The 9 Best Organic Cotton T-Shirts of 2021

Slip into these heavenly organic cotton staples this summer

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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 percent 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:

The Rundown
Each of these t-shirts has prevented 0.65 kilograms of CO2 emissions and stopped 345 grams of chemicals from being leached.
For Days’ airy Daily Crew is a lightweight tee that you can wear tucked in your jeans or carefree with its hem out.
The slub jersey tee is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton.
Casual, conscious, and chic, People Tree’s long-sleeved t-shirt has elevated this essential basic.
This loose, flowy V-neck style from Everlane is affordable and versatile.
This clean essential’s brand sources organic cotton grown by U.S. farmers.
This gender-neutral tee is preshrunk, so you won’t get any surprises after washing.
Simple and stylish, this dreamy white GOTS-certified organic cotton and Fair Trade t-shirt is a wardrobe essential.
Stella McCartney’s eponymous sustainable label is our selection of extravagant yet simple tees that make a statement.

Best Overall: Organic Basics Organic Cotton Tee

Organic Basics Organic Cotton Tee

A soft and breathable classic, Organic Basic’s crewneck made from GOTS-certified organic cotton is our pick for simple, everyday tees. 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 sagginess that plagues tees after just a few washes. Oh, and we love the sensible, solid colors and cheeky sailor stripes.

For Women: For Days Daily Crew

For Days Daily Crew

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

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 percent 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

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.

Holiday Savings

Best Budget: Everlane The Organic Cotton V-Neck

Everlane The Organic Cotton V-Neck

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

Harvest & Mill Women's Organic Crew Tee

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 puts people and purpose ahead of profit. Their 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.

Best White Tee: Pact Textured Slub Pocket Tee

Pact Textured Slub Pocket Tee

Pact’s soft, breathable and textured slub tee with a cute pocket and flattering V-neck is our go-to tee for casual days and sultry nights. Simple and stylish, this dreamy white GOTS-certified organic cotton and Fair Trade t-shirt is a wardrobe essential. With a raw edge finish and a shapely shirttail hem, you can wear it untucked with tights or slacks. There's also a similar tee without the pocket (view on Pact).

Pact gives you an option to offset the emission from the shipping and sends the tee in thoughtful recyclable packaging. We’re enamored.

"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 (view on Pact)." — Margaret Badore, Treehugger Senior Editor

Best Splurge: Stella McCartney 23 OBS T-shirt

Stella McCartney Est. 2001 Tee Shirt

English fashion designer Stella McCartney’s eponymous sustainable label is our selection of extravagant yet simple tees that make a statement. Our pick of conscious tees from her collection pays homage to her Bond Street store in London.

Made in Portugal from GOTS and OCS-certified organic cotton, this tee comes in a loose fit. Crisply tailored pants will complement this eye-wateringly expensive summer fashion splurge, available in black, white, blue, and mint colors.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for tees is Organic Basic’s GOTS-certified organic cotton crewneck tee (view at Organic Basics). Everlane’s loose, flowy V-neck style is stylish and well-priced, and is our choice for affordable tees (view at Everlane).

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is committed to helping you live sustainably. One of the easiest ways to start your green journey is by opting for sustainable brands when it's time to replace everyday wardrobe essentials. We’ve shortlisted the best conscious tees, considering their price tags, styles, and colors while being mindful of their impact. 

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.