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13 Nov

12 Sustainable (Not So) Basic T-Shirts We Love

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Let’s come right out and say it—whether paired with jeans, shorts, or a skirt, a basic t-shirt is the go-to for anyone who just wants to go simple, and never ever go wrong.

However, you may feel like that styling is a little too basic. We’ve all been there.

Even though adding jewellery or a scarf is certainly an option to give a personal touch to this look, that means losing the ease of a tee-and-denim combo. But don’t give up entirely on this classic ensemble: there is a solution, and it’s our list of not-so-basic sustainable t-shirts!

We’ve picked some of our favourite t-shirts with a twist, all from brands that are committed to sustainable environmental policies, workers rights, and respect for animals. Music to our ears, and sustainable t-shirts to your doorstep.

Plant Faced Clothing

Rated: Good
pink delete meat t-shirt by plant faced clothing

Delete Meat Candy Pink T-Shirt – Ships internationally from the US

Is there a better way to add personality to a basic t-shirt than with a slogan? Probably not, especially if that slogan is spreading awareness on the plant-based movement and the tee is ethically made, crafted from 100% organic cotton, and printed with eco-friendly water based inks like the ones by Plant Faced Clothing!

See the rating.

Shop Plant Faced.


Rated: Good
woman wearing white 337 brand tshirt

Circularity T-Shirt – Ships internationally from the US

Looks like the most basic of t-shirts, but hides a secret: 337 BRAND’s Circularity T-Shirt is made circular, with recycled cotton and recycled polyester. A relaxed fit, crew neck t-shirt that’s soft and comfortable with slouchy shoulders. Your new favorite basic (but not too basic!) for now and forever.

See the rating.

Shop 337 BRAND.


Rated: Good
person laughing in t-shirt and close up of artwork by Neococo

Formation Tee – Ships internationally from the US

Going beyond celebrating women, the Formation Tee by NEOCOCO features unique hand embroidered artwork aimed at sparking conversation around its female crafters and inspire hope. With each piece helping to support refugee women by providing community and equitable job opportunities, you can do good while staying cool.

See the rating.


Mother of Pearl

Rated: Good
woman wearing sustainable grey tshirt with pearls from mother of pearl

Mintie Grey Shirt – Ships internationally from the UK

Bling bling. Hands up if you love tiny shiny things! Now, keep your hands up if you’re passionate about sustainable fashion—alright, you’re going to love Mother of Pearl’s Mintie Shirt, a not-so basic tee with shiny little details on the sleeves, designed to be longer than a usual t-shirt and perfect for layering. A true celebration of individuality and authenticity.

See the rating.

Shop Mother of Pearl.

Shop Mother of Pearl @ Rêve en Vert.

Shop Mother of Pearl Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.


Rated: Good
black t-shirt by arnsdorf

Claire Tee Black – Ships internationally from Australia

If crewnecks and v-necks make you feel a little bored, Arnsdorf has got one for you. Inspired by the curved lines of furniture design, this tee brings an artful take on the basic t-shirt. Cut from organic cotton and ethically crafted in Australia, it looks as good with a tailored trouser as it does with jeans.

See the rating.

Shop Arnsdorf.


Rated: Good
someone in Rise t-shirt by WAWWA

Rise T-shirt – Ships internationally from the UK

With a vibrant sky blue water based graphic, ‘Good’ brand WAWWA’s Rise tee features a moving message reflecting how our world is undergoing radical changes due to human-caused climate change. It’s also made of organic cotton and produced locally, in case you needed more reasons to get on board with it!

See the rating.



Rated: Good
man and woman wearing black tshirt with flower logo from afends

Legacy Retro Fit Tee – Ships internationally from Australia


Close up of bottoms by more-responsible brand Afends.

