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!
For a long time, men have viewed underwear as an afterthought. They were made of white cotton, reached up to your armpits, looked like you had a perpetual load in your pants and were bought in a 50 pack that’d last well into the next decade (or five, if you’re like my grandfather).
Other than shoes, underwear will impact your overall comfort more than any other garment. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing on the outside, if you’ve got ill-fitting, bunching underwear, you’ll be annoyed and uncomfortable.
There’s a reason rough, uncomfortable clothing has been used for thousands of years as a form of torture.
The 2 Rules of Underwear Every Man Should Live By
Before we get into details, whether you go with my recommendations at the bottom of this page or not, these are the 2 rules for you should adhere to:
- Color is very important.
Just like I mentioned in my 10 Style Mistakes Ebook regarding socks, you should never wear (or own!) white underwear. It’s gross looking, stains easily and reminds everyone of their father or grandfathers – and not in a good way. So stick with the dark, solid colors like black, brown, blue or charcoal gray and you’ll be fine.
- Avoid logos as much as possible.
With some brands, including the ones I think you should own at the bottom of this story, it’s almost unavoidable, but please, please refrain from the ridiculous tommy logos and other crap like that. It’s just trashy.
Why You Should Only Wear Boxer Briefs
Underwear is an item of clothing that, if it’s doing it’s job correctly, shouldn’t be noticed. If you’re thinking about your underwear, even a second after you’ve put them on, that’s a problem.
There’s 5 major types of mens underwear
- Boxer Briefs
- (Technically, there’s thongs too, but… no)
Underwear should not do the following
- Bunch or dig into your leg or crotch.
- Cause any chafing.
- Create visible panty lines (VPL’s) – this is a problem for men, too!
- Turn your undercarriage into a cheese factory.
- Remind someone of their meth-cooking father or grandfather.
In my experience, there’s only one type of underwear that has the least amount of the problems listed above: boxer briefs.
This is why I only recommend the best boxer briefs to all my clients. They’re the holy grail of underwear for the following reasons:
- Most comfortable fit
- Great breathability
- Keep your plums secure
- Flattering on any body type which is important because you want a woman to still think you look sexy when you’re just in your underwear
- Won’t show through clothing and/or create VPL’s.
The Best Boxer Briefs
Here’s the brands I recommend to all my clients, based on their needs and preferences and what I’d consider the most comfortable underwear for men.
Ex-Officio Give N Go Boxer Briefs
There’s two different pairs from Ex-Officio that I recommend. The Give N Go’s are the ones my clients love the most. I’ve never seen them get so enthusiastic about a brand, but they really do love these.
- Super comfortable, soft fabric.
- Moisture wicking, breathable, synthetic blend material.
- Generous, almost drop-crotch fit.
- Very little stretching after extended use.
- Extremely durable – I’ve seen them last over a year of regular wear with very little breakdown in quality or fit.
- They don’t bunch.
- I like the smaller waistband a lot, since it won’t be sticking out the top of your pants as much as some other brands.
- They definitely look “sporty”, especially with the logo on the waistband.
- If you prefer natural fibers, these are synthetic.
- If you really like your plums held tightly in place, like with briefs, these will feel a little loose in that area. They feel more like boxers since the crotch is cut lower.
- Some clients don’t like the odd angled stitching along the butt, they say it feels a little weird. But others say they prefer it.
- The pocket access is through the side, which is the norm, but there’s another brand that I think does this better, which I’ll get into shortly.
Ex-Officio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 6 or 9 Inch Boxer Briefs
These are similar to Give and Go’s, but my clients that didn’t like the regular ones, preferred these because:
- The material is softer and silkier, but some of them also noted that this silkyness led to some bunching around the upper thigh as the day wore on. The best way to mitigate this is by getting the 6 or 9 inch versions depending on how tall you are.
- The pouch/pocket in the front is smaller and tighter. These are their sport version. So if you really like your plums kept snug, these are better for you.
- The downside is the loud colors and contrasting stitching. I personally think it’s a bit much, but my clients loved the fit and material so much that I’m willing to make an exception here because I want you to be as comfortable as possible. Just make sure to get the black ones with the red stitching – the other colors are way too loud.
Tommy John Second Skin Boxer Brief
- Super soft material – the softest of the bunch, by far.
- A top-loading pocket design that’s easier to use at the urinal.
- Very breathable.
- Comfortable waistband.
- Snug applebag fit.
- They’re pretty damn pricey – $30+ a pair.
- They don’t retain their shape very well after extended wear, which can lead to a little bunching in the legs. To avoid this, I’ve had clients go down a size, but after a little bit, they’ll stretch out perfectly.
- Not as durable. You’ll definitely have to replenish your stock more often than with Ex-Officio. These usually last about 8 -10 months with clients before they start wearing thin in areas.
- They are made of thinner material, which is kind of sheer, which adds to the less-than-durable point I just mentioned.
H&M Cotton Stretch Boxer Briefs
I’m sure some of you are looking at the prices of my recommendations above and think I’m crazy. If caring about your genital comfort is a crime, then arrest me now!
My, let’s just say… “budget-conscious” clients prefer these over the other brands for the following reasons:
- They’re cheap – $18 for a 3 pack.
- Decent cotton fabric – not the best, but not the worst, either.
- Doesn’t bunch as much.
- No branding/logos- which is a big plus.
- Did I mention they’re cheap?
- Not as soft as other brands.
- Not as durable and have a tendency to fade quicker than other brands.
These just barely didn’t make the cut, but I wanted to include them as well. For their price, they’re great, but durability and longevity is always an issue at these price points. But if you really don’t want to pay a lot, these are right up your alley and hit the color and no-logo points perfectly. Just please replace them when they’re faded or holey. Typical usages was anywhere from 6 months to a year.
That’s it, those are the honest-to-goodness best boxer briefs that I use with all my clients. So get your sh*t together and start wearing the most comfortable underwear for men – boxer briefs! Your psyche and gentleman’s sausage (that’s 4 euphemisms for male genitalia, if you’ve been keeping track!) will thank you!