We Tested The Most Popular White T-shirts—These 16 Are The Best

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best-white-tshirts-for-women-tested

Chloe Jeong / Byrdie

While it may seem a simple task, finding the best white T-shirt can have its challenges. It must feel comfortable, both in terms of the fit and the material; plus, it should have a purpose, be it for layering under a cashmere sweater, for wearing it on its own with shorts on a warm spring day, or even sweating in it for an hour at the gym.

Given its versatility, a white T-shirt is a closet essential, and finding the perfect one can make getting dressed much easier. “The white tee is so classic,” celebrity stylist Jasmine Caccamo told Byrdie. “[It] never fails.”

With a market chock-full of options, our team tested 21 white T-shirts from various brands—all of them white and short-sleeved—to separate the best from the overhyped. We wore them for a full workday and conducted a handful of tests on the attributes we deemed critical, such as material, fit, opaqueness, and durability. We returned with tons of insight for our readers so that you can go on to make the most informed buying decision possible.

Scroll for our findings on the best white T-shirts and learn more about how we tested.

Meet the Expert

  • Jasmine Caccamo is a bi-coastal celebrity stylist whose client list includes Taylor Swift, Camilla Cabello, and Rachel Platten.
  • Karla Welch is an LA-based celebrity stylist and the co-founder of x Karla, The Period Company, and Wishi.
  • Preethi Gopinath is a Program Director and an Associate Professor at the Parsons School of Design Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She teaches textile development, design, and marketing.
  • Holly White is a celebrity stylist with a client roster that includes Vanessa Kirby and Naomie Harris. She is based in London.
  • Sean Cormier is an Associate Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Teaching at the undergraduate level, he specializes in textile development.

Best Overall: SKIMS Cotton Jersey T-shirt in Bone

5
SKIMS Cotton Jersey T-Shirt

SKIMS

What We Like
  • Extensive size range

  • Softness

  • Versatility

  • No signs of wear after washing

What We Don’t Like
  • No true white color option

Who else recommends it? Vogue also picked the SKIMS Cotton Jersey T-shirt.

What do buyers say? 85% of 300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

This SKIMS tee was one of three that received a 5/5 rating in every single attribute test, but what earned it the Best Overall is its versatility.

Commerce Editor Daniela Galvez said she didn’t want to take this T-shirt off at the end of the day, and, well, she didn’t have to. It’s as great for a casual workday as it is for lounging at home. It has a high content of elastane, which allows the fabric to mold to the body for a glove-like fit, though, “not in an uncomfortable way,” Galvez clarified. Plus, the shirt is completely opaque, which she tested by wearing over a colored bra. After one wash, Galvez didn’t feel any change in the fabric’s texture nor did she see any change in its color.

Material: 90% cotton, 10% elastane | Size Range: XXS-4X | Care: Machine wash; tumble dry

Goodlife Sun-Faded Slub Everyday Crew

Byrdie / Daniela Galvez

What Our Editors Say

“I'm not much of a Kardashian fan, however, I have to admit Kim knew exactly what she was doing when she created this top. From the fit to the soft fabric, I can see myself reaching for this top a lot. My only complaint is that Bone, which is an ivory color, is the closest thing to white. SKIMS doesn't offer a true white color for their T-shirts.” —Daniela Galvez, Commerce Editor

Best Budget: Aerie Distressed Basic Boyfriend T-shirt in White

5
Aerie Distressed Basic Boyfriend T-shirt

Aerie

What We Like
  • Boxy fit

  • No signs of wear after washing

  • Spot-on sizing

What We Don’t Like
  • Sheerness

Commerce Editorial Director Kate Geraghty tested Aerie’s Distressed Basic Boyfriend T-shirt and found that it shined in almost every category, making it a great value is given the affordable price point. In terms of comfort, Geraghty said the material was soft and the sleeves provided just the right amount of room. It was also long enough to stay tucked into her bottoms all day, presenting a quality of unfussiness unique to the best white tees.

Style-wise, she raved about the boxiness, which was just enough to look casual and effortless. “I prefer my white T-shirts a little on the loose side, and this checked that box,” explained Geraghty. “This shirt had the perfect blend of boxy but not baggy—good for a relaxed look with jeans, but it might be too casual for some people.” Because of its sheerness, she questioned how many washes it could endure before developing wear and tear, though she didn’t see any signs of that during her test period.

Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Care: Machine wash

Aerie Distressed Basic Boyfriend T-shirt

Byrdie / Kate Geraghty

What Our Editors Say

“When I picture a white T-shirt in my head, this is the style I imagine, but the sheerness may keep some people from wearing it to the office or other less casual situations.” —Kate Geraghty, Commerce Editorial Director

Most Classic: For Days Organic Cotton Daily Crew Tee in White

4.3
For Days Organic Cotton Daily Crew Tee in White

For Days

What We Like
  • Softness

  • Affordability

What We Don’t Like
  • Slight sheerness

Geraghty found this T-shirt to be soft, comfortable, and generally well-fitting. It’s cut for a loose fit and complete with relaxed details, like a wrinkled hem, for an unstuffy look—a perfect option for a grocery store run or a casual lunch date with friends. “The chest and arms were just a little tighter than I was expecting, but the sizing was spot on for what I expected otherwise,” she explained.

Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash cold on a gentle cycle; lay flat to dry

For Days Daily Crew Tee

Byrdie / Kate Geraghty

What Our Editors Say

“Overall this is a great T-shirt—I would buy more of these in other colors, in fact. It is a little on the sheer side, but in a way that's relatively easy to work around.” —Kate Geraghty, Commerce Editorial Director

Best for Working Out: Outdoor Voices Everyday Shortsleeve in Brilliant White

5
Outdoor Voices Everyday Shortsleeve

Outdoor Voices

What We Like
  • Soft yet structured

  • Nice crop on tall frames

  • Opacity

  • Versatility

What We Don’t Like
  • Not as size-inclusive as other options

Commerce Editor Latifah Miles said this option provides the best possible look and feel of a white cotton T-shirt. “It has enough stiffness to offer a cute fit but doesn’t feel like I am wearing cardboard,” she said, adding that the style accommodates tall frames if they like the look of a long-line crop. “Crop tops are basically bras on me because I am long, but this was the perfect fit,” explained Miles, who is 5-foot-10.

While this shirt received a 5/5 overall rating, we didn’t include them for Best Overall or Runner-Up because of its informal, athletic appeal. This shirt is perfect for running your daily errands or to wear on a literal run, given that the brand specializes in activewear. And while we wish Outdoor Voices was as size-inclusive as some other brands on this list, the Everyday Shortsleeve won’t disappoint from a value perspective.

Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Care: Machine wash cold; tumble dry low; do not bleach, iron, or dry clean

What Our Testers Say

“I would buy this shirt in all available colors because it is comfortable and is the perfect casual T-shirt that flatters my long torso.” —Latifah Miles, Commerce Editor

Most Versatile: CozeCo x Alvn Studio Organic Cotton COZe Tee in Optic White

4.8
CozeCo Organic Cotton COZe Tee

Alvn Studio

What We Like
  • Thick and opaque material

  • Soft yet structured

  • True white hue

  • True to size

What We Don’t Like
  • Relatively pricey for one tee

  • Not as size-inclusive as other options

  • Looks worn after some wears and washes

Byrdie’s Associate Commerce Editor Erika Reals said this T-shirt is the one she always reaches for first after laundry day. “It’s soft and comfortable, yet not sheer, and is nice enough to be worn casually with leggings or jeans, or dressed up with some leather pants and heels,” she explained. “I need, like, six more of these—one for every day of the week.”

She reported that the tee fits true to size, having described the shape as boxy and relaxed with “plenty of wiggle room,” compared to other options. The crew neckline sat right at her collarbone, which Reals said she liked, as her layered necklaces laid on top of the shirt and didn’t get tangled with the neckline. She's had this T-shirt for several months and has held up surprisingly well in the wash, although it definitely doesn't look brand new anymore.

Material: 100% organic cotton jersey | Size Range: S-XXL | Care: Machine wash

Best for Layering: Everlane Pima Micro-Rib Crew Tee in White

4.3
Everlane Pima Micro-Rib Crew Tee in White

Everlane

What We Like
  • Soft material

  • No signs of wear after washing

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like
  • Thinner than expected

  • Not super opaque

Based on the fabric’s feeling alone, this T-shirt is so comfortable, contributing writer Hayley Prokos reported. After speaking with two textile experts from the New School and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (FIT), she understood that the luxe texture of this shirt had something to do with its Pima cotton composition. “It is a higher grade of cotton compared to common cotton fibers because the staple fibers are relatively longer in Pima cotton. Longer staple fibers produce smoother yarn,” Parsons professor Preethi Gopinath said.

