While it is widely accepted that the humble T-shirt is an indispensable wardrobe hero, it must also be acknowledged that not all T-shirts are created equal. One of the key factors that constitutes a great T-shirt is its weight. It's an often overlooked yet important element to consider when buying a new tee, as it can influence the garment's comfort as well as how it should be worn.
Lightweight T-shirts, usually crafted from cotton or lyocell, are best worn in the summer months, or when exercising, while heavyweight T-shirts – our personal preference and the reason you're here – are made from denser fabrics and are suitable year-round (but probably best avoided for strenuous workouts). Mid-weight T-shirts are – you guessed it – smack bang in the middle.
A T-shirt is generally classified as heavyweight if its GSM (grams per square metre) is over 200 (while lightweight T-shirts have a low-GSM fabric under 160 and mid-weight tees are usually between 160 and 200). Not all brands will offer an indication of GSM on their T-shirt labels, but the added detail is often a signifier that the T-shirt is good quality and thought has been put into the garment. The best heavyweight T-shirts are usually made from organic cotton, and are durable and sturdy yet soft and breathable, designed to hold their shape while they allow for ease of movement.
As with all T-shirts, the beauty of the heavyweight tee is its versatility. This unassuming style saviour can be worn in just about any context. An obvious go-to is as a casual everyday staple, teamed with jeans and trainers, but you can just as easily take the heavyweight T-shirt up a notch, by wearing it with a suit and loafers, for a revitalised take on formal tailoring. Thanks to their sturdy nature, heavyweight T-shirts can really hold their own in more sophisticated contexts.
Swedish label CDLP is renowned for its elevated everyday men's essentials that put boring basics to shame. Just take its Heavyweight T-shirt: crafted from a luxurious blend of lyocell and long fibre pima cotton, it offers silk-like softness and superior breathability as well as texture and a natural drape. Its 330 GSM construction ensures it continues to hold its shape wear after wear.
With the philosophy of 'Made to be Re-Made' at its core, Plainandsimple creates T-shirts that are certified organic, ethically made and – crucially – can be sent back at the end of their life to be re-made into new T-shirts. Made from super-soft GOTS certified organic cotton, its Premium Weight T-shirt tee features a clean cut, thick collar and durable stitching.
ASKET has made a name for itself as a reliable go-to for understated, ethically-made essentials. Its Long Sleeve T-Shirt exemplifies the Swedish brand's knack for versatile staples. Crafted from 100% Egyptian cotton, the 200 GSM crewneck style is made to stand the test of time. Wear it with anything from sweatpants to tailored trousers and Derby shoes.
Swedish label A Day's March has all your wardrobe foundations sorted – from T-shirts to trousers. This men's heavyweight T-shirt is made from 250 GSM organic cotton, so it's equal parts soft and sturdy. Choose from an array of versatile neutral hues.
Channel classic French style with ISTO.'s contemporary take on the iconic mariniére top. Made from 320 GSM heavyweight jersey, this breton tee will add a touch of timeless sophistication to any outfit. Wear it with beige chinos, minimalist trainers and a navy blazer for an effortlessly elegant smart casual look.
Unrecorded. specialises in organic cotton staples, like this heavyweight open end single jersey T-shirt. With a more relaxed look than most heavyweight tees, it's the perfect addition to a casual ensemble. The subtle embroidered logo on the chest breaks up the plain base colour.
Longevity was founded as an antidote to fast fashion, with the goal of offering sustainably-made clothing that's crafted from premium fabrics and designed to last. The London-based label's Organic Cotton Classic Tee is just that – classic, timeless and oh-so-versatile. Made in England, it boasts a loose fit and dropped shoulders for a relaxed look.
Team your heavyweight T-shirt with a pair of clean white trainers.
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