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What’s the Best Women’s Black T-shirt?

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers

You don’t have dress go head-to-toe goth to appreciate a good black T-shirt. Like black jeans and black dresses, black T-shirts are pretty much universally flattering and the perfect everyday go-to when you require a cool, unfussy outfit. But that doesn’t mean they’re all made equal, and since there are a gazillion options to search through with all kinds of sizing and sleeve variations, 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. In reporting this story, we heard about a few brands and specific black T-shirts a lot more than others. So this list begins with thr tees that got multiple recommendations then groups the other recommended black T-shirts by style — from V-necked to crew-necked to cropped to boxy.

Best overall women’s black T-shirt

In talking to folks about their favorite black T-shirts, no brand came up more times than Buck Mason. Four people recommend its T-shirts to us, including four Strategist staffers, one of whom (Liza Corsillo) is a writer of this story. “I have loved Buck Mason T-shirts for years now and happily wore the men’s ones, saving them for special occasions so they wouldn’t get worn out,” she says. But after the brand recently launched its womenswear line, she started to wear this style. “It is just as good as the men’s with one exception: It fits my body correctly.” The other writer of this story (Chloe Anello) is a second fan of this T-shirt, which has a regular fit and is made from soft, breathable pima cotton. Another of our writers, Dominique Pariso, is a loyal fan, calling Buck Mason’s tees “awesome.”

Best overall women’s cropped black T-shirt

For those who prefer more of a cropped fit, this style from Buck Mason also got two nods. Aishwarya Iyer, the founder and CEO of olive-oil brand Brightland, describes it as “soft, comfortable, and perfect for hanging at home or wearing out and about in.” Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens adds that the shape is the “ideal combination of boxy and cropped: It doesn’t feel too tight anywhere — especially under the arms — it just hangs in this cool, easy way.” Both like to wear it with high-waisted jeans; Kitchens notes that it “looks especially good with faded black Levi’s.”

Best (less-expensive) women’s black T-shirt

Everlane tees have been recommended to us a lot (by all kinds of people) because they’re a reliably good deal for the money. Taylore Glynn, Allure’s beauty and wellness editor, says the brand’s box-cut tee is her favorite black T-shirt. She says she has “a large bust and smaller ribs, so certain tees can end up looking wonky on me: too loose and the shirt balloons out under my bra cups; too snug and I get that overly tight stretch across the chest.” But this black T-shirt is somehow perfectly proportionate.” Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla agrees. “I’ve always had trouble finding T-shirts because I have a bigger-ish chest and I’m petite,” she says. But Everlane’s box cut “hits my shoulders without the dreaded drooping, and the length just skims the top of my jeans.” She’s surprised at the quality of construction, saying Everlane’s T-shirts “wash so well with no shrinking or saturation loss at all, which is super important when it comes to black tees.” Chelsea Scott, a fabricator in Brooklyn, appreciates that you get something of quality for the price. “It feels like it’ll last forever,” she says. Corsillo, another fan, notes that the slightly cropped style is still modest enough. “It looks great with high-waist pants,” she adds, “and feels kind of vintage.”

Best women’s V-necked black T-shirts

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.”

This V-neck came recommended by Cat Kron, a Los Angeles–based art critic who has a policy of only wearing V-necked tees. “J.Crew’s linen V-neck tee doesn’t cling but falls off your frame effortlessly (as if you were Lauren Hutton),” she says. “The nubby, linen material makes it feel dressy enough for tailored pants, but it’s ‘machine-wash, air-dry’ dressy, which I love.”

Best women’s crew-neck black T-shirts

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

Anello, a T-shirt connoisseur who owns at least 50 of them and counting, recently updated her collection with this classic-looking crew neck from AG Jeans. She describes it as a no-brainer essential, “super-soft with a nice slim fit cut that isn’t too tight.”

“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.”

When not wearing her Buck Mason black T-shirt, Anello likes this one made from recycled materials. “It’s extremely good quality,” she promises, noting that “a lot of performing artists, like Bon Iver and André 3000, use this brand” for their merch. The tees have unisex sizing, so you don’t need to size up to get that worn-in, slouchy look, she adds. Bon Appétit associate print editor Bettina Makalintal likes the heavier weight of this tee but adds that it doesn’t feel stiff. “Even when it’s new, it feels slightly worn in — in a good way,” she says.

Designer Chelsea Lee is partial to this classic crew-neck tee from & Other Stories. “It’s the right amount of relaxed without looking ill fitting,” she says. Made of 100 percent organic cotton, it also comes in white and a very summery lilac (if you want to try it in a color other than black).

High-school history teacher Felicia Kang is devoted to her James Perse tee, which she admits is “sorta pricey, but I got it discounted.” Still, she says it’s worth every penny: “It hangs really well. I wear it with jeans, but you can easily dress it up.” It’s made from a recycled cotton-jersey material that will feel light and breezy from the very first wear.

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.

“I love this tee,” says educator Terrill Caplan of her semi-sheer standby. “It is so soft and comfortable. I’ve always liked the oversize 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.”

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

Dazed executive editorial director Lynette Nylander is pretty convinced minimalist Swedish brand Totême has perfected the T-shirt. This oversize style features a subtly twisted seam on each side but still makes for an effortlessly casual look. “Smart enough to wear out,” she says, “but dressed down enough to reach for everyday.” Nylander says Totême’s black tanks are also immaculately cut.

Best women’s cropped black T-shirts

New York Magazine features 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.”

“I have, like, six,” former Strategist senior editor Casey Lewis says of this cropped tee from Urban Outfitters. Initially, she was drawn to the lower price, but once she put it on, she says, the tee felt anything but cheap. “Very thick and substantial and cut perfectly” is how she describes it, adding, “As someone with a bigger chest, cropped crew necks often make me look boxy and frumpy, but not this one!”

Chef Tara Thomas says her favorite cropped black T-shirt, while pricey, is “made from natural fibers like cotton, which stand the test of time.” Those natural fibers, she adds, are also “easy to clean.” Making it even more worth the investment are the tee’s fit — “it’s thin, so it’s perfect for a hot day and easy to layer” — and versatility. “It goes with everything,” Thomas promises.

Best women’s boxy black T-shirts

Anello admits she bought this T-shirt only to meet the free-shipping minimum at Target. But after wearing it on an 85-degree day, she fell in love and bought two more. “It’s extremely lightweight, so I didn’t sweat while walking my dog in the heat,” she says. And “the length hits perfectly at the top of my bike shorts.” (But because it’s not cropped, just “shrunken,” you’ll still have to do a bit of a tuck into higher-waisted pants, she notes.)

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

L.A.-based photographer and director Dana Boulos used to swear by Entireworld’s cult-status tees for their easy-to-wear shape and sleeves you could push up to give the shirt a different look. The brand is sadly no more, but Boules has happily found a replacement in Los Angeles Apparel’s similarly boxy Boyfriend Tee for when she’s spending long days moving around on set.

Consider this the scoop-necked version of the boxy Everlane tee that took our best (less-expensive) spot. It comes recommended by photographer and content creator Ashleigh Reddy and has a lower neckline that shows more skin across the chest, plus a slightly longer length. Reddy calls it “easy to style and easy to care for” thanks to its 100 percent cotton material, which, she adds, holds up over time.

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What’s the Best Women’s Black T-shirt?