Best Winter T-shirts: All about characteristics and style

SANVT Journal

If you’re one of those people who already does wear t-shirts in the winter, take a bow: your discerning choice of the humble Tee in the coldest of seasons shows style and sagacity. And if you’re just needing more guidance on the whole idea then here’s SANVT´s view on winter T-shirts and how they can make sense in the cold season:

What makes a great winter T-shirt?

When considering what kind of Tees can work in the winter, or in colder temperatures, there are two key aspects to look at. The fabric that the Tee is made from is one – and the style of the tee is another. If you’d like to just cut to the chase, then here’s a quick summary. Skip over this if you’re looking for the detail.

Characteristics of a great winter T-shirt:

  • Made from thick material, for warmth, but at the same time breathable
  • Made from a natural fabric, like cotton 
  • Strong and durable, more so than a summer Tee
  • Higher fabric GSM (grams per square metre) is better
  • Darker and autumnal colours work style-wise and are more classic
  • However, winter Tees are often worn in layers so you can mix it up a bit.

Heavyweight T-Shirt (235 GSM jersey fabric) from SANVT

Best Fabrics for winter T-shirts:

In winter, you don’t need something lightweight that would be more suitable in summer. Instead, what you should be aiming for is a Tee that is made from a thick and warming fabric. 

A technicality to pay attention to here is the ‘GSM’. This acronym means ‘grams per square metre’ but in everyday speak it just means how thick (and thus warming) the T-shirt is. In summer you should be aiming at 150-190 GSM and in winter over 190 GSM is recommended. As well as being more warming, higher GSM T-shirts are generally also more durable and will last longer. Another bonus!

While warmth is important, it’s also recommended to select a natural fabric (as opposed to a synthetic fabric or blend like Polyester). This will make the Tee more breathable and ward-off sweatiness – especially if you’re going to be wearing the tee as part of a layered outfit or ensconced in a cosy space indoors.

Cotton is a great choice that’s warming, breathable and kind to the skin. It also looks classic and timeless. But there are other options too, like Merino Wool and hemp.

Best Styles for winter T-shirts:

Fresh, light, zingy and even pastel colours are suitable in the Summer. But darker colours are known to work better in the winter. That doesn’t have to mean demure and conservative, though: rich Autumnal shades like deep gold and crimsons can blend in brilliantly.

The question of colour is also, to some extent, about science and heat absorption. Darker colours are known to be warmer, and lighter colours fresher. For more on this – see our other post on the best T-shirt colours for the heat. The reverse rings true in the cold.

The Longsleeve T-Shirt (235 GSM fabric) from the SANVT collection.

That said, in winter you’ll often be wearing a Tee as part of a layered outfit. And in that case what you’re wearing needs to complement the rest of the outfit. So while darker colours might be more classic (and potentially warmer too), any colour can actually work well in the context of the rest of the clothes you’re wearing. If you had a dark fisherman’s beanie on, for example, then your white T-shirt could offset it quite nicely indeed.

Extending the classical concept of the Tee a little, you could also go for a long-sleeve T-shirt, which, of course, protects the arms better. Lastly, high collars can also work but look somewhat more formal.


Go for a heavier T-shirt, in a natural fabric. And pay attention to the GSM. These are the important points. When it comes to style the guidance it’s a little looser than with fabrics, especially when considering the Tee as part of an outfit. Darker colours are more classic but lighter colours can work well within winter layers. What you like is important too!

Introducing…the winter T-shirt from SANVT:

SANVT’s Unisex Heavyweight T-shirt is one of the finest winter and cold-weather T-shirts on the market. Here’s why:

  • Made from organic cotton
  • Extra-heavy 235GSM fabric (our perfect t-shirt is 185 GSM)
  • Extra-strong neckline
  • Long-sleeve option for perfect layering
  • Sustainable production in the EU

Oh, and if you think T-shirts just make more sense in the summer: You can take a look at our separate guide on the best summer T-shirts.