the best. really.

What’s the Best Black T-shirt for Men?

It used to be that wearing a black T-shirt meant you were trying to fade into the background, but as with the white T-shirt, it’s a basic that — done well — can become something that actually helps you stand out. They’re flattering enough to help downplay some flaws, too. To find the best black T-shirts (V-necks, crewnecks, gym versions, dressy ones, etc.), we asked 14 guys which ones they love the most. And if you’re looking for more men’s black T-shirt content, we talked to street-style photo fixture Nick Wooster about his favorites, too.

Best black T-shirt for layering

Calvin Klein Slim Fit 3-Pack Cotton T-shirt

“I’ve been wearing this T-shirt for over 20 years. It’s the only T-shirt I wear to sleep, day-to-day use, vacation, etc. It fits just right without being too tight, and it’s thick and presentable enough that I can wear it under a blazer, but lightweight enough that I’ll wear it under my work scrubs, too. I’ll keep the black T-shirts in the rotation for six to eight months before the fading kicks in.” —Gregory Vernet, licensed aesthetician, Heyday Noho and Tribeca

Best V-neck black T-shirt

Hanes Mens Luxury Essentials 3-Pack Black Dyed V-Neck Undershirt

“My favorite black T-shirt is Hanes. (Really.) But not just any Hanes — it has to be the Luxury Essentials V-neck, which starts out in the deepest of blacks and as it ages takes on the perfect softness and most beautiful faded black ever. There are three in a pack, so I can never have enough. I actually wear them with suiting, or just casually with jeans. They’re my go-to.” —Wouri Vice, stylist

Best fade-proof black T-shirt

American Apparel Men’s Fine Jersey Short Sleeve Classic V-Neck T-shirt

“I like to put my creative energy into my work and not my clothes. Like many artists I know, we gravitate toward a self-imposed uniform, and the A.A. V-neck black tee works in the studio and looks good at the opening. The best part about the T-shirt is that it gets so much softer with time. It doesn’t shrink. It doesn’t fade. It just feels better and better. My wife, Jenni, makes me throw them out because it’s hard to let go, no matter how many holes and cuts they endure.” — Barnett Cohen, artist

Best tall and skinny black T-shirt

Gap Men’s Essential Short Sleeve Crewneck T-shirt

“My current favorite is a solid black tee from the Gap that retails for about $20. The cotton is super soft and the fit is just right for my body type (tall and lean).” —Andrew Zaeh, photographer

Best tall and skinny V-neck black T-shirt

Gap Men’s Essential V-Neck T-Shirt

“I wear so many black tees that I feel borderline tropical if I so much as branch out into gray palettes. My favorite black T-shirt is the Essential V-Neck by Gap because it’s one of the few I can find in a medium-tall size. I’m six-foot-four with a slender frame. If I buy a large, it’s almost the right length, but I’m swimming around in it like scrubs. If I buy a medium, it fits better in the abdomen, but with the unfortunate side effect of showing off my happy trail to innocent bystanders. The medium-tall Gap V-neck hugs my shoulders and chest and stays slim down past my waistline. It’s versatile, too: works just as well at the gym as at the restaurant.” Hayden Frank, musician and EMT

Best black T-shirt with a thin collar

Sunspel Short Sleeve Crew Neck Tee
Photo: Tony Birckhead/2015 All rights reserved
Sunspel Short Sleeve Crew Neck Tee

“The Sunspel looks good when I wear it on its own or under a sweater, and what really sets it apart is the thinness of the little rib at the neckline. It’s also just got a perfectly well-proportioned sleeve and body length. Note: If you machine-dry rather than hang-dry them, you might want to size up, as they will shrink just a bit.” —Michael Friedberg, marketing, Dummies

Best gym black T-shirt

Uniqlo Men’s Supima Cotton Crewneck Short-Sleeve T-shirt

“They’re the only black T-shirt I wear now that Calvin Klein stopped making it’s cotton stretch 365 line, which was my go-to gym tee. The Uniqlo crewneck is less than $10; they feel soft, comfy, and kind of luxe. The fabric quality and make is so high for something so inexpensive, and they fit extremely well: high arm holes, a trimmer sleeve, and just the right length. They just look clean and sharp, and I actually own them in different sizes, depending on whether I’m wearing one as a base layer or on its own.” —Dan Reilly, analyst, American Express

Best slim-fit black T-shirt

H&M V-neck T-shirt Slim Fit

“After being a loyal consumer of American Apparel’s V-neck tees, I have found my new favorite go-to tee to be H&M’s V-neck slim fit. It feels great on, fits my slim frame, keeps it’s shape all day long (5 percent spandex), and since it’s less than $10, I can replenish them as often as needed without feeling any guilt. I wear one every day either as an undershirt or just on its own.” —Jude Scott, New York City event coordinator

Best not-too-slim black T-shirt

Rag & Bone Base Tee

“Wearing black is an industry standard on film and photo sets — and the Base Tee because it’s something I feel good in on fashion sets or around the Ghetto Gastro guys and all their “Rick Owens drip” when we’re traveling the world. It’s a quality shirt that sits just right on my shoulders, but also tapers through the middle without being form-fitting. I’ll buy a bunch because you can never have too many on any given day.”Jose D. Cota, director and editor, Ghetto Gastro

Best stretchy black T-shirt

Calvin Klein Men’s Cotton Stretch Crew-neck Undershirt 2-Pack

“Lately, I really like the Calvin Klein black crewneck tee in the two-pack. It’s the best, as the cotton wears well, and over time, I think it fades really well. It’s got elastane in it, which you should know, because some people don’t like that clinginess. If you like V-necks, theirs isn’t so deep that you look like J.Lo if you go out, though I prefer crewnecks these days. I also find C.K. a lot more durable than other brands (I’m looking at you, Polo).” — Parker Wertz, vice-president, Merrill Lynch

Best (slightly) graphic black T-shirt

Comme des Garçons PLAY Appliquéd T-shirt

“I’m definitely the textbook T-shirt-and-jeans guy — I’ve pretty much worn this as a uniform for most of my life. This also means I’ve worn a shit-ton of T-shirts. My favorite go-to black tee is the appliquéd tee from Comme des Garçons Play. It’s a perfect black, a perfect fit, and I love the heart insignia because it adds some cool playfulness to my uniform. I particularly love how it’s cut — just long enough to look great untucked or tucked in and slim-fitting without being tight (I’d suggest going down a size for a tighter fit). The sleeves are the perfect kind of short sleeve, that flatters the arms, and has enough length to roll just a bit, or leave down. It’s rare to find a simple black tee that allows for so much versatility.” —Jake Pegler Morgan, senior communications manager, Malin+Goetz

Best “fashion” black T-shirt

Yohji Yamamoto Layered T-shirt

“Two words — quality and versatility. Japanese cotton is the best on earth, and the double layer gives you multiple looks and styles. A great way to turn a basic black into a fashion statement. It’s not cheap, but only gets better with age. Size up though, as Y.Y. is cut for smaller bodies!” —Jeff Rabhan, chairman, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music NYU

Best black T-shirt in pima cotton

Mack Weldon Pima Crewneck T-shirt

“I recently started getting Mack Weldon shirts because I love their underwear. Their focus is on comfort, which is perfect for me because I’m usually running around. The classic pima also has a higher-quality feel than you’ll get in a normal cotton (it comes from Peru) and in black is perfect for almost all situations.” —Will D’Agostino, founder, Nutshell

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What’s the Best Black T-shirt for Men?