15 American Brands Making High Quality T-Shirts In The USA
Most days you're wearing a T-shirt - make it count by investing in a quality version made in America.
When you find yourself turning time and time again to a menswear essential, you need to know it can pass muster. That’s especially true for your T-shirt, which is so much more than just a base layer. The right T-shirt these days pairs up with a soft-shouldered blazer as readily as it does a denim jacket, and there’s just something special – in matters of style and durability – about a US-made tee.
Like a handmade leather wallet or a pair of Goodyear-welted shoes, you’ll find that USA-made T-shirts are a cut above the rest, quite literally. That’s because it takes longer to produce a T-shirt in the States when so many other companies are outsourcing their production to Third World countries.
This slower, meticulous approach reflects itself in the materials and processes used, resulting in a final product you can count on day after day, season after season. Think about it: most days you’re wearing a T-shirt – make it count by investing in a quality version made in America. If you want to add one to your wardrobe, keep these handy tips in mind.
What does made in the USA mean?
The term ‘made in the USA’ isn’t a definition thrown around loosely – it means the product should be made “all or virtually all” in the USA.
But it goes beyond that. When it comes to T-shirts, the proper designation means that the materials used (primarily cotton) also need to be sourced from the United States – T-shirts that use fabrics from another country, even if cut and sewn in America, don’t fit the definition. Helpfully, this should be shown on the label (as in, the country of origin and fibre content).
Above all else, keep an eye out for T-shirts that state ‘made in the USA’ on the label – this is very different to a tee that’s ‘assembled in the USA’, for example. Retailers, if managed properly, should follow these regulations rigorously without cutting corners – luckily, the best ones manage to toe the line stylishly and ethically.
Why a USA-made T-shirt is worth the investment
Like anything else in your wardrobe, keeping an eye on where and how your clothes are made is a crucial part of staying informed, in style. In much the same way you research home goods or men’s grooming purchases, going the extra mile to secure a T-shirt made entirely in the USA usually results in a higher-quality product, crafted using better materials, with greater care and a more distinct sense of style.
Combine that with the fact that USA-made T-shirts use ethical production practices while sourcing domestic materials, and the benefits of upgrading your rotation are nearly endless. It will fit better, it will last longer, and it will keep its shape wash after wash. How often can you say that about cheap fast-fashion versions?
The best Made in the USA T-shirt brands
Convinced US made in the way to go? These are the American brands making the highest quality tees in 2023.
Buck Mason envisions a more carefully considered way of life – one cantered around rugged, timeless style embodied by old-school factories and the open road. That means the brand does a standout job producing buttery-soft leather jackets and expertly faded jeans, but its core collection of USA-made tees is a real standout.
The company’s Slub Curved Hem Tee gets all the details right, from the distinctive curved hem to the soft cotton construction (both pima and slub varieties are used). The sub-$40 price tag on most of its USA-made tees is outstanding, as is the range of ultra-cool, pleasingly faded colours you can really make your own.
The idea behind the Forty Five line is simple: create the perfect T-shirt. A true ‘hit single’, so to speak, like a 45 RPM record from days gone by. We’re willing to bet the results are sure to please even the fussiest of men, and the Forty Five Supima Crew T-shirt in particular is a fan favourite.
It’s a good thing you can save money by bundling multiple tees from this in-house brand at Huckberry – they’re so soft and well-fitting, you’ll want to wear one every single day. The USA-grown Supima cotton and dusty colour options are major bonus points.
Save Khaki United
A T-shirt is, on the surface, relatively simple – whether in a short-sleeved or long-sleeved iteration, it’s made to be thrown on and lived in, no matter the season or the time of year. Save Khaki United makes crisp essentials that are subtly stylish, yet command attention on second notice. Its T-shirts are no exception, especially the crew neck Supima cotton designs, which come in a range of bold, classic colours.
Save Khaki calls them “everything a T-shirt should be”, and it’s hard to argue against it, particularly as the brand uses American cotton that’s garment-dyed for a perfectly lived-in feel. Pick up at least one to combine with a pair of Save Khaki chinos.
For a designer as acclaimed as Todd Snyder, it’s impressive that the Iowa native still goes out of his way to produce a line of made in the States T-shirts. Sure, Snyder boasts a growing retail presence coast to coast and an impressive run of collaborations with brands like Timex and Champion, but you should pay close attention to the brand’s buttery-soft Made in L.A. T-shirts, produced in tried-and-true crew neck silhouettes in a wide array of versatile colours.
New shades are introduced every season, and the premium jersey fabric has an interesting texture and drape that wears well on its own or layered underneath an unstructured blazer.
Just as with its USA-made jeans, it’s hard not to be impressed by what American Giant is doing in terms of domestic production across the board. Sure, the company is best-known for its hard-working heavyweight hoodies and work pants, but the right T-shirt is the perfect pairing with both of those casually rugged essentials.
They offer a little something for everyone in the basics department, from classic cotton tees to heavyweight tees made from a sturdy cotton jersey.
Its Slub Crew Tee is made in (arguably) the knitwear mecca of the USA, Los Angeles, and comes in nine colours fit for every taste and style. Helpfully, crew and V-neck options are available, each well-suited to layering with a trucker jacket or rocking on its own through breezy spring and summer days.