Prokos also found that it was form-fitting and cut proportionately. Though, much to her dismay and unlike the product photos, it was extremely sheer.  Prokos found that even a nude bra couldn’t completely remedy the opacity issue.

Material: 95% Pima cotton, 5% elastane | Size Range: XXS-XL | Care: Hand wash; lay flat to dry

Key Features

“Despite its sheerness, I loved the delicate comfort of this T-shirt—a quality that I think makes it work well as a layering piece, like under a sweater or modest blazer that you plan to wear closed.” —Hayley Prokos, Product Tester

Best Crewneck: Vince Essential Pima Cotton Crew in Optic White

4.5
Vince Essential Pima Cotton Crew

Shopbop

What We Like
  • Soft and lightweight material

  • Oversized-but-not-baggy silhouette

  • No signs of wear after washing

What We Don’t Like
  • Sheer

  • Expensive

Upon wearing Vince’s Essential Pima Cotton Crew, Galvez was shocked by how breezy it felt, thanks to the soft, breathable material and slightly oversized silhouette. She liked the length of the T-shirt, which she said is long enough to stay tucked into her bottoms. And, it stood up well after one wash.

The only caveat: It’s somewhat sheer. “If you are looking for a white T-shirt that will mask your bright or dark undergarment, this isn’t your best bet,” Galvez warned. The thin material didn’t do a great job of concealing her black bra.

Material: 100% Pima cotton | Size Range: XXS-XL | Care: Machine wash

Vince Essential Pima Cotton Crew

Byrdie / Daniela Galvez

What Our Editors Say

“While the Vince T-shirt is thinner than shirts I usually wear, I can see myself reaching for it during the summertime. It's definitely a solid option for those hotter-than-usual summer days, thanks to its lightweight fabric that lets your body breathe.” —Daniela Galvez, Commerce Editor

Best Fitted: x Karla The Crew Tee in White

4.3
x Karla The Crew Tee

Revolve

What We Like
  • Soft but sturdy cotton material

  • No signs of wear after washing

What We Don’t Like
  • Smaller than expected

  • Somewhat sheer

  • Relatively pricey

Karla Welch is the genius stylist behind Tracee Ellis Ross, Olivia Wilde, Justin Bieber, and others, who prides herself on consistently creating a cool, not too “done” aesthetic for her clients. She’s also the founder of several companies, including Wishi, a personal styling service, and x Karla, which specializes in basics like tanks, T-shirts, and sweatshirts.

Prokos wore the x Karla crewneck T-shirt for a day of errands and found that it was comfortable and soft without feeling flimsy. Though, with a pretty extensive personal collection of white T-shirts, she found that this one runs small compared to other brands, like Everlane and Uniqlo. “It was narrow in the torso, which looked OK when tucked into jeans and worn under a jacket. However, it was way too tight for comfort in the chest and shoulders,” Prokos, who is petite and typically wears a size 32B bra, explained.

The shirt was also somewhat sheer with a black bra, which perhaps had more to do with the tightness of the tee than it did with the material. It held up well after one wash, which is great because, in the right size, “this T-shirt seems like it could last you years,” she said.

In terms of styling, Welch recommends wearing it “a little tucked in, a little tucked out with a high-waisted pant, a blazer, and stacked necklaces, or tucked into baggy jeans with a cool sneaker.”

Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-3X | Care: Machine wash

Best Vintage-Style: Goodlife Tri-Blend Boxy Crew

4.5
goodlife-tri-blend-boxy-crew

Goodlife Clothing

What We Like
  • Relaxed fit

  • True to size

  • Textured fabric for a worn-in look

  • No signs of wear after washing

What We Don’t Like
  • Not as slim as described

  • Not completely opaque

  • Not as size-inclusive as other options

This tee by Goodlife has a crew neck, standard length, and classic cotton feel that’s well-suited for jeans, trousers, and midi skirts alike. It’s textured for a worn-in look, which is both a pro and a con. “Because of the uneven distressed texture, the tee is not completely opaque despite the midweight material,” Reals said. “I would not choose to wear a colored bra underneath this tee, but it would still be appropriate for the workplace if you wore a skin-toned bra.”

