The Best Men's Black & White T-Shirts
I think it almost might be easier to narrow down the best men's T-shirts overall than it is to dive into the murky waters of the best men's black and white t-shirts. As simple as a plain black T-shirt or a plain white T-shirt sounds, these tees are some of the most complex and polarizing articles of clothing to design and construct.
V-neck or crew neck? Roomy or slim fit? Super soft or sweat-wicking? How to prevent the black ones from fading? How to prevent the white ones from yellowing?
I don't have all the answers, but I do have a few suggestions of good places to start. Here are my picks for the best men's black and white T-shirts.
J. Crew Garment-Dyed Slub Cotton T-Shirts
Garment-dyed slub cotton? Uh, sounds like T-shirts they'd sell on Planet Nal Hutta, sized especially for the species of the slug persuasion. In J. Crew reality, the terms refers to the T-shirts' "rich, perfectly imperfect color that will softly fade over time."
In other words, better not buy a black garment-dyed slub cotton tee and a white Garment-dyed slub cotton and then throw them in the wash together.
Nomenclature aside, the J. Crew T-shirts are supersoft on the skin, with a classic front pocket and casual ribbed cuff encircling their crew neck. They come in both black and white, as well as a host of other colors if you're feeling Roy G. Biv about your T-shirt purchase.
ONNO Men's Bamboo T-Shirt
For dudes who think T-shirts should be comfortable and sustainable. From their home in Boulder, CO, ONNO makes eco-friendly bamboo (70%) and organic cotton (30%) black and white tees.
The bamboo component gives the shirts some extra appeal, not only for environmental reasons, but because the textile makes them thinner, lighter, softer, and faster drying than 100% cotton versions (though not faster drying than some other cotton blends). ONNO loyalists also report these tees feel cooler during hot weather wear.
If you like the way your ONNO fits out of the box, the company recommends washing it in cold water and line drying. For some shrinkage, wash and dry hot.
Woolly Clothing Men's Merino Crew Neck T-Shirt
The touch, the feel of...merino wool on bare skin?! Yep. 100% merino wool construction, not synthetic filler, is Wooly Clothing's claim to T-shirt fame. Their black "Everyday Weight" crew neck uses the fabric to help wick sweat and block odors, even after days of washless wear. The tee has an athletic fit for bulk-free layering, and is a good choice for dudes on the move.
Additional benefits of merino wool are its lightweight and wrinkle-resistant nature. It's also flame-retardant, and so safe for stripping down to 'round the campfire.
Marine Layer Signature White Pocket Tee
Marine Layer tees on the pricey side if you tend to slop taco drippings and spurt condiments on your shirts, but for eating on your best behavior, say on a first date or at a funeral (uh, casual funeral?) they are my top picks.
Marine Layer T-shirts start out soft and cozy and then, through some sort of wizardry, seemingly learn your body type and get even softer and more perfectly fitting through wash and wear. I've had T-shirts that have thinned out and softened with repeated washings, but after hitting their sweet spot, they go down the other side and pop a hole a few weeks later. My Marine Layer T-shirt just keeps getting better.
Calvin Klein Cotton Classics Crew Neck T-Shirt
When I'm thinkin' 'bout my Calvins it don't matter if you're black or white. Some of these other shirts tout themselves as layering tees, but for everyday ease and value (3-pack for $30!) Calvin Klein is king.
Mack Weldon Men's Pima Crew
Mack Weldon specializes in men's basics. From underwear to socks to sweats to polos, the clothier seeks to make your closet staples less of a pain in the ass to buy. You can start with a simple T-shirt and see how your Mack craving escalates from there.
These crew necks are made of 100% Pima cotton. Some say it's the softest cotton in the land. T-shirt cut and fit are designed for wear on the outside, either on its own, or even under a blazer. The shirts have an enzyme wash to create a smooth finish. They come in about a dozen colors in addition to black and white.