A White T-Shirt Is My Holy Grail of Basics—Here Are the Styles I Wear the Most

Minimalism isn't necessarily a term I'd use to describe my style. However, for all my love of dramatic trends, I can never turn down quality basics. A steady arsenal of reliable wardrobe staples just makes getting dressed that much easier, and once I find ones that I love, I make sure to stock up in multiples. A simple white T-shirt is easily the basic I lean on the most. It's a big part of my daily spring uniform of jeans and a blazer, but of course, it's also handy for layering underneath the multitude of sweater-vests and cardigans I own.

I get so many questions about which white T-shirts rise above the others, and today, I'm laying out the brands and styles that have carved out a permanent place in my closet. While there are so many shapes and necklines to choose from—boxy, formfitting, V-neck, scoop-neck—I'm a fan of all of them and have narrowed down the best brands and styles for each category. Despite my more budget-conscious approach to shopping this season, I'm making an exception for my collection of white T-shirts. Below, all of my holy-grail styles I'm sure you'll love too. 


While any white tee will serve you well, a crew-neck is exceptionally versatile. Whether layered underneath a knit, a denim jacket, or a slip dress for a casual take, you can't go wrong with this silhouette. A couple of my favorites are Hanes Nano tee, which is a no-frills option that's easy on the wallet, and H&M's redesigned collection of basic tees that feel so luxurious it's hard to believe they're less than $10.


Sooner than later, hot temperatures will be our reality, so yep, it's time to break out a trusty white tank top. I love how a plain tank can make a pair of party pants look so effortlessly cool, as seen on Camille Charrière. From trendy high necklines to scoop-necks, below are plenty of options to fit your fancy.


For a fresh spin on the classic white tee, try a cropped length. With the low-rise-pants trend in full swing, pairing them with a midriff-baring tee adds a casual '90s-inspired twist. 


Ideal for displaying layers of necklaces, this neckline helps to create a lengthening effect. Kotn's version features an oversize fit for a modern take, while Madewell's airy V-neck includes the fun addition of a pocket.  


For added drama, consider an oversize white T-shirt. Styled with skinny jeans or slim high-waist trousers, a big billowy shirt creates a cool contrasting silhouette that looks sartorially on point. Cotton Citizen's Tokyo Tee is an editor favorite, while I love to lounge in Entireworld's Big Pocket T during a chill weekend.


This is the ultimate layering piece. I own about five different white long-sleeve tees, and they're easily a star basic. Wear them underneath your favorite sweaters for extra warmth during the winter or under a trendy sweater-vest for a layered look. It's also perfectly chic when worn alone.




Sometimes you want a little spice in your basics, and these white tees are just it. Exaggerated-shoulder T-shirts are a huge trend making the rounds this season, as done by The Frankie Shop and Good American, along with interesting lace-up details like on Helmut Lang's cutout T-shirt.


For a more polished look, try a figure-hugging white tee. If you tend to favor formal separates like pinstripe pants or silky slip skirts, a slim-cut T-shirt feels appropriately elevated and put-together.