Undershirts are essential because
- They provide a barrier between your sweaty, oily, deodorant-riddled skin and your dress shirts.
- Due to this barrier, you may not have to get them cleaned as often, which will prolong their life.
- They make dress shirts, specifically light-colored ones, look much better by not showing your skin and/or nipples through them.
- They add another layer to your outfit for a little extra warmth or moisture wicking – depending on the weather.
How to Wear an Undershirt Under a Dress Shirt
You would think this is simple, right? Me too, but it’s very rare when a client knows how to wear an undershirt properly. A good undershirt is not something anyone should ever notice. If it’s noticeable, you’ve failed.
These are the 2 rules for wearing an undershirt:
- If you’re wearing a collared shirt without a tie, with the top button or two open, you need to wear a v-neck undershirt. Remember, no one should ever see your undershirt – even a bit of the collar.
- If you’re wearing a tie, you have to wear a crew neck undershirt. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see the v under the shirt and it looks like crap.
When should you go without an undershirt?
The only time I’d suggest not wearing an undershirt is if you’re wearing a white collared shirt. If you’re a lighter skinned guy, this is more geared toward you. Because most other undershirts might be seen through. But you can still try wearing a nude or gray undershirt to see if it’s not visible.
This problem isn’t as bad if you’re darker-skinned and wearing a similar-colored undershirt. That said, if you have darker nipples or nipples that tend to stick out a little bit, then an undershirt is required for you no matter what. Just make sure it matches your skin tone relatively closely.
Are Undershirts Supposed to be Tight?
A lot of my clients ask this question and the short answer is:
They shouldn’t be skin tight, but they should absolutely fit close to the body. Ideally, you want an undershirt to fit this way in the body and sleeves so you don’t see wrinkles or creases underneath your shirt. If the sleeves or body is loose, you’ll definitely see the line under the sleeves and wrinkles in the body – no matter the color of shirt you’re wearing over it.
Are Undershirts Supposed to be Thin?
Yes! They should be thin because they’re an underlayer and a thinner shirt will feel better and not add bulk to your frame. You don’t want this to happen regardless of your body type.
Should I have only white undershirts?
Not necessarily. I always have my clients wear undershirts that are closer to their skin tone. So if you’re darker skinned, you can go with a darker gray, brown, or black undershirt. Lighter skinned men should stick with light gray or white. A warning though, if you’re lighter skinned: a light gray undershirt under white or light-colored shirts is ok, but honestly, I’ve tried this a few times it and it tends to make the dress shirt look dingy or kind of faded. It’s not a good look, so I usually say to go without an undershirt in these instances.
Another quick note while we’re talking about white undershirts
I see this often with guys – if I can see exactly where your undershirt starts and ends around your neck or sleeves, (this only happens with light blue and white collared shirts), this means your shirt’s fabric is too thin and/or you need to change the color of your undershirt to match your skin tone better.
The Best White and colored Undershirts
These are the best undershirts that my clients and I love the most. Having tried all the major ones out there, these are my favorites:
Tommy John Second Skin Undershirts
Second Skin Crew and Deep V-Neck undershirts are my favorites. I like these a lot because they fit snugly on all body types and the fabric is super soft and has a little bit of stretch to it, so they won’t leave winkles showing through your shirts. But these niceties don’t come cheaply. Unlike their underwear, though, which I discussed here, they are very durable and will last you a good long while. They also make a nude and black colored undershirts to cover most men out there.
A quick note about their V-necks. Their images aren’t quite accurate and their titles are misleading.
Their “Deep V-Neck” is actually a regular v-neck length, so get that one and don’t waste your time with the regular v-neck, because the regular one is way too high and will absolutely be visible if you wear your collared shirts unbuttoned. I know the pictures look like the v is quite deep, but trust me, in person they’re not that deep.
RibbedTee Tri-Blend Undershirts
RibbedTee makes some of the softest, most comfortable undershirts I’ve tested. My clients said it was like wearing a soft fluffy layer of air. Their gray undershirts are great for lighter skinned guys, too, but they make many colors. You honestly can’t go wrong with any of their undershirts, but my clients were partial to the Tri Blend, Supima cotton and their Evo Tencell ones.
Calvin Klein Undershirts
For a budget-friendly option, I really like Calvin Klein’s Cotton Classic undershirts because the fit is great and the fabric is not too thick or thin, which is a problem with most other undershirts in this price range.
I like them because they also have different fits based on your body type – like slim and regular – which fit my larger or taller clients very well. They also make a similar undershirt to Tommy John called Body Modal, but I say just spend the few extra bucks and get the Tommy Johns instead because they’re just all around better.
I mentioned these in one of my AskAW videos because my clients who wear these LOVE them. If you’re looking to slim down your waist, belly or chest area, these are perfect. I like to say that they are like visual airbrushing tools. They’re not so snug that it feels like you can’t breath, which is important because I think a lot of men assume they’ll be too restrictive, but they’re just a little bit tighter than your average shirt, but they will literally drop you down a waist or shirt size in most cases.
Alright, that’s it. Those are the best undershirts for men – period!