The T-shirt is the ultra-hard-working foundation of every wardrobe, one that's never seldom fallen out of favor since its inception almost 100 years ago — that's unheard of in the world of style.
Whether it is a perfect blank canvas upon which to build a strong look or a statement piece where the bold graphic is best left to shine alone, not all T-shirts are born equal. There is the heavy-duty, endorsement-free kind sold by Pro Club and Uniqlo U, or there are T-shirts of the drop neck, ultra-thin ilk that would cause a lot of people (like me) to break out in a cold sweat over.
Brands and retailers often include info on a T-shirt's weight by oz (ounces), which refers to the weight of a square section of fabric used on the tee. If you're working out, hiking, or running, during the warmer months you may prefer a sub-5oz T-shirt, which is likely to keep you cooler and dry quicker. If you want to change things up for aesthetic reasons or want a foundation piece that you'll keep for years, then the 6oz-plus sphere is where you should be heading.
To provide you with the freedom of choice when it comes to staple tees, we've scoured the internet and stores around the world to bring you the very best T-shirts, ranked by weight to fit your preference and given activity.
Scroll the Season's Best T-shirts for men, ranked by weight.
Heavyweight T-Shirts (6oz plus)
Personally, nothing compares to a heavyweight T-shirt. Good ones will look great on their own, hold their neck and shoulder shape, and stay thick even after many washes. When we're talking about strong foundations at the base of your fit, it helps to go with tees that are literally strong — tees that qualify, in our book, are weighted 6oz and above. For heavyweight T-shirts, look to the likes of endorsement-free Pro Club and Uniqlo U. The only downside in this zone is that things might get a little sweaty if you're going any quicker than a brisk walking pace.
Norse Projects Johannes Heavy Summit Tee
Wacko Maria Guilty Parties Heavyweight Tee
Middleweight T-Shirts — 5oz to 6oz
This is a nice middle ground when it comes to T-shirt weight, and a good option if you're hiking, particularly in the cooler months. People tend to go for tees in this weight ranking due to their balance when it comes to both looks and comfort. Mid-weight tees are not thick enough to cause a sweat, but they're not light enough to lose that quality shape, either.
Patta Freaky T-Shirt
Stone Island Garment-Dyed T-Shirt
JW Anderson Anchor Patch T-Shirt
Highsnobiety Dyed Logo Staples T-Shirt
Acne Studios Logo T-Shirt
Lightweight T-Shirts — Under 5oz
Ok, so you're a Rick Owens stan that wants that near-nipple neckline look? Or maybe you just need a feather-like T-shirt for running in? Either way, the thin and lightweight realm of the under 5oz T-shirt is usually arrived at for a very specific reason. Below, we've picked out a mix of quick-drying and super-lightweight cotton tees that act as a breathable second skin. An essential item for layering this fall.
KENZO Boke Flower T-Shirt
Carhartt WIP Chase Cotton-Jersey T-Shirtt
Balenciaga Oversized T-Shirt
Y-3 CH1 Commemorative T-Shirt
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