You are about to give a presentation to upper management.
You’ve been working hard on it all month.
Fact Checking? Done.
Prepared? YES…well mentally.
Nevertheless, when presentation time rolls around so do the butterflies.
With a little anxiety, nervousness sets and your heart begins to race, elevating your body temperature.
But you push forth and start your presentation.
Just as you’re feeling confident, you raise your arms to hammer home a point and there it is…
After all that mental preparation, your game is thrown off by perspiration.
What else went wrong amidst the deodorants that swear to prevent this from occurring?
You forgot an undershirt.
Let’s be honest. Pit stains suck. They also are confidence drainers. Hello, self-consciousness. Welcome to the party.
An undershirt is one way to solve this problem. But there are so many options.
How do you pick one?… No, how do you pick the perfect one?
What do you look for? How should it fit? Crew neck or V-neck?
This article is meant to serve as a quick guide for what to look for in order to buy the perfect undershirt.
Bringing much value to the table, an undershirt is not a useless layer of clothing. On the contrary, an undershirt has worth both mentally and functionally. Think of an undershirt as underwear for your chest.
An undershirt has the following practical applications:
Protects more expensive garments from body stains. Sweat or stains from oily skin can ruin your expensive clothing and make you self-conscious. It also leads to more frequent trips to the dry cleaners. An undershirt helps provide an extra layer of protection for absorption.
Compresses the body to have a fitted look. For the gent that’s not where he would quite want to be with his fitness, the undershirt will help smooth out the torso for your polo, poplin, or oxford dress shirt. It will help the outer shirt lay flat.
Functions as underwear for the upper half of the body. Similar to the point above, the undershirt will help everything stop moving and allow for more control. It can be very uncomfortable when you’re moving and body parts are flopping all over the place. An undershirt will help control that.
Helps to provide insulation. Undershirts will provide another layer of protection from the elements. They can assist in keeping body heat in and provide and additional barrier from precipitation.
Now I know some may say that an undershirt is any shirt that fits underneath another shirt, and in part you are right.
However, the type of undershirt this article is referencing is not to be confused with a t-shirt and has been created to be distinctly different from a t-shirt.
Properties of an undershirt
- Thinner and lighter in weight – Undershirts must be thinner because they are for layering and would otherwise be uncomfortable with a thicker outer shirt
- Usually black, gray, or white. – This is because these are the basic palates for clothing.
- Very fitted – Undershirts should be very fitted so that there will not wrinkle under your outer shirt and cause unsightly wrinkles and bubbles.
- Longer in length – It is imperative that an undershirt is longer than your outer shirt so that it can be tucked in well and won’t rise up while under your main shirt.
Properties of a T-Shirt
- Meant to be worn as the main shirt.
- Thicker – It’s the main shirt so it has to be sturdier.
- Comes in a variety of colors
Should an undershirt show when wearing a dress shirt?
- The style-conscious man should say no. This is usually because wrinkling and comfort might be an issue. Wearing the right kind of undershirt (v-neck vs. crew neck) is an important factor in wearing undershirts for the stylish gent.
- If all you care about is the function, then it’s your call. If you’re confident in it, then go for it. Just remember, style is more than just function. It’s also how it fits and the quality of the material.
- My humble opinion is NEVER. To me, it creates a crowded neckline that adds a bulky illusion which doesn’t flatter most men. It’s almost like your underwear is showing.
Can you wear an undershirt by itself?
Most classic style teachers will say no.
However, it has since been popularized by the “rebel” or “classic bad boy look”. Think Marlon Brando, James Dean or Grease. Because it became popular, it led to the rise of undershirts as outerwear which eventually led to t-shirts.
- Note: If the undershirt is fitted (As a quality undershirt should be) make sure your body type complements the fitted shirt style
Problems of low-quality undershirts
Now are all undershirts created equal? The quick and fast answer to this is “NO”.
- Not long enough to stay tucked in and can be more problematic when it comes to shrinkage after washing them. Note: poorly made undershirts have A LOT of shrinkages.
- Has a boxy fit which puffs out your dress shirt, producing a poorly fitting outfit. After all, the point of being stylish is to look great. A poorly fitting outfit is literally the polar opposite of that.
- Not made with the right fabric (polyester blends) and irritates the skin. My recommendation is cotton blend or 100% cotton t-shirts. They are the best for breathability and insulation.
- Becomes an expensive nuisance to keep re-buying poor undershirts. It’s best to purchase the correct type the first time around.
What to look for in an undershirt before making your purchasing decisions
- A shirt that is long enough to stay tucked in your waistband. Again, this keeps the streamlined smooth look.
- Comfortable and doesn’t rub or chafe your nipples. Make sure they are quality fabric – 100% cotton.
- Should be incredibly fitted, hugs the body and feels like a second skin.
- Easy and quick to wash. 100% cotton shirts are so simple to clean and need low heat to dry.
- Sells a half size too large so when you wash them they shrink to true size. Shrinkage is unavoidable so you have to account for it.
- Deep v-neck if wearing with dress shirts. This will not crowd the neck and chin which makes you look bulky.
- Crew neck or medium v-neck tee if you prefer to wear alone.
Which undershirt do I suggest?
This post was brought to you in collaboration with RibbedTee. I went on a hunt for the perfect undershirt. I wanted to find the best undershirt that fit every quality I described above, and this was the best one I found on the market.