If the best plain white tee is the Pete Sampras of the menswear world—well-rounded, even-mannered, a preeminent champion—then the best black t-shirt for men is Andre Agassi. Black tees are sexier, sleeker, more direct. You wear a white T-shirt because it’s easy and goes with everything; you pull on a black one when you want to feel good. They give off Danny Zuko-y bad boy vibes with a leather jacket, bring an assassin-like precision to a black or navy suit, and just generally look smart and modern on their own. You are never underdressed in a black T-shirt. And that’s why it’s important to find the very best black t-shirt for your tastes and needs—which, as it happens, is exactly what we’re about to help you do.
The Best Soft Black T-Shirt
Sunspel classic cotton T-shirt
If hand-feel is your number one criteria, then Sunspel’s signature model is your runaway winner. All of the tees on this list are varying degrees of soft, but this one is competing with newborn lambs and kitten bellies in that department. It’s cut from a crisp, luxurious long staple supima cotton that drapes gracefully across your torso and feels like wearing a cool breeze. In post-pandemic times—for better or worse—it’s the kind of shirt that just *looks* so comfy, strangers will be compelled to come up to you and ask if they can touch it.
The Best Heavy-Duty Black T-Shirt
Noah oversized heavyweight pocket tee
You’ll never have to fear a saggy collar or clingy torso in one Noah’s new heavyweight tees. They’re as brawny and substantial as it gets, built from a rugby-jersey-esque 8.5 oz jersey that’s designed to outlast a heavy day’s wear and endless rounds in the washing machine. Add to that a roomy, comfortable fit and a handful of bang-on details—like a perfectly-sized pocket and a locker loop on the rear—and you’ve got yourself a tee that’s ready for whatever the spring throws your way.
The Best Affordable Black T-shirt
Uniqlo U crew neck short-sleeve T-shirt (was $15, now 33% off)
Uniqlo U is a menswear cheat code, and these T-shirts are its crown jewel. Clocking in at just $15 bucks a pop, Christophe Lemaire’s signature crewnecks have all the hallmarks of a tee four or five times the price: thick and weighty, boxy and crisp, a total standout even in the most basic colors of all.
The Best Modern Black T-Shirt
Buck Mason pima curved hem tee
There aren’t a ton of ways to innovate on a T-shirt. You can fool around with the fit, experiment with fabrics, stretch and reshape the neckline, maybe cut a few unfortunate holes into the body. Californian basics purveyor Buck Mason chose a subtler route: they gave the hemline an attractive curve. That one small change has the effect of making an otherwise classic crewneck tee—with a trimmer cut and a top-shelf pima cotton knit—feel subliminally, almost imperceptibly new.
The Best Oversized Black T-Shirt
John Elliott Anti-Expo tee
Usually, calling something “rough around the edges” is a bad thing. But it’s the main selling point of this tee from John Elliott: the sleeves and hem have been left unfinished, lending the shirt a raw and punkish edge (literally). Beyond that mild swerve, all the typical attention to detail and quality that earned Elliott one of our Best New Menswear Designer honours back in ‘16 are still very much present—it’s got a very-right-now oversized fit tailored from a just-right medium weight fabric.
The Best Ultra-Luxe Black T-Shirt
Celine T-shirt in silk jersey
Sometimes you shell out extra for a designer T-shirt, and then feel a little bummed when it doesn’t seem all that different from the Hanes three-pack you already owned. You’ll never have that problem with Celine’s signature tees: the moment you slip one on, you can tell an inordinate amount of thought went into getting it just so. The entire thing is cut from pure silk, which is breezy enough for the dog days of summer, feels like absolute heaven, and drapes against your chest in the most flattering way possible. And, because this is a Hedi Slimane joint, the silhouette is as razor sharp as it gets: trim and tailored through the body, with a slightly scoopier neck and higher-cut sleeves for an instant hit of rock god cool.
The Best Eco-Friendly Black T-Shirt
Everybody.World recycled cotton Trash tee
Feels like everywhere you look these days, brands of all sizes—from the tiniest underground streetwear brands to the oldest European fashion houses—are rushing to develop sustainable practices, often in the form of T-shirts purportedly made from recycled materials. But nobody does ’em better than the originators: LA’s Everybody.World, who launched their signature Trash tees back in 2017. The brainchild of American Apparel alums Iris Alonzo and Carolina Crespo, the shirts are crafted using the leftover cotton scraps from factory floors, but look and feel like the furthest thing from garbage. Instead, they’re buttery soft and perfectly roomy, the kind of tees you’d want to buy even without the added satisfaction of a clear conscience.
Six More Black Tees We Love
Comfort Colors short sleeve tee
Comfort Colors’ extra-soft tees are beloved for their, you know, colors. But they’re pretty darn great in black, too.
Alex Mill standard pocket tee in slub cotton
Looking for a black T-shirt that’s not quite so pristine and pitch black? Alex Mill’s slubby, texture-rich tees are the way to go.
GQ 8-Ball T-Shirt
Two tattooable graphics printed on GQ editors’ favorite T-shirt blank. (Seriously—we wear ’em every day.)
The GQ Shop
Everlane premium-weight crew
So rock solid, it comes backed by a year-long warranty.
Kirkland Signature crew neck tee (6-pack)
Stop sleeping on Kirkland, folks. These tees are big, beefy, and clock in at less than $4 a pop.
Velva Sheen cotton-jersey T-shirts (2-pack)
Cut boxy through the body with shorter, bicep-popping sleeves—the way guys like Brando used to wear ‘em.
3sixteen heavyweight pocket T-shirt (2-pack)
We’ve personally put these hardy, American-made beauts through the ringer for years—and they still look and fit as great as they did on Day One.
Gap classic T-shirt (was $20, now 55% off)
You probably own a couple of these already, and have done for as long as you can remember. We’re just here to reaffirm that that was a good decision.
Dickies short sleeve heavyweight crew neck pocket tee
We spend a lot of time around here praising Dickies’s hardwearing work pants, and not nearly enough celebrating their equally tough, affordable workwear tees.
Mott & Bow “Carlton” heavyweight pocket tee
Sometimes beefier tees can feel as stiff and rough as cardboard, but this heavyweight champ is soft to the touch.
Mott & Bow
Reigning Champ T-shirt (2-pack)
Thanks to the reinforced collars and cuffs, these tees will almost always come out of the wash looking virtually the same as they went in.
Hanro Living short sleeve crew neck tee
Lightweight, a little slouchy, and smooth as silk.