We were tempted to call this a list for minimalist t-shirts, but plain t-shirts are plain t-shirts. And obviously, they should not come with any branding but instead focus on material. We wanted to keep this list to the very standard form of black t-shirts, which meant crew necks with no non-essential extras, like pockets or even small graphics or patches.
The most popular and used fabric for t-shirts, cotton is soft, long-lasting and breathable. It is also cost effective for everyday casual wear.
Hanes Tagless ComfortSoft T-Shirt
There’s a reason why the good-ol Hanes have called their t-shirts ComfortSoft. They are comfortable and soft and stay that way no matter the amount of machine wash. These are reliable and cost effective.
T by Alexander Wang Classic Short Sleeve Tee
For a plain cotton tee, this will cost you a lot more than that your average black t-shirt, but the classic slim cut is unique only to this t-shirt from the classic line of Alexander Wang, famous for his use of monotone colors in his collections.
Like a little more texture? Consider the slub version of the classic Alexander Wang tee.
While this is technically still cotton, Pima is a fine, long-staple cotton that yields a very soft weave and represents less than 1% of cotton grown in the world. What makes Pima Cotton unique to other cottons is the extra-long staple fiber that gives the cotton its premium properties: Strength, Softness and Color retention.
Budget Pick – Uniqlo Supima Cotton Crew Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt
Thick enough to wear on its own or to layer during colder months, Uniqlo really outdone themselves with this luxurious 100% Supima cotton with a smooth feel and natural brightness. The silhouette is minimal and smooth. This is one of the, if not, the best t-shirt you can get at that price point which is why this is our budget pick. We recommend you buy a few to keep handy on the off season because these go fast just before summer.
Cos Stores Round-Neck T-Shirt
Cos Store is well known for being very simple when it comes to their basics, so its no surprise that their pima cotton tee is simple down to the last details, like their neat edges.
Alternative Apparel Perfect Crew Organic Pima T-Shirt
Made from 100% Peruvian organic pima cotton, there is a reason why they call this their perfect crew. This is so soft, that it feels better than not wearing anything at all. This one is a little thinner and has a looser neck fit that the most t-shirts.
T-shirts made in merino wool are in a class of their own. This is a magic fabric that is stain and odour resistant, anti wrinkle yet machine washable. All the perfect properties you need in a perfect t-shirt can be found in merino. We only pick t-shirts in 17.5 micron merino wool, which is just the right amount of fineness one needs in a t-shirt.
Unbound Black Merino Crew T-Shirt
We like how simple this one is, and how they try to follow Dieter Rams, the godfather of design’s principles when designing this t-shirt. This black Merino wool crew is simple yet stylish. Understated, yet luxurious. It can be worn for a hike in the sun, used as an undershirt, or dressed up for a nice dinner out.
Best of Best – Outlier Ultrafine Merino Tee
Outlier calls this near perfect, but we reckon this is the closest to the perfect shirt you can get. Made with a Mackenzie 17.5 micron Merino Jersey, the fabric is beautifully soft and remarkably dry to the touch. The cut is slightly long to make sure you are covered when you stretch upwards. This is our pick for the best black t-shirt you can find, if budget is of no concern.
Here are some brands of merino wool short sleeve crews we considered but didn’t quite make the cut. You might wanna check them out anyway if you are not as particular as we are.