Basics: The Best High Street T-Shirts

The basic t-shirt is something we try to update in our wardrobe at least once a year. These items see more wear and tear than almost anything else. But, finding the best t-shirts can be a a struggle. And, as a wise fashionista once told us, it’s not necessary to spend a lot to find a great t-shirt.

We look for shirts that are 100% cotton. While we don’t put our t-shirts in the dryer, they should be able to withstand regular washing without losing their shape or fading dramatically. Some of the best tees will even soften and improve over time.

Here are our favourites from the high street.

Arket has an excellent basic t-shirt, in both long and short sleeve, that doesn’t change shape each season. Not too wide, not too slim, fits well under blazers and jumpers, excellent worn alone, and even the white isn’t too see-through. Black, white and grey and also a selection of seasonal colours. A general warning — the basic colours sell out regularly, but do restock.

Crew Neck T-Shirt, £15 from Arket

Arms are flatteringly slim, Long Sleeved T-Shirt, £17 at Arket

Cos is another go-to for clean lines. The current season has a choice of three fits in their basic t-shirt — regular, slim, or oversized.  Like Arket, these shirts are all pleasingly opaque and made of good quality, 100% cotton.

Regular Fit T-Shirt, £15 at Cos

Slim Fit T-Shirt, £25 at Cos 

Oversized Fit T-Shirt, £25 at Cos

If you are looking for a v-neck rather than a crew neck, Cos also has these in stock. The neckline is just right — not too deep or shallow.

V-Neck T-Shirt, £15 at Cos

Uniqlo is another destination for great basics and t-shirts are no exception. While the cotton is a little thinner, pricing is compelling for the quality and there is a wide selection of colours.

100% Supima Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt, £10 at Uniqlo

100% Supima Cotton V-Neck T-Shirt, £10 at Uniqlo


The airy feel that comes with a linen t-shirt is lovely, particularly for summer. Finding a high-street version that is not too sheer can be difficult, but Jigsaw does have a few cuts and colours in stock this season offering good quality at a reasonable price.

Linen Kimono Sleeve Top in Navy, £60 at Jigsaw

Linen Scoop Neck Tee in white, £55 at Jigsaw

Cos is also doing linen this season. These are not quite as substantial as the Jigsaw version, but much more compelling price-wise.

Linen T-Shirt, £19 at Cos 

There is always a place for stripes in our wardrobes, and we are forever keeping an eye out for a good basic stripe as well.

Slim-fit Striped T-Shirt, £25 at Cos

Crew-Neck Striped T-Shirt, £15 at Arket

Boxy Breton Stripe Top, £35 at Cos


If you are looking for something a little different, Mango offers a number of t-shirts with a twist.

Buttoned-ribbed t-shirt, £18 at Mango

Frills cotton t-shirt, £10 at Mango

Organic cotton t-shirt with dropped shoulders, £13 at Mango

Basics: The Best High Street T-Shirts
— Elizabeth Eaton
19th May 2021

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