The 8 Best Organic Cotton T-Shirts of 2022

Pact is our top choice for certified organic and Fair Trade t-shirts.

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Treehugger / Chloe Jeong

The basic t-shirt is a wardrobe essential, but as comfy as regular cotton tees are, they may also come at a tremendous cost. Conventional cotton is among the dirtiest crops on the planet. It requires heavy usage of pesticides and fertilizers. What’s more, it demands a huge amount of water. To grow the cotton needed for a single t-shirt, it requires a staggering 2,700 liters of water, the quantity a person drinks in 2.5 years.

For this round-up, we’ve shortlisted the best staples across all price tags, sizes, and colors to brighten your mood while being mindful of their impact on the Earth and communities. All of the cotton tees on this list have globally recognized organic certifications, particularly the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which ensures that t-shirts contain a minimum of 70% organic fiber and are manufactured responsibly. So, go ahead, spend the summer in one of these eco-friendly, ethically made, and snuggle-worthy shirts.

Here are the best organic cotton t-shirts:

Best Overall: Pact Softspun V-Neck Tee

5
Pact Softspun V-Neck Tee

Pact

Pact’s soft, breathable 100% organic cotton tee with a flattering V-neck is our go-to tee for casual days and sultry nights. Simple and stylish, this GOTS-certified organic cotton and Fair Trade manufacturing makes this tee our overall top pick. It looks good tucked or untucked, and is a great value.

Compared with conventional cotton, according to Pact this tee requires 8.3 fewer gallons of water to produce. Pact gives you an option to offset the emission from the shipping and sends the tee in thoughtful recyclable packaging.

"Pact is my go-to for any basics that can't be easily thrifted. The tees are soft, yet have held up well after years of washes. My husband also really likes Pact's undershirts." ~ Margaret Badore, Treehugger Associate Editorial Director

Best Budget: Everlane The Organic Cotton V-Neck

Everlane The Organic Cotton V-Neck

Everlane

This loose, flowy V-neck style from Everlane is affordable and versatile. Committed to transparency, Everlane reveals the true cost of manufacturing, along with the company's mark-up. Made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, this lightweight t-shirt doesn’t cling to your torso on sweaty days.

Apart from basic black and white, you can scoop it up in lovely but limited shades such as heathered oat and heather white, though some of lighter colors are slightly sheer. The length is comfortable, and the flattering neck doesn’t hang too low, making it great to dress up or dress down. Wear it with confidence, and no one will guess how inexpensive it is.

Best Splurge: Organic Basics Organic Cotton Tee

4.8
Organic Basics Organic Cotton Tee

Organic Basics

A soft and breathable classic, Organic Basic’s crewneck made from GOTS-certified organic cotton is a simple, everyday tee that's worth splurging on. Committed to transparency, every Organic Basics’ product has an Impact Index, showing you the sustainability of your purchase.

Each of these t-shirts has prevented 0.65 kilograms of CO2 emissions, stopped 345 grams of chemicals from being leached into the environment, and blocked 25 grams of waste being generated—as compared to a conventionally made shirt. This mid-weight cotton tee doesn’t wrinkle easily, staving off the sagging that plagues tees after just a few washes. Choose from eight different solid colors or three classic sailor stripe options.

For Women: For Days Organic Cotton Daily Crew Tee in White

4.3
For Days Organic Cotton Daily Crew Tee in White

For Days

Perfect for a warm afternoon, For Days’ airy Daily Crew is a lightweight tee that you can wear tucked in your jeans or carefree with its hem out. The tee is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton. The dyes to create the fabulous shades are certified by Cradle to Cradle, implying that they are safe and sustainable.

What’s more, despite its lightness, it isn’t sheer. When washed, the pre-shrunk tee might shrink a tad more and the neck trim will become a little twisty, adding to a much-loved lived-in look.

With For Days’s nifty swap program, you can send in any of its old clothes for recycling in exchange for credits. The company also has a Take Back program where you can send in ratty togs from any brand to be sorted for recycling or resale, also in return for store dough.

