9 Black T-Shirts for Women That Are Anything But Basic

The Target Universal Thread Women’s Short Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt is a simplistic classic

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Black t-shirt
Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Black T-shirts are a wardrobe staple for a reason: Not only are they extremely comfortable, they're also remarkably versatile. For instance, you can pair a black tee with shorts or leggings for the perfect casual outfit, or dress it up with some bold jewelry and linen pants. The possibilities don't stop there — as NYC-based fashion influencer and writer Kelly Peacock puts it: "You can do anything with a black T-shirt."

But when it comes to shopping for this closet essential, the options can easily feel overwhelming. Case in point: Type in "black T-shirt" on google and thousands of results will pop up. That's why we scoured the internet and consulted with fashion experts, like Peacock and Jess Molina, a New Zealand-based fashion influencer, to narrow down the field.

"When choosing a black T-shirt, It all comes down to how the fabric feels against your skin and how well it fits your body," says Molina. We took those two tips into consideration when selecting our overall winner: the Target Universal Thread Women's Short Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt. Not only is it affordable, but its comfortable, relaxed fit looks great on every body type.

Keep reading to find your new closet staple with our list of the best black T-shirts.

Our Picks:

Best Overall: Target Universal Thread Women's Short Sleeve V-Neck T Shirt

Best Black T-Shirts
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What We Love: You can put this T-shirt in the dryer without worrying about it shrinking.

What We Don't Love: Some reviewers complain that the fabric becomes worn after too many trips through the dryer.

This classic black T-shirt offers everything you could want in a closet staple — from comfort and versatility to easy care and an unbeatable price. The relaxed, v-neck fit is simple and casual, but can also be dressed up for any occasion. It's also one of those tops that can easily be worn throughout every season: Tuck it into shorts in the summer, pair it with a cardigan in the fall or wear it with a floral skirt in the spring. Because it's made with 100% cotton, it can be put in the washer and dryer for easy care. The price is unbeatable, too. At just $8 you can pick up multiple pieces, so you always have a clean black t-shirt on hand or even stock up on basics with one of the other 16 color variations.

Fabric: Cotton | Fit: Relaxed fit | Size Range: XS-XXL

Best Value: Hanes Women's Essential T-Shirt

Best Black T-Shirts
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What We Love: The tear-away label can be easily removed without damaging the shirt.

What We Don't Love: It has a tendency to shrink in the dryer.

Hanes may be known for their underwear, but their basics — especially the Women's Essential black T-shirt — are just as noteworthy. The relaxed style of this classic shirt provides a loose fit that compliments your frame without making you look boxy. We love that it actually runs true to size and comes in an impressive range (from small all the way up to 3XL). Be wary about excessive dryer usage, though, because reviews have mentioned that the shirt can shrink. Despite that, the fabric maintains its softness, no matter how many times you put it through the wash.

Fabric: Cotton | Fit: Relaxed fit | Size Range: S-3XL

Best Splurge: Modiste Berkeley Cashmere + Silk Blend Tee

Best Black Tees
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What We Love: This custom blend of cotton, silk, and cashmere makes this shirt feather soft.

What We Don't Love: This T-shirt runs slightly big, so if you want a more fitted look you should size down.

This pillowy-soft tee is a more luxurious version of the classic wardrobe staple thanks to the custom cotton, silk, and cashmere fabric blend, and the rich, inky black color. Unlike other options on this list, this t-shirt has a unisex fit, and the brand suggests sizing down if you prefer a more fitted look. Though it is machine wash-safe, we recommend only cleaning it on the delicate cycle and laying it flat to dry so it keeps its feel and shape.

Fabric: Cotton, silk, cashmere | Fit: Unisex fit | Size Range: XS-XL

Best V-Neck: Old Navy Luxe V-Neck T-Shirt For Women

Best Black T-Shirts
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What We Love: The hi-lo hem makes it easy to pull off a simplistic front-tuck look.

What We Don't Love: Some shoppers say the material is a bit thin.

Comfort is one of the most important things when looking for a black t-shirt, and according to almost 3,000 five-star reviews, this one from Old Navy scores high because it's soft, lightweight and extremely comfortable. Rather than having a straight-across hem it features a curved hem that creates a delicate draped effect, making it great to wear with leggings or tucked into your favorite jeans. There are so many things to love about this shirt, but it nabs Best V-Neck pick because it doesn't cut too low, so those with a larger bust will feel secure while wearing it.

Fabric: Rayon, spandex | Fit: Relaxed fit | Size Range: XS-4X

Best Boxy-Fit: COS Boxy-Fit Heavyweight T-Shirt

Best Black T-Shirts
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What We Love: The boxy cut puts a modern twist on a timeless classic.

What We Don't Love: It doesn't have a very inclusive size range.

Even though a black t-shirt is technically basic, that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Case-in-point: this Boxy-Fit shirt from COS. Tiny details like twin-stitch sleeves and a ribbed neck give the tee a trendy upgrade. There's plenty of ways to style it, too: Pair it with some linen pants or a skirt for an effortless daytime look, or dress it up with leather pants for an evening out. It's important to note that this T-shirt requires more care than others — it should only be machine washed on a cold, gentle cycle then line-dried.

Fabric: Organic cotton | Fit: Slim fit | Size Range: XS-L

Best Plus-Size: Universal Standard Tee Rex

Best Black T-Shirts
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What We Love: This tee comes with several neckline options.

What We Don't Love: It can't be put in the dryer or it will lose its shape.

