Our 15 Favorite Pocket Tees, After Months of Testing
By Eli London / April 24, 2019 7:53 am

With warmer temps afoot (hopefully for good), it is time to reinstate some short-sleeve tops in your wardrobe rotation. Like the humble cotton pocket tee, a garment that deserves every man’s utmost respect and consideration.

It’s versatile, it’s useful and it’s slightly more refined than its pocket-less progenitor. Layer it, lounge in it, stuff your shades in the pocket so they don’t get scuffed … we’re talkin use cases here, people. Lots of ‘em.

Luckily for you, we recently got our hands on a bounty of pocket tees and tested the hell out of them. We wore them. We washed them. We wore them countless times more. And in the end, we settled on 15 tees that we think are worth your time and hard-earned money.

Below, we break down the different pocket tees by strength and weakness, along with the situation or wearer each is best for. Some are thick, some are thin, some are soft, some are rugged. All of them, though, share one thing in common: quality.

Editor’s note: These pictures are of Eli London’s fabulous hair and body. He is 5’8″, 180 lbs., with a relatively broad and muscular frame and slightly too much belly. He goes into this shameless description, dear reader, so that you may imagine how these tees might fit you, and thus be more informed with your purchasing decisions.

Best All-Around: Mott & Bow

Material: 100% Cotton
Description: I know no other way to describe this tee other than exactly middle of the road. It’s the median thickness and softness level of all of the other tees.
Fit: Again, pretty middle of the road, not too tight or too loose. The one noticeable thing is it does feel significantly shorter than the other tees: it’s not a belly tee or anything, but it does feel like it has a slightly lower length-to-width ratio than the rest.
Weaknesses: The length, depending on your preferences.
Did it shrink? Medium shrinkage.

Fastest to Feel Worn In: Flint and Tinder

Material: 100% cotton
Description: It’s a relatively thin shirt and upon first wear it was comfortable but slightly stiff. After a few washes it really relaxed and now feels like a perfectly worn in, almost vintage-esque shirt. It’s made from slub cotton, which is essentially lumpy cotton, but made on purpose and in an attractive way. It means it’s soft and thin without being too soft and thin to the point of feeling lower in quality.
Fit: Relative to all the other tees, this one was pretty standard in width, length and sleeve dimensions. It’s maybe the thinnest shirt on this list.
Weaknesses: As mentioned before, it’s a thin shirt, so if you’re looking for something that’s going to hide your form, this ain’t it, chief.
Did it shrink? Medium shrinkage.

Sturdiest: Taylor Stitch

Material: 52% upcycled cotton/48%RPET
Description: This. Is. A. Thick. Ass. Shirt. If you want a shirt that is going to feel like you’re snuggling with puppies every time you put it on, keep looking. This thing is a few millimeters away from being a short-sleeve sweatshirt. But it doesn’t ride like a sweatshirt — it rides like a very sturdy tee. This is the type of shirt that can definitely take a hefty beating; basically half of it is made from recycled water bottles (the RPET), so that makes sense. Despite its thickness, you won’t feel like you’re overheating in it. Huge fan of this one.
Fit: Average in fit all around. Maybe a tad thin in the torso, a tad longer and with a slightly small neck opening, but nothing too noticeable.
Weaknesses: Again, it’s very thick, so it’s a little tougher to layer with. You’re not going to be able to comfortably wear it under anything thinner than a heavy flannel or jacket.
Did it shrink? Medium shrinkage.

Softest: Frank And Oak

Material: 60% Cotton/40% Polyester
Description: This tee and the Bonobos tee are very very similar, which is not all that surprising considering the companies themselves are fairly similar. This tee is overly soft and stretchy, which for some people is a wonderful thing, but doesn’t make it my favorite.
Fit: Narrow body with shorter and tighter sleeves and average body length.
Weaknesses: Too soft and stretchy. Also, very small pocket.
Did it shrink? Medium-high shrinkage

Coolest Pocket: Todd Snyder

Material: 90% Cotton/10% Polyester
Description: This is solid shirt. There is no one thing about it that is exceptional, but it’s a five-tool player. It’s very comfy but still maintains a good amount of weight and shape, which I appreciate. Plus it’s the only tee with a button pocket!
Fit: It’s a tad longer in the body than your average tee, with fairly high and tight sleeve holes and sleeve length, meaning the upper half of the tee has a slightly more snug fit.
Weaknesses: My girlfriend told me the button pocket made it look like I had one nipple. I think it’s unique, but if you’re self conscious of people thinking you have a nipple outside of your shirt, maybe avoid this one.
Did it shrink? Low-medium shrinkage

Most Packable: Bonobos

Material: 60% Cotton/40% Polyester
Description: This is an incredibly soft and light shirt with a lot of stretch. It has a relatively loose fit and breathes well, but it almost feels too soft, like the inside of a terry sweatshirt.
Fit: This shirt is a little wider in the torso than a lot of the others, so it has a looser fit. Length is pretty average and sleeves are slightly shorter.
Weaknesses: It has a very thin neck cuff and for some people may be too light and thin.
Did it shrink? Low-medium shrinkage.

