The Best Men’s White T-shirt, According to Men

White tees.
White tees.

From its humble beginnings as standard-issue Navy gear to Marlon Brando and James Dean, the Hanes five-pack, and three-figure-price-tag designer iterations, the men’s white T-shirt has been a staple of the classic American wardrobe. And yet the perfect white tee is hard to find — a V-neck just a few millimeters too deep runs the risk of lasciviousness; a thread count too low and you’ve freed the male nipple. So we asked nine guys to weigh in on their favorites, and muse on the best of the best men’s white T-shirts. (Including five different styles of Hanes.)

Nick Santa-Donato, Barneys New York Sales Associate
Calvin Klein Classic V-Neck 
“There will always be something so satisfying about the clingy, cheap Calvin Klein V-neck white T-shirts my mom used to get me in three-packs from Costco … So much of my daily time is consumed by fashion, but as much as I can’t wait to wear a new Thom Browne blazer or Yohji Yamamoto drop-crotch linen pants, I get the most joy out of putting on one of those T-shirts when I’m at home, bumming around on my day off, cooking, doing everything I love that doesn’t involve any performative aspect of fashion.”
$40 for a three-pack at Macy’s

Abie Cohen, Private Wealth Adviser (and husband of the Man Repeller)
Save Khaki Crewneck
“My favorite white T-shirt is a simple crewneck made by Save Khaki. Their tees cling or stretch more than a department-store brand and wash very well. It’s like a pretty traditional silhouette that fits perfectly after one wash. I like the seam of the shoulders to hang past the end of shoulders just a little bit. It’s a narrow, tapered fit. Something I can feel comfortable wearing to the gym or to a restaurant.”
$48 at Union Made Goods

Teddy Wright, Receptionist at The New York Review of Books
Polo Classic V-Neck 
“My favorite white T-shirt is a V-neck; Polo is my preferred brand, and slim cut. I like that one because it’s form-fitting, fits nice, it’s not too long — just the perfect T-shirt. The Polo logo isn’t in the usual place; it’s on the lower side, so it’s more subtle, which I don’t mind.”
$40 for a three-pack at Macy’s

Jizzal Man, Member of the now-disbanded Dem Franchize Boyz
Luxe-T Fitted Basic V-Neck Tee 
“[The shirt behind our 2004 song “White Tee” was just what we wore throughout the summer we made the song. You know, we were from the streets and real poor, so it was easier to match everything up with a white tee. At the time we were all so young and wearing tall tees. Luxe-T is my favorite T-shirt for now.”
$12 at Luxe-T

Ken Chen, Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop 
Sunspel, Wings + Horn, and Lands’ End T-shirts
“My new favorite T-shirt line is Sunspel, an old-school British luxury line with insanely high craftsmanship — great fit and fabric — while not being as expensive as it could be. I also like Wings + Horn, which has extremely soft cotton shirts, and my embarrassing secret is that my undershirts are all from that ultimate dad brand, Lands’ End.”
Sunspel T-shirt, $65 at Sunspel; Wings + Horns T-shirt, $100 at East Dane; Lands’ End T-shirt, from $10 at Lands’ End

Peter Feigenbaum, Architectural Designer and Musician
H&M V-Neck
“A white T-shirt should never cost more than $5, since they get dirty within a month and have to be tossed or turned into rags. Usually I’ll just scour the dollar racks at DII in Greenpoint (775 Manhattan Avenue), or if I’m feeling extravagant I’ll get a $5 V-Neck at H&M. Only requirements are that the fabric be thick enough to cover my nipples, and be slightly oversized.”
$5.99 at H&M

Ryan Harrington, Editor at Melville House
Fruit of the Loom V-Neck 
“I usually wear a small Fruit of the Loom V-neck, tagless, 100 percent cotton — sort of the missionary position of white T-shirts. My mother sends me away with a pack of them every year as a Christmas present. Knowing that she’ll always come through, I can put in requests about size and style, but the brand is out of my hands. I blush to say it, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever bought myself a white T-shirt.”
From $16 for a five-pack at Amazon 

Alex Stoler, Tennis Instructor
A Hanes Crew Neck 
“A Dri-Fit shirt absorbs perspiration pretty well, so it won’t get drenched if you’re playing tennis out in the sun for, you know, eight hours. Boast was giving them to me for a while — and working at country clubs for many years, you wear all white … But my favorite white T-shirt is a Hanes crewneck that I got probably ten years ago. It feels like it’s the item of clothing that most feels a part of my body. It feels like [I’m] myself in a T-shirt. Did you want someone to say that? Well, it’s on the record.”
From $26 for a six-pack at Macy’s  

Walter Binger, Owner of Empanadas, Son! Restaurant
A Hanes 5-Pack
“I put on a white T-shirt pretty much every day of my life as habit … Hanes is my go-to brand.  One of the allures of the white tee is that, because it comes in a five-pack, there is a level of consistency and the comfort of knowing you can have the same thing whenever you want it. I think a big reason why I subconsciously wear them is because it’s part of me being a bit old-fashioned. My dad, who was born in 1930, always wore a white T-shirt every day. I appreciate the history of it, and they’ve always had a sort of James Dean appeal of being casual and comfortable, but still cool.”
$27 for a five-pack at Amazon 

Jacob Muselmann, Model and Editor
Hanes ComfortBlend Crewneck 
“Lately I’ve been going for cheap and simple Hanes ComfortBlend. I have big shoulders, so a lot of other brands really gird the pit and flare out the sleeve for that flouncy look I’m not going for. Ideally I like the neck stretched out, like someone tried to strangle me or chased me down at recess. It still gives you some clavicle action and a little character to boot. It’s sexier. There are a lot of expensive scoop necks out there that get near this aesthetic but most of the time look too manufactured and delicate.”
From $27 for a five-pack at Macy’s 

Alexander Chee, Author of The Queen of the Night 
Hanes Tagless T-Shirt
“I only buy white T-shirts as undershirts now (I drink too much coffee and usually while walking, so I just kept ruining them immediately). I’m a big fan of the Hanes Tagless tee. It’s a shame, as I am a huge James Dean cultist and when I was younger was fond of the white T-shirt with a rolled sleeve. But a coffee-stained white tee is really awful.”
From $6 at Amazon

Tedros Abraham, Legislative Aide for Senator Jeff Merkley
Hanes V-neck 
“The best white tee has been a hotly debated topic among my friends. As a skinny dude, I’ve been loyal to the small Hanes V-neck for years. I still have the body of a gawky teenager, so my goal is to find something long and narrow. American Apparel is the only slightly nicer shirt that I’ve tried. The shirt is undeniably softer, but I don’t think it fit significantly better, the price was far too high, and I don’t feel great about walking into an American Apparel store.”
From $13 for a six-pack at Amazon 

The Best Men’s White T-shirt, According to Men