The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable and Organic Men's Shirts - Good On You
sustainable organic men's shirts
21 Sep
sustainable organic men's shirts

The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable and Organic Men’s Shirts

Great style starts with a great shirt. Initially born as an undergarment worn only by men, the shirt has become a staple that has transformed into many variations adorned by just about everyone! We’ve researched the best sustainable and organic men’s shirts for this ultimate guide, but first, let’s learn about this universally popular wardrobe staple.

Fun fact: the world’s oldest preserved shirt was found in an Egyptian tomb dating back to 3000BC and was made out of linen!

These days, the modern shirt is made out of a variety of fabrics and increasingly we’re seeing them made out of synthetic fibres. This is not only bad for the environment, but is harmful to the consumer and those working to create them through production techniques and chemical treatments.

It’s time to take a lesson from the past and come full circle by embracing quality over quantity with the classic shirt, and investing in organic natural fabrics or recycled materials to make the best purchase we can as conscious consumers.

The fabric breakdown

Shirts are now made from both natural fibres and man-made fibres (or a combination) that are either synthetic or petroleum based. Some synthetic fibres that shirts are made from include polyester, rayon, and viscose. Polyester mixed with cotton (poly-cotton) is often used, as well. These fabrics are bad news for people and the planet, so what’s the alternative?

A more sustainable option is to purchase shirts made from organic cotton or materials like hemp and linen, which require little to no pesticides in the growing process. These materials are also better for your body because they allow your skin to breathe naturally, unlike clothing made from synthetic fabrics like polyester, which can lead to skin irritation. They are also far gentler on the environment when it comes to the end of their life!

Companies are also embracing the circular economy more and more, and are looking at ways to recycle existing fabrics to create their pieces. You can look for recycled garments with the Global Recycle Standard certification to make an informed decision.

So if you’re in need of a new shirt, where do you start? Well, your local charity shop should be your first stop, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for among the racks of preloved goodies, we’ve made it easy for you. We have listed our top picks from our favourite menswear lines with a variety of shirts for every occasion that will always have your back (literally!).

The Oxford shirt

The Oxford is an essential piece in any wardrobe bridging the gap between smart and casual. It’s mostly made from cotton and has an oxford weave, giving it a more durable texture that can be worn on those cooler days. It’s softer than a stiff dress shirt, and more formal than a flannel, so works as a great addition to dress down an occasion look or to dress up those weekend casual vibes.

Try looking for a shirt that is 100% organic GOTS certified, or better yet, made from recycled or upcycled cotton. We’ve listed some of our favourite brands below that not only do good by the environment but also don’t sacrifice on style!

Filippa K

Rated: Good
man wearing blue oxford shirt by filippa k

Tim Oxford Shirt  – Ships internationally from Sweden

Filippa K designs smart men’s shirts in a range of classic styles, colours, and fits to get you through the work week, evenings, and weekends. A staple in any wardrobe, these shirts are made from comfortable materials like 100% cotton, tencel, and flannel. Filippa K is certified as ‘good’ by the Fair Wear Foundation and bases the way it operates on a circular fashion framework.

See the rating.

Shop Filippa K.

Arthur & Henry

Rated: Good
white fairtrade shirt by Arthur and Henry

Men’s FairTrade Organic Oxford Shirt  – Ships internationally from the UK

Need a shirt for work, the pub, and play? Look no further than Arthur & Henry. These organic cotton shirts are inspired by the founder’s grandfather and great grandfather (you guessed it: Henry and Arthur!) based on the belief that good shirts are good for the environment, good for the people who’ve contributed to making them, and of course, good by design!

The label sources its organic cotton from the Chetna Organic group in Telangana, India, and ensures its suppliers follow the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code. Not only that, it produces a Fairtrade Organic certified shirt and transports its shirts from the tailors in India to distribution in the UK by using compostable biodegradable polybags.

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Shop Arthur & Henry.

Amour Vert

Rated: Good
black sustainable shirt by Amour Vert

Tact & Stone Century Oxford Shirt – Ships to Australia, US, Canada, Europe, and the UK from the US

This San Francisco based label promotes zero waste and acts on it through using a proportion of recycled fabrics to create pieces—including its shirts! Try its classic tailored, Tact & Stone Oxford shirts made in Portugal from upcycled cotton and recycled polyester!

See the rating.

Shop Amour Vert.

Linen shirt

A linen shirt is perfect for those warm summer days where you need something light, airy, and breathable to wear to stay both comfy and confident (and avoid those embarrassing sweat patches!).

Swap out your Oxford for a linen shirt and pair it with jeans or chinos, or roll up the sleeves and grab some shorts for that casual vibe. You can be brave with a linen and experiment with different colours, although a white or pale blue never goes out of style.

