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Our quest to find the perfect tee ended with these 7 essential styles

Photography By @nicounderwear, Leif Prenzlau for RIISE, Julian Tell
Published 29.03.22

We promise this isn’t another basic article about basic tees. (Well…maybe it is.)

For all the extravagant garments and fashionable items we could dedicate a whole article to, we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate the humble T-shirt. Why? Because they’re versatile, practical and trans-seasonal. They’re easily styled up or down. Everyone looks good in one. And a handful of good tees can rescue you from just about any situation or creative styling funk.  

While we praise the overachievements of the T-shaped shirt, we don’t necessarily praise every T-shirt that gets made. We’re not about those impossibly cheap, $5 bargain bin shirts (the ones that always fade or lose their shape after a few weeks). This ode is directed at quality garments made from environmentally responsible materials, at a price point that reflects responsible production, but doesn’t completely break the bank.  

If this sounds like criteria you can get around, then keep reading. We’re delivering seven of our favourite, affordable tees to suit, well, everything.  

Lois Hazel Skivvy Rib Tee by Leif Prenzlau for RIISE

Lois Hazel Resort Tee by Leif Prenzlau for RIISE

The out-to-dinner tee  

You’ve spent enough time reading reviews and studying the online menu (or is that just us?) – simplify your dinner plans with an easy wardrobe go-to. Lois Hazel’s Skivvy Rib Tee, made locally in Melbourne and featuring a chic high neck, is our pick for this. It’s made from a GOTS-certified organic cotton and lycra blend, giving it a close fit that’s ideal for layering or tucking. This also gives a bit of extra stretch to accomodate those post-dinner feels (again, just us?).  

The office tee  

Our work wardrobe has changed a lot in the past few years, with some of us just straight-up forgetting how to dress outside of our WFH safe space. But as we head back to the office, we’re bringing the more laxed approach to workwear with us. This calls for a versatile office tee, something you can chuck a blazer over to dress up or casually pair down with sneakers. We love Lois Hazel’s Resort Tee for this. It’s cut from a delicate ribbed organic cotton and eucalyptus jersey (very soft feel) and features a wide neck that perfectly toes the smart casual/work attire line.

NICO Organic Crew Neck Tee by Michael Comninus for RIISE

Arnsdorf Organic Fitted Rib Tee by Michael Comninus for RIISE

The work-from-home tee  

I know we just said we’re heading back to the office, but that doesn’t mean we’ve abandoned the WFH dream altogether. We’re still keeping the seat at our bedroom desk warm for parts of the working week. Most of us have cracked the wardrobe code for this: dressing semi-smart up top for those on-camera calls and keeping things casual down below. For a tee that says “Yes, I’ve just been working from the lounge…but I am still working”, we nominate NICO’s Organic Crew Neck Tee. It features a slim fit and classic crew neckline and is made from plant-dyed certified organic cotton. 

The all-purpose black tee  

Every tee is arguably “all-purpose”. But we strongly feel Arnsdorf’s Organic Fitted Rib Tee will become “the one” in terms of suiting every occasion and outfit. It’s made from 95 per cent organic cotton, with lycra FSC TENCEL filling in the rest and giving it just the right amount of stretch. Adding to that, this is a heavyweight cotton rib knit, which helps the tee hold its shape after washing and adds to its longevity. Seriously, this is one of those garments you’re going to buy and find yourself still reaching for in 10 years.

Cloth & Co.'s The Rib Tee by Leif Prenzlau for RIISE

Cloth & Co.'s The Boyfriend Tee by Leif Prenzlau for RIISE

The workout tee  

When it comes to workout attire, everyone has a different preference. That said, we’re basically all shooting for the same outcome: practicality and comfort. Though it isn’t “just a workout shirt”, Cloth & Co.’s The Rib Tee ticks these boxes nicely. It’s made from 100 per cent organic cotton and features a close fit (so it won’t move around when you’re running or throwing punches). FYI, you can turn this into a set by pairing it with The Rib Short for an extra athleisure (or pure leisure) flex.  

The off-duty, ultimate comfort tee  

The oversized tee is one of our all-time favourites. We love one over leggings or bike shorts, tucked into a nice pair of pants or worn loose for the days when we want to throw all our tight-fitting clothes in the bin. If you’re equally enthusiastic about a relaxed fit, look to Cloth & Co.’s The Boyfriend Tee. Made from soft organic cotton (yes, there is a pattern here), its oversized silhouette allows for both comfort and effortless style. 

Cloth & Co.'s The Vintage Tee by Leif Prenzlau for RIISE

The style-with-a-pair-of-jeans tee  

So you’ve finally found the perfect pair of jeans: the right colour, no gape around the waist and a flattering rear lift. Time to think about what top you’re going to show them off with. In our opinion, you really can’t go wrong with a plain white number, especially a design like Cloth & Co.’s The Vintage Tee. It has a relaxed and boxy oversized fit and is made from premium organic cotton single jersey, so it mimics the soft feel of truly preloved shirts.  

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