You don’t have dress go head-to-toe goth to appreciate a good black T-shirt. Like black jeans and black dresses, the T-shirts are pretty much universally flattering, but since there are a gazillion options to search through, we asked a varied group of stylish women which plain black T-shirts they own and covet. Whether you’re looking for something boxy and cropped, slinky and slightly transparent, or the perfect tee to tuck in to high-waisted jeans, we’ve got you covered.
Best overall black T-shirt
Everlane tees have shown up a lot on the Strategist (for men and women) because for the money they’re an incredibly good deal. Chelsea Scott, a fabricator in Brooklyn, counts it as one of her two faves. “My two favorite plain tees lately are the boxy cut from Everlane and the V-neck from Madewell.” Women — this writer included — love the slightly cropped but still modest cut of the box-cut tee, and Scott — who admits to being a black tee expert — appreciates its lasting quality. “The Everlane is more of a square fit and feels like it’ll last forever.”
Best black V-neck pocket T-shirt
Scott’s second-favorite black T-shirt is this V-neck from Madewell. “Madewell tees are so soft and work perfectly with a simple, toned-down outfit.”
Best affordable black T-shirt
“As someone who wears black pretty exclusively (typical New Yorker, I know), I’m picky when it comes to my black T-shirts,” says writer Mary Anderson. “It needs to breathe (i.e., cotton) so that I’m not sweating bullets when I step off the train, but also to give some shape (i.e., some synthetic materials). The H&M ones last surprisingly long, and for about $15 I can buy three to four at a time and replace them as needed.”
Best slinky black T-shirt
Three separate women we talked to recommended black T-shirts from & Other Stories. Risa Miyamoto, who works as a makeup artist, said, “I like this T-shirt because of the fabric, which is super silky and soft and hugs my body softly without being too tight. I like wearing not-too-tight T-shirts that are very lightweight with a cooler temperature compared to cotton.”
Editor’s Note: This shirt is no longer available, but there are other black & Other Stories shirts here.
Best rolled-sleeve black T-shirt
Designer Chelsea Lee is partial to the cotton tee from & Other Stories. “I love this one because it has the perfect rolled sleeve, which is difficult to achieve. It’s the right amount of relaxed without looking ill-fitting.”
Best 3/4-sleeve black T-shirt
And prop and fashion stylist Lily Hetzler suggests a tee with a slightly longer sleeve for its vintage appeal. “I’m super into this one for the ’60s Euro/French fit.”
Best boxy black T-shirt
Strategist associate editor Katy Schneider is a self-proclaimed T-shirt addict who takes a quality-over-quantity approach to stocking up. One of her favorites is the RE/DONE x Hanes 1950s Boxy Tee: “This is the tee you imagine you could find at a vintage store for $15 dollars, but will not. You’ll never regret owning this.”
Best plus-size black T-shirt
“If you’re plus-size (size 14 and above) like I am,” says Revelist associate editor Nicola Dall’Asen, “Eloquii is a must-know brand for basics. It’s chock-full of simple items with flair such as this black tee, which adds just a touch of professionalism to an item that would normally be considered rather casual. I think that’s mostly due to the on-trend high neckline.”
Best linen black T-shirt
Another V-neck came recommended from Cat Kron, a Los Angeles–based art critic who has a policy of only wearing V-necks tees. “J.Crew’s linen V-neck tee doesn’t cling but falls off your frame effortlessly (as if you were Lauren Hutton). The nubby, linen material makes it feel dressy enough for tailored pants, but it’s ‘machine-wash, air-dry’ dressy, which I love.”
Best oversized black T-shirt
“I love this tee,” says educator Terrill Caplan of her semi-sheer standby. “It is so soft and comfortable. I’ve always liked the oversized-T-shirt look and this is perfect. Over time, mine has even gotten holes, but there’s no thought in my mind of getting rid of it.”
Best black T-shirt for tucking in
“I like my black tees to be longer and looser because the more fabric you have to work with, the more versatile,” says Hayden Lewis, a graduate student in social work at Tulane University. “I think you can do more with black than with white, so I have it in a large to get the most bang out of my buck.” Lewis alternates between wearing this tee as a T-shirt dress and a tied tee. “I like to tie it in a knot in the back to make it fitted and shorter.”
Best thin-collared black T-shirt
High-school history teacher Felicia Kang is devoted to her James Perse tee. “I love this one. Sorta pricey, but I got it discounted. Hangs really well. I wear it with jeans, but you can easily dress it up. Come to think of it, not sure where it is right now. Maybe I lost it in my move.”
Best organic black T-shirt
If you’re looking for the Toms of black T-shirts, this just might be it — and more. “The company plants a tree with every purchase and I like the length of the sleeves,” says Danielle Swift, an artist who works as a project manager for a digital retouching studio.
Best off-the-shoulder black T-shirt
This isn’t your typical T-shirt, but when Dall’Asen isn’t wearing vintage black band tees, she likes to kick up her basics. “I think a solid black. off-the-shoulder shirt is a must for any feminine-dressing person’s wardrobe. It’s so basic that it doesn’t present any severe styling challenges (just tuck it in to whatever and go), but at the same time it adds a little extra romance to an outfit no matter how you wear it.” She also notes that it helps her love her broad shoulders. “I have really broad shoulders, and having items like this that slouch off of them sort of forces me to show off and adore a body part I’ve historically preferred to hide.”
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