The best T-shirts for men are nearly as basic a necessity as water. You might not die without them, but your wardrobe sure would. Great tees are the backbone of virtually every great fit, whether you’re rocking one solo with jeans, layering up with a flannel and cords, dressing a finer version up with a suit, or pulling on a sweat-wicking take on at the gym.

But finding great T-shirts can be a Herculuean task, given the sheer number of styles and suppliers out there. 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. 

You can go really far with just a plain white T-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. And like the blue jean, the hunt for a perfect white tee can be daunting, so we did the hard work for you and scoped out the absolute essential versions worth copping.

Gildan heavy cotton T-shirt (2-pack)

Hanes short sleeve Beefy T (2-pack)

Velva Sheen pocket tee (2-pack)

T-shirts are a commodity that shouldn’t force you into bankruptcy (though some might argue that a really, really good T-shirt is totally worth the hit to your credit score). Thankfully, there are plenty of cheap, good tees out there for the taking.  

Carhartt K87 workwear pocket T-shirt

Everlane organic cotton crew

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Russell Athletic cotton performance short sleeve T-shirt

Kirkland Signature crew neck T-shirts (6-pack)

We’ve already explained why white tees are essential. But life is all about balance, which means you also 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 that?

Mott & Bow “Carlton” heavyweight pocket tee

John Elliott Anti-Expo tee

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. 

Comfort Colors short sleeve pocket tee

J.Crew garment-dyed slub cotton crewneck tee

Todd Snyder x Champion basic jersey tee

Jungmaven Jung pocket tee

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, these tees are designed to play a supporting role so the rest of your outfit can truly shine.

Uniqlo AIRism crew neck short-sleeve T-shirt

Smartwool merino 250 baselayer

Calvin Klein cotton crew neck classic fit T-shirt (3-pack)

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 cool you down in addition to wicking away sweat, 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.

Lululemon Vent Tech short sleeve shirt 2.0

Nike Dri-FIT Legend training T-shirt

Rhone Reign short sleeve shirt

Ten Thousand Versatile shirt

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 truly span the entire available spectrum, from mall brand staples to the indie Los Angeles labels to the kind that make people exclaim, “You paid how much for a blank T-shirt?” These are the tees we’re wearing right now.

Lady White Co. lite jersey T-shirt

Everybody. World natural dye recycled cotton classic Trash tee

Warehouse slub cotton T-shirt

Buck Mason Field-Spec cotton vintage surplus tee