Reals recalled that the tee looked as good as new after wear and wash and said she expects to have it in her closet for a while, given the apparent quality.

Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-L | Care: Machine wash

Goodlife Sun-Faded Slub Everyday Crew

Byrdie / Erika Reals

Best Oversized: Everlane Air Oversized Crew Tee in White

4.3
Everlane Air Oversized Crew Tee

Everlane

What We Like
  • Lightweight material

  • No signs of wear after washing

What We Don’t Like
  • Sheerness

  • Lack of versatility

Soft and airy, this all-cotton oversized T-shirt provides a barely-there feel, according to Prokos, who tested this shirt and rated it highly in almost every category. “It’s cut for an oversized fit, so there’s tons of room, but it still somehow feels proportionate to my body,” she said. Her biggest qualm: the shirt’s blatant sheerness, even with a nude bra.

“This shirt is pretty sheer, so I’d probably opt to wear it as a bathing suit cover-up,” Prokos said. “It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting based on the product photos, but, since it’s so cute and comfortable, I’ll still find ways to wear it.”

Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XL | Care: Machine wash cold; lay flat to dry

Oversized: Everlane The Air Oversized Crew

Byrdie / Hayley Prokos

What Our Testers Say

“Given its sheerness and loose shape, I think this T-shirt is best as a beach cover-up. I can see myself wearing it while either lounging at home or adventuring on a beach vacation, where I wouldn’t be as concerned about modesty.” —Hayley Prokos, Product Tester

To get the most out of a long white tee, Caccamo suggests knotting it right at the belly button for a cropped look and teaming it with your favorite high-waisted jeans.

Best Boxy Cropped: For Days 90’s Recycled Cotton Crop Tee in White

4.8
For Days 90’s Recycled Cotton Crop Tee

For Days

What We Like
  • Thick opaque material

  • Softness

  • Decent length for long torsos

  • Held up well after one wash

What We Don’t Like
  • Larger than expected

Cropped T-shirts can be a crapshoot, especially for those with elongated torsos, but this option for For Days is fail-safe. “I have a long torso, so cropped shirts often hit me at a weird place, but this crop was long enough to just graze the top of my leggings,” Geraghty reported. “The fit was a little larger than I expected—there was a lot of extra room in this shirt, but I think it worked well.” While she wouldn’t have sized down, Geraghty did consider that a more petite frame could feel like the shirt wasn’t cropped enough.

Material: 80% organic cotton, 20% recycled cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash

For Days 90’s Recycled Cotton Crop Tee

Byrdie / Kate Geraghty

Key Features

“While not necessarily a traditional white T-shirt, I really loved this option. The crop wasn't excessive, the material was the thickest of any shirts I tested, and I'm already planning outfits around it for the future.” —Kate Geraghty, Commerce Editorial Director

Best Fitted Cropped: Vuori Mudra Fitted Tee in White Heather

4.5
Vuori Mudra Fitted Tee

Vuori

What We Like
  • Stretchy fabric

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Opaque

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Cut from a stretch rib knit fabric with moisture-wicking properties, this T-shirt from activewear brand Vuori checks many boxes, according to product tester Rachel Lee. She described the material as “thick” but “lightweight on your skin” and attested to its moisture-wicking quality. “When I [sweated] a little bit in this, I never felt sticky or gross. My shirt remained dry and seems to have done the job well of absorbing moisture.”

In terms of fit, Lee reported that it was slightly larger than expected, having cited details like gaping around the neck opening; though, the length was “perfect” because it hit right at her hips—a great match for most bottoms. And after a wash following the manufacturer’s instructions, the shirt held up well, she recalled. “The neckline may have changed a little bit; I noticed the shape looked less taut, but it was not a significant change.” Given its synthetic composition, it didn’t shrink at all.

Material: 87% modal rayon, 13% elastane | Size Range: XS-XL | Care: Machine wash cold with like colors; tumble dry low, remove promptly; do not iron

Vuori Mudra Fitted Tee

Byrdie / Rachel Lee

Best Bodysuit: SKIMS Stretch Cotton Jersey T-Shirt Bodysuit

5
SKIMS Stretch Cotton Jersey T-Shirt Bodysuit

SKIMS

What We Like
  • Extensive size range

  • Very comfortable

  • Versatile

What We Don’t Like
  • No true white color option

Galvez was pleasantly surprised by this piece, after almost having written off bodysuits because of their apparent lack of comfort. “I have a curvier body type and felt like it accentuated my features without making me feel like a caged sausage,” she said. Even the thong was comfortable and going to the bathroom was easy, thanks to the snaps at the bottom.