Los Angeles Apparel
One of the benefits of making T-shirts and other basics in America? Being able to work closely with factories and producers on an entire line-up of products, not just tees. Los Angeles Apparel focuses on basics and sweats in an astonishing array of colours, each of which can be mixed and matched with the brand’s extensive array of T-shirt styles.
It’s the kind of utility that’s helpful for those who want a one-stop shop when curating a casual wardrobe, and Los Angeles Apparel T-shirts deliver variety in spades, for good measure. T-shirts are made from materials like substantial (yet not overly heavy) 6.5oz garment-dyed or pigment-dyed cotton, with more than 20 colourways available in some styles.
How much are you willing to spend for a high-end T-shirt? It’s a question worth asking and considering carefully, because if you want a domestically produced T-shirt, the answer might be higher than you expect – and yet, we’d argue it’s well worth the investment. Take Todd Shelton T-shirts. Made in New Jersey (just like the brand’s customisable jeans), they’ll run you more than $100, but for good reason.
The company’s T-shirt line-up is straightforward (shop short-sleeved and long-sleeved styles in classic colours like grey and navy), with all-cotton 155-gram fabric and a pre-washing process. The binded neck is a special touch, one that prevents sagging, with a smooth two-yarn finish throughout each tee.
Raleigh Denim Workshop
If you’ve had the chance to try the North Carolina-based brand’s inky blue selvedge denim – crafted with care in the United States, of course – then you’ll likely be a fan of its USA-made stretch pocket tees. The company has a new line of eye-catching tonal graphic tees made in Peru, but for our money’s worth, a T-shirt crafted entirely in America from a super-soft fabric is as classic as it gets.
Take your pick from four timeless colours (each of which pairs nicely with blue jeans), and note the use of both cotton and spandex for comfort and stretch.
Mollusk Surf Shop
You should never underestimate the utility and wearability of a T-shirt in a bold yet classic neutral like navy or heather grey, since the style can be worn with virtually any other colour or silhouette. But when you want your T-shirt game to swerve ever so slightly, the surf is quite literally up with California-based Mollusk.
The easy-going lifestyle brand makes a vibrant line of sun-faded graphic T-shirts and pocket tees in California from materials like organic cotton, often working with artists from the state to design eye-catching artwork. It’s the perfect tee to wear just about anywhere, even miles from the beach.
Can a clothing line embody a sense of adventure and a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality? We certainly think so, and one look at the rugged, hardworking Freenote Cloth line drives home that point rather handsomely. The company is committed to American manufacturing, from its thick and dependable selvedge denim to a well-made collection of T-shirts entirely made in the United States.
From A to Z – starting with the 9oz cotton knit fabric and ending with the production itself – Freenote Cloth crafts pocket tees the old-school way. That means simple details like a custom-made chest pocket, plus a garment-dyed finish. Even the label is produced in the USA.
Experience is more valuable than ever in world where start ups look to disrupt the market on the daily, and Goodwear has nearly four decades of intensely focused domestic production to back up its work. That’s quite the foundation to stand on, and it’s reflected in the use of 100% United States cotton.
It’s also reflected in the fact that one of the label’s most popular styles, a heavyweight T-shirt introduced decades ago, remains one of its bestsellers.
The brand offers classic fit options and vibrant colours, plus other basics (like Henleys and hoodies) to really round out your USA-made wardrobe.
Blade & Blue
In search of variety in your T-shirt rotation? You can shake up your T-shirt drawer ever so slightly with a visually appealing pocket tee, and you can do it while supporting an American-made business, for good measure. Materials like denim and suede are turned into ingenious pockets on Blade & Blue’s T-shirts, which are cut and sewn in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.
For good measure, these tees are made in smaller quantities than at a ‘big box’ retailer, so you might have to sign up for a waitlist based on your preferred style and size. That being said, we’d wager it’s worth the wait to get a properly made tee.
Striking the right balance between organic materials and a luxurious approach can sometimes prove a tricky line to walk, but BGreen manages it. For more than 20 years, the company has focused on a circular approach to fashion, repairing and reusing fibres and unsold materials to develop a line of straightforward, well-made basics.
A focus on less waste, plus organic and recycled fabrics, helps add a new dimension to stylish USA-made T-shirts.
GetTees bills its approach as ‘American essentials built for everlasting comfort’. And though that sounds like a lofty goal, the brand appears to have hit it out of the park with a collection of classic-meets-modern, Detroit-made essentials.
The city was once the famed hub of the auto industry, so it only makes sense that Motor City would prove equally serious about rugged, hardworking USA-made T-shirts.
Supima cotton lends itself nicely to the label’s Classic Crew (“the softest tee you’ll ever wear”), while the Model Tee features a flattering curved hem in a large spectrum of colours.
One crucial component of the best USA-made T-shirts? Since materials and production are more scarce and tougher to come by at times, quantities are often much smaller than those produced by mass retailers. This means you know your T-shirt was made with care, but it can also cause quick sell-outs. It’s just one more reason to pull the trigger when you find a style you like, the way we see it.
In the case of American Trench, you know exactly where your T-shirt was knit, cut and sewn (that would be small, family-owned facilities in Los Angeles), and you also know that you’re getting a T-shirt that few others have at the moment.