
Best Solid-Color Tee
It’s hard to beat a classic T-shirt from a classic brand, the kind you’ve probably been wearing for years and years. But let’s step things up just a notch: Think of this tee like a more comfortable version of a throwback Fruit of the Loom tee, with better fabric and more vibrant colors. A solid tee in a sharp color is an intentional way of dressing that goes beyond just wearing a tee as an undershirt. When you want to go casual, throwing some color into the mix is always a safe bet.
Best Black Tee
You could make the argument that a well-fitting black T-shirt looks good on every guy. After all, black is a naturally slimming color that can work quite well if you want to work some more color into the rest of your look be it patterned shorts or chinos in an eye-catching shade. Gildan is just one of those brands that knows how to make a fine T-shirt, and a 2-pack offers some nice bang for your buck, too.
Best White Tee
When wearing a white T-shirt, we’re of the mind that there are a few things you can do to make your tee look less like a plain white undershirt and more like, well, a white tee that a grown-up would wear. Of course, the white tee is an iconic look that teams well with dark blue jeans (thank you, Marlon Brando) or tan chinos — or just about anything in your wardrobe. But when done in a slightly cooler, more intriguing Vintage White color, the look gets elevated that much more. Best pick up more than one, in our book.
Best Graphic Tee
Graphic tees have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years – there are only so many snarky slogans you can see on a T-shirt before it goes over the top. Today’s graphic tees are more rooted in the ‘70s and with throwback inspiration in mind, like this clever, outdoor-minded graphic tee. Go for something subtle and retro-tinged the next time you wear a graphic tee, and you’ll find yourself getting compliments and questions aplenty.
Best Long-Sleeve Tee
There’s a reason the timeless pairing of jeans and a T-shirt has become, well, timeless: It’s a simple look with plenty of versatility, the kind any guy can make work for his wardrobe and lifestyle. That’s why it makes so much sense that NYC-based Mott and Bow would get into the world of T-shirts. Super-soft 100 percent combed cotton in an array of wear-with-anything colors helps make the Driggs our favorite long-sleeve tee of the moment. Whether you’re layering it beneath a denim jacket on a breezy night or rocking it solo for casual at-home style, you won’t want to wear another long-sleeve option (hopefully).