Most Sustainable: Outerknown

Material: 100% Organic Cotton
Description: This shirt is stretchy and soft but still has a bit of rigid texture to it. It’s a great all-around choice. Fairly middle of the road on everything, but in a good way. It’s also available in 15 different colors, and you’ll feel good wearing it: it’s made using 90% less water than tees made from traditional manufacturing processes.
Fit: The width of the shirt was pretty standard, but had slightly shorter sleeves than most, as well as a slightly longer body.
Weaknesses: The most exceptional thing about this tee might be that it’s not exceptional — for better or worse — in any one noticeable way. It has no outright weaknesses.
Did it shrink? Medium shrinkage.

Best for Working Out: Olivers

Material: 50% Cotton/50% Celliant Polyester
Description: This tee is made from 50% Celliant Polyester, so it’s an athleisure shirt. It’s meant to recycle your body’s energy and control heat better. It definitely works, but it’s not necessarily the comfiest of shirts. Which isn’t to say that it’s uncomfortable … just that you will notice you’re wearing something made for performance.
Fit: A relatively snug fit in terms of width. Average length, with narrow and longer sleeves.
Weaknesses: It’s a little itchy the first few wears, but that fades after a few washes.
Did it shrink? Medium-high shrinkage

Best Thick Tee: Everlane

Material: 100% Cotton
Description: This is another thick tee — the second thickest after Taylor Stitch. It’s rather sturdy and stiff and able to stand up to a beating.
Fit: It’s pretty much middle of the road across the board.
Weaknesses: The neck opening feels very snug.
Did it shrink? Medium-high shrinkage.

Best Value: The Gap

Material: 100% Cotton
Description: This shirt does what you’d hope a Gap shirt would do. It’s a quality elevated basic that fits well and is super comfy. It’s very soft, fairly thin but still sturdy.
Fit: Very average in terms of length and sleeve size, but slightly wider in the body, which gives it a bit of a more relaxed feel.
Weaknesses: Wrinkles easily.
Did it shrink? Low-medium shrinkage.

Most Versatile: Jomers

Material: 100% Cotton
Description: Another slub cotton tee, this time made from Pima cotton, which means slightly longer cotton fibers, making it softer and more durable. While this tee is relatively thin and has a worn-in feel, it also has a bit of welcome rigidity to it.
Fit: This tee is on the looser side, with a wider body and sleeves, slightly longer body and average sleeve length.
Weaknesses: Not a whole lot.
Did it shrink? Low shrinkage.

Most Relaxed: Faherty

Material: 100% Cotton
Description: These tees definitely live up to the surf vibes the Faherty Brand hangs its hat on. They arrive with a slightly lived-in feel and have a more relaxed cut to go along with “surf stripes” that add character. They’re also thicker than most of the other tees while not feeling like a “heavy” tee.
Fit: This is one of the looser fitting shirts of the bunch. The body is wider cut, as are the sleeves, which are also longer than most, giving these tees the aforementioned chill vibes. It also has a very sturdy neck opening.
Weaknesses: The relaxed fit, if you’re not into that.
Did it shrink? Low shrinkage.

Best Splurge: Jungmaven

Material: 55% Hemp/45% Organic Cotton
Description: These tees are firmly on the thick end of the spectrum. Not as thick as the Taylor Stitch ones, but still robust. They’re incredibly soft for their weight and straddle the line perfectly between having structure and falling loosely over the body. And because of the hemp fabric, they’re super hearty and breathable. They’re garment dyed and come in a few basic colors — the brighter ones really shine.
Fit: These tees fit pretty loosely, with a wide body and slightly longer sleeves.
Weaknesses: It has a very large neck tag. It doesn’t bother me whatsoever, but I could see some people being annoyed by it. I would tell these people to procure some scissors and remove it.
Did it shrink? Low shrinkage.

Most Business Appropriate: Jockey

Material: 100% Cotton
Description: This shirt is about what you’d expect from Jockey, purveyors of fine, well-made basics. It’s sturdy and gets the job done. It feels like the platonic ideal of what a tee should be: not the softest or most comfy, but ample on the hand and ready for any situation. It’s probably the classiest looking tee of the bunch should you be aiming for one of those Steve Jobs-inspired uniform looks. Just a closet full of Jockey tees — that’s living, fellas.
Fit: These tees are absolutely gigantic. Every other shirt on this list I’m a large, but I was swimming in the jockey large. So size down for these. The fit on the medium is quite nice though. Middle of the road width, length and sleeves.
Weaknesses: No real weaknesses. It’s not a bastion of comfort, but it gets the job done. Very solid all around.
Did it shrink? Medium shrinkage.

Best Throwaway Shirt: American Apparel

Material: 100% Cotton
Description: Soft and Basic Tee. Exactly as you’d expect from American Apparel. Also: biggest chest pocket out of everyone here.
Fit: It’s a more relaxed fit, so it’s slightly longer and wider than the average tee.
Weaknesses: Feels lower quality. But at $18, if you need a tee in a pinch that you don’t plan on becoming attached to, it will hunt.
Did it shrink? Medium shrinkage.

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