After testing a number of wallet-friendly white tees for this review, we feel a discussion about affordable T-shirts must include Uniqlo, both because the Japanese casualwear brand does basics like no other, and because their Supima Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt easily outdid every other budget tee we tested.
So if you were hoping we were gonna recommend a wildly cheap shirt sold in shrink-wrapped multiples, we’re sorry for the unwelcome news. But look, that doesn’t mean we didn’t try! Our testers had a laundry list of gripes with multipack-friendly brands (e.g., your Fruit of the Looms, Jockeys, and Hanes), including — but not limited to — “baggy sleeves,” “too long,” and our favorite: “It looks like I’m wearing a cardboard box made for humans.” These shirts might work great as undershirts, but that’s about as far as we got with them.
Mind you, if we had to recommend a value pack, it’d be Kirkland Signature (that’s right, the Costco brand). Heavyweight, generously oversized, and constructed with a higher-than-normal neckline, this tee is far from perfect. But after a few tumbles in the wash (sizing down is your best bet), the shirt shrank to a respectable fit that testers agreed was “passable.”
When compared to value-pack tees of the world, Uniqlo’s T-shirt is basically high-street fashion. It just looks and feels like a more expensive shirt. It’s formfitting but on the boxier side, with a sleeve length and overall drape that agrees with most body types (of all our picks, Uniqlo comes in the widest variety of sizes). This shirt is for those looking for a no-nonsense tee that actually complements its wearer — all for just under a Hamilton.
Before we go deeper into fit and styling, there’s the matter of fabric. This shirt is cut from 100% long-fibered Supima cotton, which gives it a leg up over any shirt made from regular ol’ cotton. Supima is known for being smooth and luxurious to the touch, and Uniqlo’s tee does not disappoint. The shirt is soft yet resilient, and unlike most of the budget tees we tested, it won’t ever feel like it’s chafing your entire torso.
Out of all of our winning tees, Uniqlo is the lightest in the weight department. Good news: That’s great for hot climes. Not-so-good news: It’ll cling to the curves of your chest and waist. Plus, lighter-weight fabrics have more of a tendency to wrinkle, so it’s best to give this shirt a once-over when pulling it out of the dryer. It’s also worth noting that the shirt is not preshrunk, so it’ll definitely exercise some shrinkage after repeated laundering (we suggest line-drying if you’re happy with the off-the-rack fit).
Still, every tester noted they’d be happy to wear the Uniqlo tee about town on its own, a designation bestowed to only one other budget tee we tested, which coincidentally came from another Japanese brand with a thing for everyday basics: Muji’s organic cotton shirt offers a narrower cut if you’re into a slimmer fit, but because it’s thinner and harder to find, we can’t be confident to recommend it for most people.
Fit, of course, comes down to personal style, but Uniqlo lends just enough leeway to make it your own. The ribbed neckline is tagless and lies flat, while the sleeves set flush on the arms with a with a long sleeve length that the majority of our testers decided to roll up. Either way, you won’t look a child swimming in a hand-me-down shirt — unless you like the oversized look, in which case we recommend sizing up for full effect.
If you’re the type who thinks white T-shirts are impossible to keep clean — so why spend so much money? — Uniqlo’s Supima Cotton Crew Neck will be a revelation. A handsome, high-quality tee that won’t give you anxiety if it racks up a couple of stains? Yep, you’re looking at it. And while we’re partial to the white tee, once you realize how good this shirt is for the price, you’re gonna want to pick it up in every color. Time to make more room in the closet.