Undershirts – Your Stealth Fighter Against Poor Style
Undershirts are like Major League Baseball games, many young men just aren’t into them. If you’ve resisted this workhorse of the stylish man’s wardrobe, we’re out to change your mind about undershirts.
Undershirts are, seemingly, a web of contradictions. How could adding a layer that keeps you warm during the winter help you out in the summer? How could something that isn’t meant to be seen help you look better when you wear it? If you haven’t adopted undershirts yet, they can seem paradoxical, but we’ll unravel the secrets of the tucked inside of the undershirt to show you why they are truly a super-garment (and why you ought to wear them).
Paradox 1: The Hotter It Gets The More You Need Layers
Job number one for an undershirt is sweat management. Any decent one soaks up sweat. At a minimum, this protects the back of your shirt from getting sweaty. Better undershirts wick sweat away from your body. They’re like an NBA Towel Boy (those kids at the end of the court who wipe the floor when the ball is at the other end of the court), their main purpose is to move sweat. (And avoid getting run over by Tyler Hansbrough. See the video below.)
When your undershirt wicks, it keeps moisture away from your body, allowing it to evaporate faster. That helps keep you cool and keeps your dress shirts dry. The result, no river of sweat running down the back of your dress shirts and no sweaty pits.Of course, there are other practical uses for undershirts. In the transitional seasons, when it’s cool but not quite cold, an undershirt helps keep the chill off without you having to add outer layers.
Paradox 2: Nobody Sees It But It Makes You Look Better
You know that “crisp, white dress shirt” you’re always reading about in publications like this one? If you don’t wear an undershirt beneath it, it won’t look so crisp. That’s because the stark white of that shirt is probably getting muted by your skin. A white undershirt will reflect light and act like bleach for your shirt, and make your white shirt look truly white.
An undershirt can also keep a thick chest forest or, worse yet, unsightly back hair from showing through your shirt. It can even hide ink on the tatted up gent looking to make an understated impression (say, for a job interview). Alas, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a specific type of undershirts: man-girdles or, as we like to call them, mirdles. Rather than trying to artificially tailor yourself to your clothes, we recommend going the natural route and, of course, custom tailored clothing. And one other unfortunate undershirt look to avoid: the poor man’s ascot. If you’re going to wear an open neck dress shirt, make sure your undershirt’s a V-neck. Undershirts should be like NFL side judges, if they’re doing their job well, nobody should even notice that they’re there (yes, for those of you keeping track, we have now referenced all three major American sports in one article).
Our Four Faves: Undershirt Options for Every Guy
Best Value Option
UNIQLO AIRISM $12.90
Yes, you can get a cheaper undershirt in a 3-pack at the drug store, but for a quality garment that wicks sweat, there’s no beating these.
Available in: crew neck, v neck, and tank
86% polyester, 14% spandex
Best Natural-Fabric Option
Flint and Tinder Undershirt $19.50
These all-cotton undershirts take the cake
when it comes to softness and feel.
Available in: crew neck and v neck
100% American long staple cotton
available in: black and white
Best Luxury/Performance Option
Mack Weldon Undershirt $32.00
These undershirts stretch but don’t shrink, wick sweat and feel great
despite a heavy dose of synthetic fabric.
Available in crew neck and v-neck
47.5% long staple cotton,
47.5% modal, 5% lycra
Best Sustainably-Made Option
Mr.Davis Undershirt $24.00
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option that still has a buttery soft feel, look no further than these bamboo undershirts.
Available in: v-neck and crew neck
available in: tone and white
96% sustainable bamboo viscose and 4% spandex
Like Drake, Style Starts at the Bottom
Strip back the layers on a truly stylish man and you’re likely to find an undershirt, because style starts at the bottom layer. The unsung heroes of many a stylish man’s wardrobes, undershirts are true workhorses.
Did we convince you to give them a try?
Put undershirts to work for you and tell us how you like them in the comments below.
Your Next Move:
Like What You See? There's More.
We'll send you style advice and intel for the modern man.