Where (and Why) to Splurge on a Better T-Shirt

When you wanna go basic, but not “basic”

April 28, 2016 9:00 am

The T-shirt is misunderstood.

If you think about why we wear them — ease, comfort and affordability — one can begin to understand why it’s been relegated to the bottom shelf of a man’s closet. A T-shirt’s a T-shirt, right?

Right … but kinda’ not really. Throwing on a properly fitted, exceptionally styled and well-made T-shirt is a true blessing. And while the humble tee is a simple garment, it holds nuances of cut and quality that disprove it as a basic garment — an important distinction.

Below, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite labels offering T-shirts of the elevated stripe, at a range of different prices, styles and fabrics. Fashion-savvy brands who you can count on for the best lineup season after season. Not that you’ll need to buy one every season. These tees will last ya’. Stock up.

The standard when it comes to affordable menswear basics. “Radical transparency” is the idea — they work directly with factories to bring you the goods sans markup. Priced at $15, their pocket tees are a real steal.


Buck Mason
A new LA-based label that does classic really well and at an excellent price point. The shirts have a flattering masculine silhouette: a wide neck band and a shirt tail hem, plus a sleeve length that falls a wee bit shorter than most.


Stylish, environmentally friendly clothing is possible, people. Jungmaven’s known for hemp and organic cotton blend clothing, and their tees are some of the most comfortable in the game. Ultra soft and slightly relaxed, you can’t go wrong.


Saturdays NYC
Looking for some graphic tees? Saturdays got your graphic tees. The New York brand has a good eye for tasteful artwork. The shirts make it easy to achieve an effortless casual-cool vibe.


Reigning Champ
This Canadian brand makes quality basics with a discernible athletic appeal. Shirts are thick and weighty. Come here if something like raglan sleeves are up your alley. We recommend saving some cash by buying a two-pack. Worth it.


Levi’s Vintage Clothing
The division over at Levi’s that deals with faithful reproductions from the archives. Wanna channel some Brando? Some Dean? This is the easiest way to do that.


John Elliott
There’s something about John Elliott tees that just feels right. They have a universal, modern, minimalist appeal. An easy-going drape that hits the body in all the right ways. And superb seasonal colors will have ya comin’ back.


The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.