Plenty of people balk at the idea of investing in a white T-shirt, and we totally get it. Why spend so much on something that’s going to get dingy, anyway? Plus, there are tons of under-$10 options out there! But as we learned, not all of them are worth your time, let alone your money. We’re confident that our pick — Uniqlo’s Supima Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt — is your best bet for a good-looking tee so reasonably priced you won’t think twice about inevitable spills.
We’re big fans of this Japanese retail chain for its well-made, affordable basics, and this tee is no exception. The T-shirt is 100% cotton with a weight that’s heavy without feeling stiff. Sheerness is a matter of taste, but if you’re someone who prefers to keep the color of their bra to themselves, the opacity of this shirt is a major selling point. No bras to be seen here!
Most of the shirts we tried in this price category were either too thin, too starchy, or embarrassingly too big. Each of the Hanes tees we tested — a sized-down ComfortSoft (way too long), Nano T-shirt (basically see-through), Beefy-T (like wearing a box), and Relaxed Fit (passable) — all had their own problems. Our runner-up in this price range, the Amazon Essentials Short-Sleeved Crewneck, is a blend of cotton, modal, and spandex, and had a better fit than most we tried, but the fabric was stretchier than our testers preferred for an everyday tee (it felt more like something we would wear for working out).
Uniqlo offers the rare combination of low price, fit, and quality. But let’s not forget: It’s still under $10. And even though it’s cut from 100% Supima cotton, which makes it stronger and softer than other shirts we tested in this price range, the shirt is not preshrunk, so it will shrink a bit when you wash it. We also found that the seams puckered slightly after a machine dry. Long story short, if you want to keep your tee in its most pristine condition, you should line dry it. That said, none of our testers found shrinkage to be deal-breaking.
We can vouch for the softness of this shirt: Not only did it feel great against our skin, it also felt much more expensive than its price tag would suggest. Naturally silky-smooth, it just had the feel of luxury. The shirt held its shape beautifully after a full day of wear and a couple of washes. Made from a natural fiber, it’s also nice and breathable, a must for anyone who has a tendency to overheat.
As for fit, this shirt has a boxier one. If you’re looking for a clingy, formfitting white tee, this might not be the one for you, but our testers appreciated its drape (it’s perfect for a French tuck). The shirt is structured, but not baggy, with a neckline that lies flat. The sleeves are also a bit roomier than those of our $$ and $$$ winners, which is nice if you prefer a looser fit. Of all the shirts we tried in the budget category, Uniqlo’s was the only tee our testers said they would wear on its own.
Our shorter testers found the shirt’s length to be just right — not too short, but not a ton of excess fabric — though if you’re on the taller side, or long-torsoed, you might be in danger of exposing a bit of your belly when you raise your hands. We found its fit to be pretty true to size, despite not being as stretchy as our other picks, so if you’re between sizes or if you prefer an oversized fit, we would err on the side of sizing up. Of all our picks, this shirt comes in the widest variety of sizes (XXS–XXL) and also a bunch of colors (nine, to be exact). So if you decide to betray — er, branch out from — your white tee, you’ve got options.
We can’t talk about Uniqlo and white tees without mentioning the Women’s U Crew Neck, which is cut from heavyweight cotton and features a chunky ribbed neckline. It’s slightly more expensive and wasn’t plain enough to recommend more widely, but the whole Uniqlo U line is worth a gander. Either way, if you’re seeking a structured, affordable white T-shirt whose looks far exceed its price tag, Uniqlo’s Supima Cotton Crew Neck is a slam dunk. It will last much longer than most tees at this price point, but it’s inexpensive enough that you can wear it while eating those sloppy joes without fear. That, friends, is what we call having it all.