The basic recipe of the plain white t-shirt is remarkably simple: two short sleeves, a cotton weave, an ovular neck, a flat hem, maybe a chest pocket if you’re feeling adventurous. And yet, for the past decade or so, it seems that brands have been dead set on transforming this uncomplicated template into an increasingly complex formula. Like mad menswear scientists designers have revamped fits, developed high-tech fabrics, and utilized elaborate techniques to create the elusive “perfect t-shirt.” While Marlon Brando would probably object to all this tinkering of his t-shirt du jour, the tee has come along way since the fifties, so let’s delve into the teeming world of high-quality (and often high-ticket) tees.
Handvaerk – 100% Peruvian cotton, trim fit, no nonsense. One funny name, one great tee.
Our Legacy – They call this the perfect tee, and while we’re not ones to take sides, you really can’t go wrong with a plain front and a timeless jersey cotton construction.
Margaret Howell – 100% linen and 100% expensive. We’ll call this the “investment tee,” although we’re not quite sure what you’re investing in.
Sunspel – While they might be a touch spendy, Sunspel’s shirts are handcrafted from ultra-soft Sea Island cotton, making them arguably the most luxurious white tee on the market.
Levis Vintage Clothing – It’s not exactly stark white, but this pocket tee deserves a mention because it’s based off of an archive design from the fifties, so yes this is a tee that Brando himself might have actually worn.
Velva Sheen – Crafted using an age-old circular method, these tubular tees are knit without that pesky side stitch for a fit that is actually seamless.
James Perse – Lightweight, made in America, and understated through and through. As the label says, this is a standard.
Hanes – Because if we’re talking about simple tees, we might as well include the simplest one of all.