Material: 90% cotton, 10% elastane | Size Range: XXS-4X | Care: Machine wash; tumble dry

What Our Editors Say

“While I wore the bodysuit with jeans, I think it will look great paired with a skirt to dress it up. I found that it was easy to style, and it had a nice slim fit. I do wish there was a true white color in this design because it would work with a lot more garments.” —Daniela Galvez, Commerce Editor

Best Cashmere Blend: NAADAM Ribbed Lightweight Cropped Tee in Linen

4
NAADAM Ribbed Lightweight Cropped Tee

NAADAM

What We Like
  • Luxe fabric

  • Breathable

  • Wrinkle-resistant

  • Opaque

  • Fit as expected

What We Don’t Like
  • Can’t be machine washed

  • Expensive

  • No true white color option

Lightweight and luxurious, this cashmere blend tee offers the best of just about everything—indulgent softness, ease of wear, and breathability. An offshoot of the classic white T-shirt, it has longer sleeves and a cropped hem, which Reals said would work well with her current edit of high-waisted pants, shorts, or skirts. Fit-wise, Reals reported it was true to size, and she was pleasantly surprised that the shirt was completely opaque, even with a colored bra. Though, she considered that the shirt’s opacity could have to do with its off-white, rather than pure white, color.

Material: 86% modal, 10% cashmere, 4% Lycra | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Care: Dry clean or hand wash cold; lay flat to dry

What Our Editors Say

“If you're looking for a fancier T-shirt, this is it. Made of a cashmere blend, it's super comfortable with an oversized relaxed fit and cropped silhouette. While it's not a bright white color, it is still complementary to a lot of other staples in your closet such as denim, leggings, and leather pants.” —Erika Reals, Associate Fashion Editor, Commerce

Best Baby Tee: Madewell Baby Tee in Bright Ivory

4.3
Madewell Baby Tee

Madewell

What We Like
  • Sturdy fabric

  • Lettuce details provide visual interest

  • True to size

What We Don’t Like
  • Slips out when tucked in

This white crewneck T-shirt by Madewell is inspired by the ‘90s. It offers a classic shrunken silhouette with lettuce detailing along the hem and the sleeves. It's made with a modal blend that feels thick but comfortable, according to Lee, who sized up, thinking that the piece would run small. (It is, after all, called the ‘baby tee.’) It wound up being slightly too loose for her taste, though, “it still looked good,” she assured.

Material: 57% cotton, 38% Lenzing modal, 5% elastane | Size Range: XXS-XXL | Care: Machine wash

Madewell Baby Tee

Byrdie / Rachel Lee

Best Muscle Tee: Frame Le High Rise Muscle Tee in Blanc

4.3
Frame Le High Rise Muscle Tee

Amazon

What We Like
  • Soft and lightweight fabric

  • Fit as expected

  • Held up well after one wash

What We Don’t Like
  • Relatively expensive

  • Not as size-inclusive as other options

While designed to wear with high-waisted pants, this muscle tee is highly versatile. It features a fitted, lightweight bodice and a 20.5-inch length from the shoulder to the hem. Reals, who tested this tee, said it fits as expected—not too loose, not too tight, and the hem hit right below the button of her jeans. (For further context, Reals is 5 feet, 4 inches tall) The cut-off sleeves make this tee a great alternative to a traditional tank for professional settings or layering purposes.

Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Care: Machine wash cold

Key Features

“While the Frame Muscle Tee is at a higher price point for a white T-shirt, I expect the cost per wear to be pretty low over the time I have this tee in my wardrobe. It's a great summer tee thanks to the short muscle sleeves and relaxed fit, and it serves well as a layering piece for pairing with a blazer or denim or leather jacket.” —Erika Reals, Associate Fashion Editor, Commerce

Other Options We Tested

Goldie Short Sleeve Rib Tee

This ultra-soft ribbed T-shirt is best if you’re looking for a very slim fit. During her test period, Geraghty was surprised by how much the shirt stretched to mold to the body; though, she was overall disappointed by the tightness and sheerness of it.