Afends – Site-wide

Shop new wardrobe essentials that are better for you and the planet. Exclusive 20% off with code SUMMER20. (Ends: 25 DEC)

Checkout code: SUMMER20
Shop now

If you’re a woman and have never stolen a tee from your boyfriend, brother, dad, or mate’s closet… you’re probably lying! The so-called (but also, literally speaking) “boyfriend tee” is the perfect piece to wear for an easy look that is not so basic thanks to the boxy design and streetwear feeling. Afends has you covered with its Legacy t-shirt, a unisex garment that makes everybody happy as it can easily move from your boyfriend’s closet to yours. And vice-versa, if he’s lucky.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.

The Classic T-Shirt Company

Rated: Good
dark green ethical t-shirt by the classic t-shirt company

Womens Short Sleeve V Neck – Ships internationally from the US


People in responsibly-made t-shirts and jackets by the Classic T-Shirt Company.

The Classic T-shirt Company – Site-wide (US)

Shop more sustainable basics, t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, joggers, and capris and enjoy free shipping with guaranteed delivery before Christmas Eve. Free shipping with code CHRISTMAS. (Available in the US only) (Ends: 14 DEC)

Checkout code: CHRISTMAS
Shop now
digital gift card reading: luxury, quality, integrity, from the Classic T-shirt Company.

The Classic T-shirt Company – Digital Gift Card

With luxury basics made locally in the US, from organic cotton essentials to gorgeous French Terry, gift your loved ones the chance to pick their favourites. 15% off for gift card purchase, with automatic discount at checkout. (Ends: 25 DEC)

Shop now

When thinking about basic t-shirts, most people’s minds go to crew neck tees. The Classic T-Shirt Company offers a range of crewnecks for both men and women, all crafted from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton—but if you like to give your look a twist (without really daring too much), go for a v-neck in plain green instead. A not so basic t-shirt that suits every body shape.

See the rating.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company @ Urbankissed.

The R Collective

Rated: Great
woman wearing sustainable navy tshirt by the r collective

ORDO TEE – Ships internationally from Hong Kong

The Ordo Tee by The R-Collective showcases their zero waste design principle perfectly. The relaxed silhouette and raglan sleeve make it an absolute go-to for a casual put-together look. This 100% upcycled cotton tee is the living proof that rescued excess materials can turn into gorgeous pieces!

See the rating.

Shop The R Collective.

Shop The R Collective @ ourCommonplace.


Rated: Good
woman wearing light pink v neck t-shirt by kowtow

Rose V Neck Tee – Ships internationally from New Zealand

A short sleeve tee made from lightweight organic cotton jersey with a relaxed fit and a low, scooped neckline for those days when you feel like showing a little more skin. Kowtow is the go-to sustainable brand for elegant, timeless womenswear—the perfect place if you’re looking for a not so basic sustainable t-shirt like this one.

See the rating.

Shop Kowtow.


Rated: Great
woman wearing basic white t-shirt by mila vert

Short-Sleeved Top – Ships internationally from Slovenia

Mila.Vert offers timeless, minimal, and chic clothing, adding sophisticated details that give the garments a modern feel. The Slovenia-based brand wants to make desirable clothing, avoiding the ethical and environmental issues that the fashion industry represents. For those who love clean, minimalistic esthetics but still want to look different: this casually elegant basic t-shirt has got short sleeves that are not-so-short, and is ethically crafted from premium 100% organic cotton jersey in the EU.

See the rating.

Shop Mila.Vert.


Rated: Good
woman wearing white and yellow tshirt from raeburn

Air Brake Cuff Tee White – Ships internationally from the UK

RÆBURN definitely puts its unique signature on basic t-shirts, and your outfit can benefit from that. Add a line of highlighter to the sleeves: this tee’s sleeve cuffs have been bordered with off-cuts from Air Brake’s parachutes—making it a not so basic t-shirt, as well as zero waste and just damn cool.

See the rating.

Shop RÆBURN @ Farfetch.

Editor's note

Feature image via Arnsdorf, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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