It's a rare luxury for plus-sized clothes to be customizable, but Universal Standard made it their mission to produce a wrinkle-resistant tee with an extensive size range and neckline and sleeve-length options. Choose between short, long or capped sleeves and a crew- or v-neckline to create a black t-shirt that's uniquely your own. And at $50 to boot, it's a steal for a tailor-made closet staple.

Fabric: Cotton, modal, elastane | Fit: Relaxed fitted | Size Range: 4XS-4XL

Best Crew Neck: J.Crew Factory Girlfriend Crew Neck Tee

Best Black Tees
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What We Love: The shirt is made from sustainable materials

What We Don't Love: The larger sizes tend to sell out.

The Girlfriend Crew Neck Tee is an effortless addition to your closet because of the laidback crew neck style and simple care instructions. The design is bolstered with an additional layer of stitching so you won't experience that obnoxious stretched-out look, and the hem falls slightly below the hip, making it easy to tuck into jeans. Shoppers rave about the material, noting that it holds up really well against the washer and dryer, and many reviewers are so impressed with their original purchase that they end up returning to purchase this tee in an array of colors — there are over a dozen to choose from.

Fabric: Cotton | Fit: Relaxed fit | Size Range: XXS-3X

Best Cropped: Gap Crepe Relaxed Cropped T-Shirt

Best Black T-Shirts
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What We Love: It comes in regular, tall and petite fits so you can find the right crop for your body.

What We Don't Love: The website doesn't clearly state how to care for the shirt.

The struggle with crop tops is finding the perfect crop — one that is not too long and not too short. Luckily, this cropped tee from Gap allows you to select between regular, tall, and petite to find the right fit for your body. The soft crepey texture gives the shirt breezy feel for summer, but still looks great through the seasons, too. In addition to the black color, this top also comes in five other shades — including white and tan — for all your basics needs.

Fabric: Cotton, spandex| Fit: Relaxed, cropped fit | Size Range: XXS-XXL

Best Fitted: Express Fitted Double Layer V-Neck Tee

Best Black T-Shirts
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What We Love: The front of the shirt is made with a double layer of fabric for more durability.

What We Don't Love: Some shoppers report that the back of the shirt feels a bit sheer.

The hallmark of a good fitted t-shirt is when it hugs you in all the right places without making you feel constricted — and that's exactly how this one fits. Made with a double layer of fabric for more comfort, structure, and durability, reviewers appreciate that bra lines remain invisible while wearing it. Plus, because it's fitted it's great for layering.

Fabric: Rayon, spandex | Fit: Fitted | Size Range: XXS-XL

What to Keep In Mind

Silhouette

When choosing your black tee, you'll want to first think about the silhouette. Do you want it to be fitted, loose or somewhere in between? Cortne Bonilla, a Fashion & Beauty Content Editor, tells InStyle that if you gravitate toward a specific silhouette in most of your clothes (like fitted, or cropped for example) it's a good idea to select a t-shirt with a similar fit. Picking a fit that you love really "makes it a true staple," she says.

Material

In addition to the silhouette, you'll want to consider the material. Is it soft enough? Too thin? Too thick? Just right? "It all comes down to how the fabric feels against my skin and how well it fits my body," explains Molina, adding that finding a shirt that feels just as good as it looks is key. Cotton blends are always a tried and true classic, because the material offers a lightweight, breathable experience, while a shirt with spandex might be the right choice if you're looking for a more fitted vibe. It's also important to note that the material you choose will affect how you care for your T-shirt. Certain cotton blends can shrink if they're put in the dryer, so you might need to line-dry your tees in order to preserve the fit.

Your Questions, Answered

How do you keep a black T-shirt from fading?

The one drawback with black T-shirts is that they tend to fade after multiple washes. Bonilla suggests washing your shirt inside-out on a cold, delicate cycle with a laundry booster designed for dark clothing (she likes OxiClean Dark Protect) and then hanging it up to dry. "If you have the luxury, use your favorite local dry cleaner," she adds.

Molina suggests using liquid detergent instead of powder when washing your shirts at home because powder detergents often contain bleach, which can alter the color of your shirt. She also points out that it's important to put your shirts away after washing and drying them regardless of whether they hang in your closet or fold up neatly in your bureau. "Black tees can naturally fade over time but keeping them away from direct sunlight will slow that process down," she explains.

What are some creative ways to style a black T-shirt?

There are endless ways to style a black T-shirt, which is what makes it a wardrobe staple! As Peacock points out, black goes with everything, making it the perfect pairing for any bottom or layered with a dress. She says her current go-to outfit consists of black trousers, a black T-shirt, and sneakers. "If I'm cold, I'll throw on a black blazer and make it a cool monochromatic fit," she adds.

For Molina, black T-shirts are her favorite way to elevate an outfit — and she even has tips for incorporating them into evening-wear. "If you really want to push the boundaries of a T-shirt as formalwear, pair it with a floor length taffeta or tulle skirt and pop on some heels," she says.

Similarly, Bonilla is all about the black T-shirt and skirt combo. "Lately, I've been wearing my black T-shirts with a long-line white cotton maxi skirt with a little sock and loafers," she explains.

Do I need to follow the laundry instructions on a black t-shirt?

It's super-important to pay attention to the laundry label on your T-shirts, because the dryer can cause certain materials to shrink. While it might not be convenient to wait for your shirt to dry, it's better than ruining the garment. As Molina puts it, "Look after your black tee well and it will look after you."

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