“Even with a fairly neutral colored bra on, you were able to not only see the outline of my bra but the very subtle texture as well,” she explained, adding that she wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing it out of the house. In terms of durability, she noted that the material stood up well after washing and even shrunk down to its pre-stretched size.

If you're wanting a fitted bra and don't mind it being sheer, though, it could be a good fit, thanks to the tee's high marks in softness and durability.

Alo Yoga Motion Short Sleeve

Thanks to a lightweight material and relaxed construction, the Alo Yoga Motion Short Sleeve tee is a great piece for almost any activity, according to Miles. Crafted from the brand’s buttery soft and stretchy ‘Motion’ jersey, it offers a slightly oversized fit with a deep scoop neckline so that you can move with ease.

Miles did note, however, that the sleeves were uncomfortably small and the material was very sheer, which is why she gave it a 2/5 for opacity. “Sizing up one might make a difference,” she surmised. “[It’s also] pretty sheer, but it wouldn’t bother me since I’d imagine wearing this shirt to pilates [or to run errands.]” In terms of length, it was long enough for her to comfortably lift her arms without exposing her midsection.

KADA Infinity Tee

Geraghty was unfortunately unimpressed with the quality and design of this T-shirt, giving it an overall rating of 2.5/5. Although it held up well in the wash despite the unfinished hem, Geraghty had a hard time imagining herself wearing this tee for any purpose. “The color was very off-white; the shirt was so sheer I was uncomfortable wearing it even around my apartment for the afternoon, and the plastic seams made wearing any bra a bit awkward,” she said.

Madewell Northside Vintage Tee

Overall, Lee was pleasantly surprised by Madewell’s Northside Vintage Tee for its flattering fit. “It's loose enough to [be] casual but still complementary to your body shape,” she said.

She noted specific features like the length and wearability as big pluses.“The length is not cropped, which makes it great for tucking into pants, tying, or wearing as-is,” Lee said. After a wash, the thin, silky material—which Lee loved so much she gave it a 5/5—was even softer, albeit somewhat shrunken (a reason for a slightly lower ranking for durability).

While good overall (she gave it a comprehensive rating of 4/5), Lee wasn’t satisfied with the opacity: “With a nude bra, it was fine, but with a black or brightly colored one, you could see the shape and color of the whole bra.”

Rag & Bone The Vee Tee

Miles gave this white Pima cotton V-neck an overall rating of 3/5, emphasizing the sheerness and steep price point as the biggest cons. Cut for a relaxed yet slim fit, “the style of the shirt seems like one you’d wear with jeans or pants, versus athleisure, so the sheerness doesn’t make sense,” Miles explained. In terms of fit, she was mostly pleased, given the tee was long enough that she could lift her arms without it riding up and the sleeves were roomy, so her armpits didn’t suffocate.

How We Tested

Associate Fashion Commerce Editor Erika Reals spent several days researching the white T-shirt market, interviewing editors and experts, and reading online product reviews to figure out which popular white T-shirts we should put to the test. From there, Reals created a standardized methodology to evaluate the leggings to test the material, fit, opaqueness, and durability of each tee on a 1 to 5 rating scale.

A total of 21 shirts were tested by 6 editors and product testers, including the writer of this roundup Hayley Prokos. The testers wore each T-shirt for at least an entire workday to evaluate the material, taking notes on comfortability, softness, and more. To evaluate the fit, testers were mindful of the tee's sizing (Was it true to size?) and proportions (Was it tighter or looser in certain places than expected?).

Since nobody wants a white T-shirt that is too see-through to wear in an everyday setting, we tested that, too. To rate each shirt's opacity, testers wore non-nude bras to determine the shirts' sheerness levels when the tee is put into action. Finally, testers put each pair through the wash to ensure that they kept their shape and brightness, avoided pilling, and generally didn't fall apart right away. These tests were conducted at each tester's home.

What to Look for in White T-Shirts

Fit

There are two main cuts of T-shirts to try when shopping for a white tee. The best cut for you depends on your proportions and preferences.

Fitted tees should skim over your body while giving your torso and arms room to breathe. If you feel like the garment is cutting off your arm circulation or restricts your movement, size up or try a different silhouette. For oversized tees, a relaxed fit shouldn’t make you feel like you’re swimming in fabric. If you find yourself having to roll up the sleeves or the bottom of the shirt a few too many times, try a smaller size or shop for a more fitted cut.

