Well, I decided to check in on the post today and I discovered a recent comment from reader Al, who provided his thoughts on why undershirts are actually stylish to wear:
Your many reasons for wearing an undershirt are interesting, but you ignore the issue of style. I like to see (and wear) a white crew showing at the neck of a tie-less business shirt, just because I think it looks good. It’s got to be done properly (your recommendations on positioning apply here) – the T shirt neckline not higher than the outer shirt neckline, and sitting straight. And the T shirt should be a grimeless white with the collar flat, not turned in or stretched. For casual gear none of that applies: I like to wear an untucked shirt with the sleeves half rolled up, a couple of buttons undone and a V-neck undershirt showing a bit underneath, not too arranged. For some people the reasons for an undershirt are practical but for many I think it’s an American cultural thing. Like others have said, they were always brought up that way. There’s also the military thing: no uniform is complete without the bright white T under the flat-collared khaki shirt. I have colleagues who wear a polo or Banana Republic style top without a T shirt, but whenever they wear a business shirt, no matter if it’s 100 degrees, without fail there’s a crew underneath. They feel underdressed without it, and increasingly, I feel the same way. But mainly, I just like the look.
Gosh Al, I couldn’t agree with you more. I very rarely find myself not wearing an undershirt and I too like how the undershirt looks.
While undershirts play their part in helping us guys protect their outerwear from the dreaded sweat stains, we tend to forget how they can actually complement what we are wearing. When you pair a nice, well fitting, crisp, clean, “grimeless” undershirt with your main outfit, it just ties it all together.
Here’s some other posts that offer up additional information about wearing undershirts:
Do you wear a t-shirt under a polo shirt – Forum post on Men’s Fashion website Ask Andy About Clothes
Blogger Matt Barnson also had some pretty interesting, and somewhat colorful, points on why to wear an undershirt:
- If I’m wearing a polyester/acrylic shirt, I’m actually much cooler wearing a cotton undershirt than not.
- I’m cooler wearing a T-shirt than going without a shirt at all. The cotton Tee wicks away perspiration without letting it drip down my butt-crack.
- I have kind of large, long nipples for a guy, and I really, really hate “poppers”! (That is, poppers on ME, I think they are fantastic on women)
- I can throw away cheap T-shirts with yellow pit stains rather than my favorite shirts which end up with yellow pit stains if I don’t wear an undershirt.
- I can do double-duty on a favorite shirt before washing it ‘cuz the undershirt stinks instead of the nice shirt. Laundering a shirt less also prolongs shirt longevity.
- Collared shirts without undershirts look tacky… particularly if you are prone to Poppers, as mentioned above.
- My nipples chafe if I sweat much and don’t wear an undershirt.
- I sweat…a LOT, even just sitting in this chair right now. If you don’t sweat much, dude, you don’t know what it’s like. A sweat-soaked shirt is unattractive.
There you have it: reasons to wear an undershirt. I stay away from the wife-beaters (also called tank-tops) because they don’t solve the pit-stains problem.
Although a little out of date, I also ran across an Image Consulting Service website that posted some additional information about how to wear an undershirt. Here are some excerpts from the article:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Remember thy undershirt - One of the 10 Commandments of Men’s Style | The Undershirt Guy Blog | November 28, 2008
- Blog Article - Posts of Vital Importance: Undershirts | The Undershirt Guy Blog | November 16, 2008
- Wearing Undershirts - Should an undershirt be visible or not?? | The Undershirt Guy Blog | November 16, 2008