When shopping for a linen shirt, try and look for one that is 100% pure linen rather than opting for that polyester or mixed blend shirt. Not only will your body thank you on those warm summer days, but you’ll also know you’re doing your small bit by supporting brands doing good for the planet!

CARPASUS

Rated: Good

White Linen Shirt – Ships internationally from Switzerland

It’s hard to track down ethically made men’s shirts but CARPASUS has you covered. This Swiss brand works with partners to produce high-quality tailored men’s shirts from raw organic materials including linen and cotton.

Shirt fabrics are sourced from renowned weaving mills based in Portugal and Austria, and pieces are woven and manufactured in Europe under fair working conditions.

See the rating.

Shop CARPASUS.

ASKET

Rated: Good
man wearing beige linen shirt by asket

The Linen Shirt – Ships internationally from Switzerland

Asket has your shirt aspirations covered across all seasons and occasions including overshirts, oxfords, linen, and denim. This label is on a mission to slow down the fashion industry and change the way clothing is produced and consumed. In 2018, it undertook the impressive journey to trace its garments’ creation so both the label—and you the consumer—can make an informed decision about the clothes you want to invest in, and as a result, the businesses you want to support.

Asket’s ‘pursuit of less’ mandate encourages consumers to reduce their impact and provides a permanent single collection that disregards the seasons to allow you to build a wardrobe that is timeless and made to last forever.

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Shop Asket.

TWOTHIRDS

Rated: Good
ethical long sleeve mens shirt by twothirds

Onekotan Blue Stripes – Ships to Europe and the US from Spain

TWOTHIRDS was founded in Northern Spain. The founder, a passionate surfer, wanted to create clothing that was ocean-friendly and didn’t discount on style. All of its pieces are designed in Spain and mostly produced next door in Portugal by family owned factories. It manufactures all its products locally to reduce its carbon footprint, as well as audits all of its final stage production.

This label has a beautiful range of shirts made in a variety of classic styles and colours inspired by earthy and ocean inspired hues. So why not give it a go and support our oceans along the way!

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Shop TWOTHIRDS.

ISTO

Rated: Good

Men’s Linen Shirt Dark Green – Ships to Europe from Portugal

ISTO’s mandate is simple: create clothes to transcend the seasons and work as staple items in your wardrobe all year round. It has one single collection and pursues quality over quantity to try and make its items permanently available. It uses organic and natural materials, and is incredibly transparent in showing you the true cost of your clothes when you go to purchase a piece for your wardrobe.

The brand has a great range of linen shirts (and others!) made from 100% premium linen and custom bio resin buttons, perfect for an everyday or business casual look!

See the rating.

Shop ISTO.

Classic short sleeve shirt

The short sleeve shirt has come a long way, once a style crime, it has now transformed into a staple item for your summer wardrobe! From tropical prints and geometric patterns to bowling stripes or simple block colours, the options are endless.

Tasi Travels

Rated: Good

Short-Sleeve Voyager Shirt – Ships internationally from Australia

For travelwear designed for adventures, look no further than Australian brand Tasi Travels. Boasting a stunning collection of handmade garments in eco-friendly materials that are made-to-order, you can feel good out in the world knowing you are leaving a light footprint behind.

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Shop Tasi Travels.

Studio 189

Rated: Good
man wearing printed sustainable shirt by studio 189

Navy Green Leaf Hand-Batik Cotton Andy Button Down Shirt – Ships internationally from the US

Studio One Eighty Nine is a social enterprise that provides a platform to help curate and promote the vibrancy of African Fashion. The brand manufactures its pieces and has a store in Accra (Ghana) plus an e-commerce store to go along with it.

The social enterprise focuses on creating jobs, supporting education and skills training for the local artisan communities that use traditional craftsmanship techniques including kente weaving, hand-batik, and natural plant based dye indigo to create items.

We love Studio 189’s bold and fun colour palette used to make its shirts. So why not add a splash of colour to your wardrobe and support artisan communities and crafts along the way!

See the rating.

Shop Studio 189.

Kotn

Rated: Good
man wearing striped ethical shirt by Kotn

Shortsleeve button up – Ships internationally from Canada

Think that Egyptian cotton is too luxurious to afford? Think again. Kotn is paving the way to make quality, simple pieces out of this beautiful natural fabric that doesn’t hurt your pocket. Egypt’s ‘white gold’ is grown only in the Nile Delta and is finer, more breathable, and softer than any other cotton in the world. Unfortunately since 2001, the demand for this natural fibre has seen a drop in demand by 95% due to cheaper alternatives and has had a flow on effect to cotton farming communities in Egypt struggling to financially survive.

