How To Wear An Undershirt

Many men do not wear undershirts. Many men do not know any better and destroy their clothes or their image in the process. Show the world you're smarter than they are - read on.

Benefits of undershirts

Protect against sweat damage and odors. (Especially if coated with a substance like Ultra-Fresh.)

Can allow some garments, including sweaters, to be worn more often before they need cleaning.

Can enhance comfort (outer fabric might be wool or something else that is potentially irritating to the skin).

Keep underlying body from showing, which is not classy (male nipples, chest hair), or having its flaws magnified through fabric cling.

Shirt-undershirt Pairings

As a rule, undershirts should be worn beneath button-downs and sweaters. For the comfort-wary, seamless versions exist.

Some pullovers, including tee shirts, are best without undershirts.

Sleeveless 'tank-top' undershirts are not recommended, because they don't guard against sweat-related problems.

Collar Style

V-neck openings vary in size; try to pick ones that are in scale with your shoulder and neck width.

Crewneck might be a bit warmer, is the superior alternative with a crewneck shirt, and is far better for situations in which you're only wearing an undershirt (though you know we frown on that practice).

Fit

The undershirt opening should approximately match the size of the shirt collar it is worn under, so that both visible chest hair and visible undershirt, major no-no's, are minimized.

Undershirts should never peek out at the bottom of shirts. That looks extremely sloppy.

Bad news: undershirt sizes vary, are not standardized, and cannot be tried on in advance. Good news: you can buy just one pack, or you can slightly shrink the undershirts by deliberately over-drying them.

Undershirts meant to be worn underneath dress shirts will be extra long.

Colors

White is usually reliable, if easily stained.

If there's a chance that the undershirt will show, then the color of it should be similar to that of the shirt worn over it. It is not as bad if a tee shirt being worn as an undershirt shows, but the heavier material might make you feel less comfortable.

Be careful about wearing a dark undershirt, because the color can show through an overlying garment.

Fabrics

Cotton is standard, but weights vary somewhat and often have to be guessed.

Silk-weight cotton is excellent for warmer weather, but expensive and delicate.

Cotton/poly is a satisfactory budget item.

Silk is comfortable and usually lightweight, but is hard to care for, and in lighter colors yellows very easily.

Pure polyester is cheaper and can be lightweight, but (like most polyester attire) usually does not feel very good to the touch.

Wool/wool blends and specialty fabrics such as angora are for cooler weather - also are hard to care for and can be replaced by tee shirts in all but coldest weather.

Storage

To avoid wearing the wrong one, store types of undershirts separately, by color, weight and style.

Keep undershirts neatly folded, because you do not want to transmit wrinkles to your outer-layer clothing.

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