The perfect fit can also depend on how you plan to style your white T-shirt, according to Welch. “A white T-shirt should be fitted when worn with an oversized third piece, like a jacket or blazer," she said. "If you are wearing it on its own…opt for an oversized silhouette.”

Length

Length is key, according to celebrity stylist Holly White, and there are two main factors for determining the ideal shirt length: your torso length and your most-worn rise of bottoms. Cropped styles are cut to be most flattering with mid- or high-rise bottoms. Long-line, or simply long, options, on the other hand, tend to graze over leggings and bike shorts.

Hip-length hemlines tend to be the most versatile and universally flattering. This cut will allow you to achieve the perfect French tuck without worrying about excess fabric bunched up around your midsection, and it will still be long enough to sweep the waistband of low-rise bottoms.

Composition

Cotton is one of the most common materials used for white tees. This is because it has many favorable attributes, like breathability, biodegradability, and easy care. Traditional cotton tees are offered at every price range, with many budget-friendly options available.

Of course, not every cotton tee is made the same. Pima, organic, and regular cotton are three types of cotton you may encounter in your search. The differences between them have to do with quality and sustainability. Pima cotton tends to be smoother, and, as a result, higher quality because of its long-staple fibers. Meanwhile, cotton that’s labeled “organic” refers to the farming operations involved in growing the cotton. “Organic cotton does not use chemicals or pesticides during the growing process, reducing the chemicals that wind up in water and streams,” FIT associate professor Sean Cormier said.

Modal is another noteworthy material choice. Manufactured from wood pulp, the fabric is ultra-soft, moisture-wicking, and biodegradable. It’s more absorbent than cotton—making it well-suited for everyday use, particularly in hot climates.

Ultimately, the experts say, the best material depends on the wearers’ use for a given tee. For layering, you might opt for more economically priced regular cotton, Cormier suggests, while Pima cotton could be better for a T-shirt that’s meant to be more of an outfit focal piece. Both cotton and modal are great for any situation where you might work up a sweat, given their absorbent properties.

Fabric Weight

Your intended use will help guide you to figure out the best material weight for your lifestyle. For professional settings, a thicker material provides a polished look; it offers the structure of a tailored top, and it’s comfortable. Conversely, the lightest weight options will be ideal for your workouts, when you don’t want material weighing you down.

FAQ
  • How many white T-shirts should you own?

    The average person should own three to five variations of a white T-shirt to cover their every need, according to Welch and White. This means finding tees in different fabrics, cuts, necklines, and shades of white for a diverse edit.

  • How long do white T-shirts last?

    “If you look after them, years!” White explained. She recommends re-dying them to preserve their brightness. “It’s cheaper than buying a new one and better for the environment than throwing out the old ones.”

  • How to wash white T-shirts

    Always make sure to wash your white garments separately in warm or hot water. Keep your machine load on the lighter side to minimize dirt and optimize the detergent’s benefits with every wash. It is essential to ensure that you’re using enough detergent in each load.

    Avoid using bleach if all of your items aren’t 100 percent cotton (modal, spandex, rayon, etc.). Adding a 0.5 cup of baking soda in with your detergent serves as a natural bleaching agent to keep your tees bright white. If all else fails, especially with deep and yellow stains, try out a chlorine-free bleach.

  • Are organic and Pima cotton fabrics different from regular cotton?

    Organic and Pima cotton are more sustainable, top-tier varieties that come with additional benefits. Organic cotton is grown without chemicals and pesticides, which creates longer cotton fibers and makes this variety even softer. Pima cotton also has these plush, longer fibers and the material is wrinkle-resistant, too.

Why Trust Byrdie

Hayley Prokos is an LA-based writer and editor focused on fashion and lifestyle. She contributes regularly to Byrdie’s commerce section and has a passion for sourcing chic and practical pieces with long-term wearability. She has owned and tested dozens of T-shirts over her lifetime and knows exactly what makes up the best of them. For this piece, she enlisted the help of five other Dotdash Meredith writers and editors to evaluate 21 white T-shirts, which were all tested on standardized criteria and graded on the same rating scale. She also gathered expert advice from several stylists and two textile industry insiders, spent several hours conducting her own product research, and tested three white T-shirts herself.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. 34 Vogue Editors Share the Best White T-shirts. Vogue. https://www.vogue.com/article/best-white-t-shirts-for-women

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