Finding nice children’s clothing can be tricky, especially when it comes to well-worn staples like kids’ T-shirts. You want a kids’ tee that’s functional, meaning it’ll keep its shape and color after countless spills and stains and cycles in the washing machine. But you also want it to be cute, something that expresses your child’s personality and doesn’t take itself too seriously. So to find the best T-shirts for kids that strike that balance between fashion with function, we surveyed nine stylish parents about their picks, ranging from toddlers to 10-year-olds. Below, 15 of their kid-tested and parent-approved picks.
“I fantasized about dressing my daughter in chic French labels, but, alas, it’s only cotton graphic tees from Target and H&M,” admits Candice Pool Neistat, founder of Finn Jewelry and Billy. “And any ruffles are out. Le sigh. It’s all she’ll wear, and I’m okay with that (now). I don’t feel bad if she gets paint on them, or if I wash and dry them a hundred times.”
For another price-conscious option, Shirin von Wulffen, co-founder of Bastide, loves Zara. “They have just enough color and fun for kids to love and just enough style to appeal to moms too. Also the cuts, cotton, and lengths are great.”
Zara’s design-free kids’ tees are also sub-$20, with a similarly louche feel and surprisingly handsome detailing, like the buttons on this Henley.
Another Strat-approved brand for low-price but high-quality tees (that’s been cited in our roundups of the best black T-shirts for men, white T-shirts as reviewed by our editors, even celebrities’ favorite T-shirts) is Uniqlo, and their kids’ shirts maintain that standard, too.
Stylist Djuna Bel has a few kids’ tees on repeat all summer. “Bonton is just hands down always a good choice for kids’ basics,” or basics with a twist, like this striped T-shirt.
A less-pricey, yet still-handsome, alternative for the striped Bonton shirts are these from Gap Kids.
For something with a bit more of a bohemian feel, “Raquel Allegra’s kids’ tees have a generous neckline, so they’re super fuss-free. Plus, they’re supersoft, breathable cotton,” Bel explains.
“I have a 5-year-old (and a 4-year-old), and I love Ice Cream Castles because they are kid-friendly themes in cool graphic designs,” says Ashley Merrill, founder and CEO of Lunya.
For Elizabeth Antonia, creative director of Early Riser Companion and owner of Yeah! Rentals, and her kids, the title of best kids’ T-shirts ends in a tie. “My favorite kids’ T-shirts season after season are from Bobo Choses and Nico Nico Kids. They are supersoft and usually organic, which is a big plus for me. My girls always reach for them. The Nico Nico Lucky Eye Tee is our favorite this season. I also love this Bobo Choses Sun tee.”
Whitney Port, creative director and influencer, loves the brand Riley and Cru for her son. “The fabrics are super-comfy and the cuts just fits Sonny so perfectly. Plus, I can mix and match this with so much — and this specific tee even has a sun on it, perfect for my little Sonny.”
“Our latest go-to brand for kids’ tees is Buho,” says Jacqueline Tatelman, co-founder of STATE Bags. “We’re not into shirts with sayings on them, so this brand really gets the way we style our kids while still being playful. The solids have more edge than a typical basic; they’re slouchy and unrefined with small details like an itty-bitty pocket and a raw edge, and the novelty is also subtle like a small line drawing of giant cat on top of a pile of pillows.” And, according to Tatelman, the laid-back feel is now beloved by the whole family.
“For a major splurge,” Blythe Harris, chief creative officer of Stella & Dot, recommends Trico Field. “I have bought my son some of these tees and they have been handed down to multiple other kids and worn with love. It’s an amazing quality, Japanese brand.” Jennifer Fisher, jeweler and founder of Jennifer Fisher Jewelry, also swore by these T-shirts for her kids when they were younger. “They are the best quality and they last forever. They are a little pricey, but worth it because they are unisex. They are amazing. They work for everyone. I even buy them and wear them. Plus,” Fisher adds, “they make good pants for moms.”
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