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.
The best T-shirts are the perfect blank canvas upon which to build a strong look. Or they can serve as a statement piece to let shine alone if bold graphics are your thing.
Whatever is on them, not all T-shirts are born equal. There are 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, you may prefer a sub-5oz T-shirt, which is likely to keep you cooler and dry quicker. If you're in the new T-shirt game simply 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.
Highsnobiety Staples T-Shirt
Pro Club Heavyweight T-Shirt
Darryl Brown Military T-Shirt
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 look 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.
Carhartt Base 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 your summer wardrobe.
Snow peak Quick-Dry Breathable Tee
Reigning Champ Ring Spun Cotton T-Shirt
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