Best for Men: Thought Fairtrade Organic Cotton Short Sleeve Tee

Thought Fairtrade Organic Cotton Short Sleeve Tee

Thought

Taking a considered approach to design, sourcing, and production, UK-based Thought’s stylish short-sleeve tee is a great sustainable option for men, although many of the brands on this list offer tees for all genders. The slub jersey tee is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton. The slub jersey, a subtly lumpy and irregular fabric, adds to the tee’s textured raw appeal. It is stitched in a Fair Trade certified factory in India, which ensures better prices, fair terms, and good working conditions.

The tees are packed in 100% biodegradable bags and are shipped via sea freight for a lower carbon footprint than air. Available in navy, pink, and white, the only downside of this super soft and stretchy tee is that it needs to be hand washed.

Best Long Sleeve: People Tree Fallon Long Sleeve Top

People Tree Fallon Long Sleeve Top

People Tree

Casual, conscious, and chic, the UK-based People Tree’s long-sleeved t-shirt has elevated this essential basic. The t-shirt is made in India from 95 percent GOTS-certified organic Fair Trade cotton blended with elastane to make it stretchy. The cotton is also Soil Association certified organic and is PETA-approved vegan.

Since 1991, People Tree has been committed to the cause of sustainable fashion that is socially conscious. The company is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, which is involved in uplifting marginalized producers. Available in khaki, eco-white, and black, this fitted tee is perfect for when the weather turns cool.

Best Made in the USA: Harvest & Mill Women's Organic Crew Tee

Harvest & Mill Women's Organic Crew Tee

Harvest & Mill

If you’re concerned about the carbon emissions your humble t-shirt is belching, as well as ethical and social issues surrounding outsourcing the supply chain, look no further than Harvest Mill. This clean essentials brand sources organic cotton grown by U.S. farmers, works with heritage mills, and gets clothes stitched by communities from across the United States.

Our pick is the carbon-neutral creamy colored crew neck tee, which comes wrapped in tissue paper and packaged in kraft paper, both of which can be composted in your backyard or recycled with paper. The tee’s impact is meticulously detailed through Green Story. A representative from Harvest & Mill told Treehugger that all of the cotton comes from farms that are certified organic by the USDA and GOTS.

It is made from cotton farmed on 9.1 square feet of pesticide-free land, saving 84.2 days of drinking water, and 3.7 miles of driving carbon emissions, while avoiding 0.3 pounds of chemical dyes. Wearing it feels like floating in a clean cotton cloud.

Best Unisex: The Good Tee The Favorite Fairtrade Organic Unisex Tee

The Good Tee The Favorite Fairtrade Organic Unisex Tee

The Good Tee

The Good Tee puts people and purpose ahead of profit. Its Fair Trade, eco-dyed unisex organic cotton t-shirt is designed in Canada and made in India. It is stitched in Tamil Nadu, using long-staple yarn spun from GOTS-certified organic cotton grown by farmers in Gujarat.

This snappy gender-neutral tee is preshrunk, so you won’t get any surprises after washing it. It’s been pre-washed with eco-friendly enzymes to make it super soft and snuggly. The company recommends that men buy one size up for the best fit.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for tees is Pact's Fair Trade and GOTS-certified softspun cotton tee. Everlane’s loose, flow-y V-neck style is stylish and well-priced, and is our choice for affordable tees.

Why Trust Treehugger?

To make this list, we researched the market and dug deep into materials and certifications. We've only included t-shirts made from cotton that's been certified organic by a third party organization. We also considered other ethical manufacturing practices, as well as the price and overall value of the garment to make our selections.

Neeti Mehra is a luxury industry veteran whose sense of personal style favors comfy cottons and handmade textiles. Living in a hot tropical country, her go-to fabric is mindfully grown and ethically woven cotton which is breathable, lightweight, and soft.

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