It's a new year and we're on to new things, and it seems appropriate to start simply, with the MVP of clothing: the short-sleeve tee shirt. Tees don't get a lot of credit, but they're a day in, day out, staple piece of clothing. When you realize that the same tee that you would hide under a sweater in winter would also look great on its own on a hot summer day, it becomes apparent how invaluable they are. The spectrum of tees is pretty vast, and delving into the many styles would require a lot more than five entries, so today we'll keep it simple with round-neck options (for men and women).

1. Anvil

Anvil tees have been around for a long time, and you probably own one or two that you got for free thanks to a sports league, subscription, or membership from years past. However, if you want to purchase an Anvil tee of your choice, they're so inexpensive they may as well be free. Made in the USA and coming in lots of colors and styles, you can't go wrong with an Anvil.

Women's styles @ The Deal Rack (from $2.12)
Men's styles @ The Deal Rack (from $2.22)

2. American Apparel

American Apparel's CEO and marketing are hugely divisive, but under all that is a great product. At the very least the company makes affordable U.S.-made cotton and organic cotton clothes in a ton of different styles, and you're never far from an American Apparel location these days. I've been wearing them for years and have no complaints.

Men's organic cotton tee @ American Apparel ($18)

3. Alternative Apparel

With tees, as with most clothing, the price goes up as the materials get more special. Alternative Apparel's slightly-higher prices for their eco-friendly garments make sense; you're not only getting a quality product but also promoting sustainable manufacturing practices.

Women's scoop neck @ Alternative Apparel ($30)

4. Jungmaven

Speaking of sustainability, I expect that the market will have more hemp options available in the coming years. The word's getting out about organic cotton being more durable and higher quality, which is good, but hemp is still flying under the radar a bit. Jungmaven's 60/40 hemp/organic cotton products are lightweight and comfortable, and promotion of large-scale hemp farming as a means of combating global climate change is something I can get behind. Jungmaven's goal is to have everyone wearing hemp by 2020 – plenty of time for you to grab a tee.

Men's 60/40 hemp/organic cotton blend tee @ Two Jupiters ($29)
Women's 60/40 hemp/organic cotton blend tee @ Two Jupiters ($29)

5. Sunspel

Tee shirts are one way of appreciating the often subtle and sometimes phenomenal distinctions among fabrics. It's fascinating to notice the difference among light-, mid-, and heavyweight cottons, and different weave types. All that is to say, I was blown away the first time I felt a Sunspel tee shirt. Sunspel is known for its amazing fabrics, and they weave their tees from a superfine Egyptian cotton that is so light you'd be forgiven for forgetting you've got it on. Sunspel prides itself on crafting a luxury product, and that's definitely what you're getting here.

Women's tee @ Sunspel ($72)
Men's tee @ Sunspel ($72)