That’s where Kotn has stepped in to help rebuild the industry. It purchases cotton directly from farmers at set prices and sends the fabric to the factory based outside of Alexandria where it employs locals to protect their craft.

This certified B Corp also works with local NGOs on the ground at the Nile Delta to provide every child in their farming communities with quality education, and to help close the gap of low literacy rates amongst communities. With every purchase, not only will you adorn a beautifully made shirt, but also help fund school infrastructure, materials, and salaries for teachers.

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Shop Kotn.

Organic Basics

Rated: Great
man wearing beige ethical shirt by organic basics

Oxford Short-Sleeved Shirt – Ships internationally from Denmark

Organic Basics offers high quality sustainable fashion basics in organic materials. The Denmark-based brand puts sustainable thinking at the center of everything. Its short sleeve shirts are made from GOTS certified organic cotton, are ethically made, and PETA vegan approved. You simply can’t go wrong with this brand!

See the rating.

Shop Organic Basics.

ROZENBROEK

Rated: Great
man wearing red short sleeve sustainable shirt by rozenbroek

Organic Short Sleeve Shirt in Burgundy – Ships internationally from the UK

ROZENBROEK is an ethical menswear brand (now extended to womens, too!) that is designed for style and durability. It embraces the circular fashion framework with garments made to order, offering a repair and recycle service, and reducing its impact on the environment through using organic materials and hand making clothing in its very own solar powered factory!

This label certainly ticks a lot of sustainable fashions boxes: just make sure you order your items in advance!

See the rating.

Shop ROZENBROEK.

Overshirt

An overshirt is a perfect piece to help you through those transitional seasons when it’s  too warm for a jacket, yet too cold for a tee. It’s a great versatile piece that can act as a light jacket in the warmer weather, or useful if you want to go for a layered look.

We’ve found some pieces for you to help you get through the seasons that not only look great, but will feel great on your conscience, too!

Finisterre

Rated: Good
sustainable mens shirt by Finisterre

Wanson Overshirt – Ships internationally from the UK

Finisterre designs functional and sustainable products for those that share a love of the sea. Whether taking a weekend trip into the outdoors, or going out on the weekend to see your mates, this structured 100% organic cotton fleece lined shirt can be worn as a light jacket to get you through those cooler days.

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Shop Finisterre.

Kuyichi

Rated: Great
dark blue denim shirt by kuyichi

Andrew Overshirt – Ships internationally from The Netherlands

Established in 2001, Kuyichi is the first organic denim brand. With ‘Great’ labour and environmental ratings, the brand designs ethical and durable, yet trendy and modern pieces that never go out of style. This timeless overshirt ticks the denim box as well, and is the perfect in-between piece. It’s also made from 99% recycled material, which we love!

See the rating.

Shop Kuyichi.

Patagonia

Rated: Good
brown sustainable overshirt patagonia

Patagonia Men’s Farrier’s Work Shirt – Ships internationally from the US

Do we even need to introduce sustainable and ethical fashion industry leader Patagonia? All of the brand’s cotton is certified organic by GOTS and it is Bluesign certified on more than half of its fabrics! This shirt is made from sturdy yet comfortable blended fabric including hemp, recycled polyester, and organic cotton. It’s Fair Trade Certified™ sewn, and is the perfect item to get you through those days when you’re in the outdoors but don’t want to sacrifice on style!

See the rating.

Shop Patagonia.

Polo-shirt

The power of the polo shirt is in its versatility. You can wear it to work, a party, or even—well—polo! What used to represent elite fashion, polo shirts are now a staple in any wardrobe.

Since a polo shirt is a knit item, the material it’s made of will impact how long it will last and how much it will stretch, so make sure you invest in a quality sustainable fabric like 100% organic cotton so you don’t compromise on the quality of your polo.

Armedangels

Rated: Great
man wearing dustry green polo shirt by armedangels

Poloshirt made from organic cotton – Ships internationally from Denmark

Armedangels has been producing sustainable organic cotton apparel for over 13 years and is at the top of its game in sustainable fashion.

 

It has you covered for all your men’s shirts needs, ranging from polos to be donned on a hot summer’s day, to Oxford styles for those special occasions, to overshirts for that casual weekend feel.

The brand uses eco-friendly materials, like organic cotton, recycled plastic, and tencel, and uses renewable energy in its direct operations to reduce its climate impact. It is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation and is Fairtrade certified.

See the rating.

Shop Armedangels.

Outerknown

Rated: Good
pink sustainable polo shirt by Outerknown

Nomadic Polo – Ships internationally from the US

Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a sustainable Bluesign certified menswear brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. We love the Nomadic polo made from hemp and organic cotton that comes in a range of flattering colours!

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Shop Outerknown.

