The undershirt is the unsung hero of a man’s wardrobe. It’s the one garment that can be both functional and stylish, and it has a variety of different types to choose from.
Today we’ll be dissecting all the different features you’ll find on an undershirt to make the best choice for your needs.
Necklines of Undershirts
The neckline of an undershirt is important both for style and function. We’ll look at the crew, v-neck (shallow and deep), and scoop (u-neck) varieties.
- Crew Neck: The crew neck is the more traditional choice, and it’s what you’ll find on most undershirts. It sits high on the neck and provides full coverage. If you’re looking for a more conservative look or need extra warmth, consider a crew neck.
- Shallow V-Neck: The shallow v-neck is a more modern take on the undershirt. It sits lower on the neck than the crew neck, and it has a V-shaped neckline. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a more breathable undershirt or if you want to show a little bit of skin. It also pairs well with sweaters.
- Deep V-Neck: The deep v-neck is a more aggressive cut. It sits very low on the neck and will expose a good amount of the chest. Consider this option if you’re looking to make a style statement or need an undershirt that won’t be visible under a shirt with a deep V-neck.
- Scoop / U-Neck: The scoop or u-neck is similar to the crew neck, but it has a more rounded neckline. You’ll find this neckline in tank top style undershirts. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for more breathability or if you want to show off your chest.
Popular Undershirt Colors
The color of an undershirt is essential both for style and function. We’ll look at the most common colors: white, black, and gray.
- White: White is the most traditional color for an undershirt. It’s what you’ll find on most undershirts, and it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a more conservative look.
- Black: This is a bit more modern and good if you want to make the undershirt a part of your outfit.
- Gray: When paired with a white shirt, a gray undershirt will become invisible. If you don’t want the undershirt to be seen, this is a good choice.
How Should an Undershirt Fit?
Undershirts are available in several sizes. However, no matter your size, it’s crucial that you find an undershirt that fits well and doesn’t bunch up underneath your dress shirt or other clothes.
A good rule of thumb is that the undershirt should be snug but not too tight. If you can pinch more than an inch of fabric, it’s too loose. On the other hand, if you feel like the undershirt is constricting your movement, it’s too tight.
A Note for Big & Tall Guys: Some brands make undershirts specifically for big and tall guys. These shirts are longer, fit your naturally larger frame, and will stay tucked in all day.
The sleeve length of an undershirt is important both for style and function. We’ll look at sleeveless, short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and long sleeve varieties.
- Sleeveless: The sleeveless undershirt, also commonly known as a tank top, is the most minimalistic option. It doesn’t provide much coverage, but it’s great for layering or if you need an undershirt that won’t be visible under a sleeveless shirt.
- Short Sleeve: The short sleeve is the most common choice, and it’s what you’ll find on most undershirts. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a more breathable undershirt or if you live in a warmer climate.
- 3/4 Sleeve: The 3/4 sleeve is a longer version of the short sleeve. It provides more coverage and is a good choice for workwear where your hands and arms might come into contact with dirt or other substances.
- Long Sleeve: The long sleeve is the most coverage and is a good choice if you need an undershirt for warmth, to cover tattoos, or perhaps want an undershirt that won’t be visible under a long sleeve shirt.
Construction Details in Undershirts
The construction of an undershirt is important both for comfort and function. Modern undershirts feature flat seams, tagless labels, moisture-wicking, flat collars, and stretchy fabrics to provide a comfortable fit.
- Flat Seams: As is common in many types of men’s underwear, flat seams help reduce chafing and make the undershirt more comfortable to wear.
- Tagless Labels: These are a must-have for comfort. No one wants an itchy tag rubbing against their skin all day.
- Moisture-Wicking: This is a good choice if you lead an active lifestyle. It helps to keep you cool and dry by wicking moisture away from your skin.
- Flat Collars: These help prevent the undershirt from showing through your dress shirt collar.
- Compression: Some undershirts are designed to provide a more toned appearance. Tighter-fitting undershirts can also help to prevent “man boobs” by compressing the chest.
- Odor Protection: Some undershirts are treated with an anti-microbial finish to help prevent odor (although stains may occur).
- Stretchy Fabrics: These provide a comfortable fit and help the undershirt move with you throughout the day.
Common Fabrics Used to Make Undershirts
The material of an undershirt is important both for comfort and function. Here are a few popular materials you’ll find in undershirts:
- Cotton: This is the most popular choice for undershirts. It’s soft, breathable, and comfortable. You’ll find that cotton is available in several different grades, including regular, Egyptian, Pima, and Supima.
- Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic fabric, and it’s often used in performance undershirts. It wicks moisture away from the body and is quick-drying. However, it can feel a bit stiff and uncomfortable against the skin.
- Rayon: Rayon is a synthetic fabric that’s made from wood pulp. It’s soft, absorbent, and has a luxurious feel. However, it’s not as durable as cotton, and it’s not as good at wicking moisture away from the body.
- Micro Modal: Premium garment brands such as Tommy John use micro modal in their undershirts. It’s a synthetic fabric that has great moisture-wicking properties.
- Blends: Blends are a mix of cotton and polyester. They offer the benefits of both materials and are a good choice if you’re looking for an undershirt that’s both comfortable and functional.
Sheerness Level of Undershirts Varies
The sheerness level of an undershirt is important to consider if you want it to be visible under your dress shirt. You can find undershirts in opaque, semi-opaque, slightly sheer, and even very sheer.
Generally, the thinner the fabric, the more sheer it will be. However, if you don’t want chest hair or nipples to be visible through your dress shirt, you’ll want to choose an opaque or semi-opaque undershirt.
If you don’t mind a bit of chest hair showing through, you can choose a slightly sheer undershirt. These are often made from thinner fabrics, and they’re a good choice if you want a more breathable undershirt.
Popular Undershirt Brands
Several brands make quality undershirts. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Tommy John
- Fruit of the Loom
- Pair of Thieves
- Mr. Davis
Average Price of Undershirts
You can find undershirts at a wide range of price points. You can find some for as little as $5 each or spend upwards of $50 each for premium brands.
The price you pay will depend on several factors, including the brand, the material, the construction, and the features. Generally speaking, you’ll get what you pay for when it comes to undershirts.
Should You Buy Multipacks?
You can often find undershirts sold in multipacks. These can be a good value if you need to stock up on undershirts. However, many of the premium offerings sell their undershirts individually.