With summer in full swing, I’ve been in search of the perfect slouchy but not too sloppy t-shirt. I wanted something comfortable, classic and of course, socially conscious.
I haven’t purchased a plain, comfy t-shirt in years, so it might be about time to refresh my game.
I gathered up a few of my favorite responsible options for soft, stylish t-shirts that make perfect closet staples and know you’ll find at least one or two you will love too.
Shirt – American Giant | Jeans – Vince (via Salvation Army) | Shoes – Bucketfeet
Here are 5 great ethical t-shirt brands:
If you want something super soft, this is it. They have a Chicago location we’ve visited a few times, and signs everywhere encourage customers to touch everything (to see just how soft it is). M loves stopping in here to check out their wares.
This company is all things basic, but basic done well. I recently bought M a handful of new undershirts (he wanted a complete overhaul). I got their super soft, fair trade, organic cotton crew shirts. They’re great (and they really are super soft.) They sell primarily basic t-shirts, socks and underwear, and some simple tank tops.
I also grabbed a new tank top for myself, which I happen to be wearing as I write this post. I like the tank, but it’s not quite as nice as the undershirts for M. I ordered a size small, my usual size, and it’s definitely small. I tend to like my tops a bit longer, so I think I’ll try a different brand next time for tank tops.
As a bonus, each shipment comes with an offer for a free pair of socks. I haven’t received mine in the mail yet, but I’m pumped for them. They really do focus on mastering the true basics of our wardrobe (the undergarments, especially) and I think that’s where they do their best work. So I expect the socks will rock my socks off.
American classic style at its best, just as the name implies. They’ve mastered, seriously mastered, all things t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants.
I already own the Classic Full Zip Hoodie (sweatshirt) and the Essential Cropped Jogger (sweatpants) from American Giant that I absolutely love. After a lot of wavering between brands, I ultimately decided to buy my new summer t-shirt from American Giant and purchased the Premium V-Neck T (shown below). I might add another t-shirt to my closet later this summer. I’ve been a huge fan of gray recently, so that’s high in the running. For now, though, it’s just one piece at a time.
Regarding fit and feel, this shirt is seriously great. It has a heavy, high-quality feel to it while still being lightweight and cool. You can easily tell it’s well-constructed. It also is a bit longer than most t-shirts. I appreciate that it tucks and drapes nicely (and prevents any low-class entertainment a low-rise pant might offer in the back).
I wrote an entire ode to the company that you can check out for more details. (P.S. First time customers get 15% off their purchase with this referral link.)
Known for their minimalist style, they do a great job with t-shirts. The fit of their pieces tends to be a bit looser and more “fashion forward” than a typical t-shirt, so pay attention to their sizing instructions.
I own two shirts from Everlane, both in linen, including the tank in this outfit and in this outfit. While I like the shirts, they both are a bit boxy (as to be expected with a minimalist style theme). I also have a love/hate relationship with linen because it’s nearly impossible to keep wrinkle-free (but that’s neither here nor there with respect to cotton t-shirts).
For my body type, I have to be careful how I wear these tops to prevent from making me look frumpy. You’ll get great quality, but just be sure you review the fit and style of the shirt to know it works for your body type.
To help you nail the fit and style, Leah, from Style Wise, has shared detailed reviews on ten of their shirts. If you’re interested, stop over and check out her recent reviews of new Everlane t-shirts as well as her initial post where she shared details about some of the more basic Everlane tees. She provided some good suggestions as well as some honest critiques on pieces that didn’t necessarily make the grade.
Probably the most affordable of the options, they offer an array of very casual pieces. They seem to cater to a slightly younger crowd than some of the other options, particularly Everlane. They have lots of light-weight pieces that are perfect for summer.
I own a black and white striped tank that’s crazy soft and perfectly fitting. This blue sundress I wore to Sea World during a visit to San Diego last summer and these joggers I wore on the plane are also Thread For Thought pieces.
My Favorite Ethical T-Shirt Brand?
If I have to choose a favorite, I’ve got to go with American Giant. All three pieces I’ve owned from the company have been stellar home runs in terms of fit, style and fair price for the quality.
It doesn’t hurt that I attended a Chicago Ideas Week talk where Bayard Winthrop, American Giant’s founder, spoke, that I’ve read Winthrop’s book, or that they produce the Greatest Hoodie Ever Made. But I promise, those are not swaying my vote. Classic American style just fits my tastes and body type to a T (no pun intended… well, maybe.)
Do you have another ethical brand you love for your t-shirt staples? I’d love to hear in the comments!