Indigenous

Rated: Good
man wearing blue sustainable polo shirt by Indigenous

Men’s Slub Polo – Ships to US and Canada from the U

After a trip to Peru, Indigenous label’s founders were inspired to create clothing based on the principles of Peruvian hand making techniques. As a result, it uses a supply chain that prioritises makers and minimises environmental impact. When you wear Indigenous you’re supporting local artisans with zero interest loans, free skills training, access to clean water, and lots more!

Its classic polo shirt is made in Peru from 100% organic Pima cotton and non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes.

See the rating.

Shop Indigenous.

Denim Shirt

Denim production can have serious social and environmental consequences. However, that is not the way it has to be. The best way to reduce the footprint of your denim purchase is to look for jeans made from certified organic cotton or buy second hand!

A denim shirt is the perfect piece to pull together a casual look with a tee and some chinos, and to add some texture to your wardrobe. Check out some of our current faves below!

KnowledgeCotton Apparel

Rated: Good
dark blue denim shirt by knowledge cotton apparel

LARCH casual fit tencel shirt  – Ships internationally from Denmark

Knowledge Cotton Apparel believes in sustainable menswear that makes a difference.

It has a great range of shirts you’ll love, including oxford, flannel, corduroy, and linen, just to name a few! Its denim shirt is made from a combination of tencel and organic cotton, and is designed for a classic fit.

Its suppliers are certified by the SA8000 Code of Conduct. It classifies the fibres it uses against its sustainable performance measured by the Made-By Environmental Benchmark, and is also a member of the BCSI, ensuring fair labour conditions.

See the rating.

Shop KnowledgeCotton Apparel.

STANLEY/STELLA

Rated: Good
man wearing dark blue denim shirt by stanley stella

The Men’s Denim Shirt  – Ships to Europe from Belgium

STANLEY/STELLA celebrates simplicity in its pieces by focussing on comfort, quality, and durability. It uses 100% organic cotton and mainly recycled polyester to support the circular economy and reduce waste. This woven denim shirt is an indigo yarn dyed product made from 100% organic ring-spun combed cotton, giving it that extra soft feel.

See the rating.

Shop STANLEY/STELLA.

T-shirt

Last but certainly not least, everyone needs the classic, humble t-shirt in their wardrobe. An item worn through all seasons and for a variety of occasions, a good quality t-shirt will serve you well throughout the years. While that $10 t-shirt may be appealing for the price tag, it comes at the cost of exploitation and environmentally-damaging practices. Invest in a tee for quality over its price tag and you’ll get a lot more out if it for cost per wear!

The Classic T-Shirt Company

Rated: Great
black the classic t-shirt company t-shirt

Men’s Short Sleeve Crew Neck – Ships internationally from the US

The Classic T-Shirt Company creates premium t-shirts for men in short and long sleeves, v-necks, and crew necks. All of its products are GOTS certified organic cotton and it does not use any animal products. It has a transparent product line, from sourcing organic cotton right through to manufacturing, making it a leader in the field of sustainable t-shirts!

See the rating.

Shop The Classic T-Shirt Company.

Plant Faced

Rated: Good
man wearing black vegan long sleeve t-shirt by plant faced

Plant Life Long Sleeve– Ships internationally from the UK

Everyone needs a long sleeve tee for those cooler days and ethical streetwear brand Place Faced Clothing has you covered. This 100% plant-based, ethical, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free streetwear apparel brand creates high-quality, long-lasting products. Rock this tee knowing you are doing no harm to our planet, people, and animals!

See the rating.

Shop Plant Faced.

Etiko

Rated: Great
man wearing blue long sleeve t-shirt by etiko

Unisex Navy Long Sleeve Organic Fairtrade Tee – Ships internationally from Australia

Need a transitional t-shirt to get you through from summer to winter or vice versa? Etiko has you covered with its long sleeve t-shirts that are cosy and good for your conscience. All of Etiko’s t-shirts and polos are certified fair trade and organic. The simple and easy to match pieces will be a great addition to any wardrobe for those transitional seasons!

See the rating.

Shop Etiko.

Brothers We Stand

Rated: Great
man wearing sustainable back t-shirt by brothers we stand

Premium Weight Organic T-Shirt – Ships internationally from UK

Brothers We Stand is your go to shop for ethical menswear. It’s a retailer that pulls together some of the best ethical brands for men including MUD JeansElvis and Kresse, and EcoAlf. It also has its own range of organic cotton t-shirts (made in a wind-powered factory) and sweatshirts formed from recycled plastic bottles.

Check out the classic t-shirts made from organic cotton with a twin needle stitch, making it more durable to last all year round!

See the rating.

Shop Brothers We Stand.

Editor's note

Feature image via Armedangels, 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 the Directory to search more than 2,500 brands. To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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