On a daily basis I get asked about whether or not I wear an undershirt, always followed up with a question on how to wear it correctly. Some of you might have read that and said "it's a t-shirt, how could you wear it incorrectly?" Well, there definitely are ways of doing so.
Let's first go over the pros and cons of an undershirt
- If you sweat a lot, an undershirt will typically help the sweat stay away from the shirt, and/or at least the jacket. Do whatever you can to keep your arm pits soaking through the jacket, this is fairly detrimental to the garment.
- If you are always cold, an undershirt will keep you warmer.
- If you have a lot of chest hair, you might want to wear an undershirt. This should help keep it tamed so it doesn't work its way out of the shirt, and if you're wearing a white dress shirt- that hair is probably visible through the shirt itself.
- Shirts don't like deodorant, if you want your shirt to last a little longer it might be beneficial for you to limit how many times the shirt gets pitted out.
- The wrong undershirt will be seen around the neckline.
- You might feel a little restricted in movements.
- If you get hot easy, this won't cool you down.
- The extra fabric in the undershirt might bunch up in the wrong places.
There are tons of options for undershirts out there. Performance fabric, pure cotton, sleeves/no sleeves, ribbed, neck lines etc. However, the most important things are fit, color, and neckline.
Make sure you buy an undershirt, not a t-shirt. T-shirts are generally thicker, longer and overall bulkier than an undershirt. The undershirt is much lighter in weight and also ribbed for added stretch to make it more comfortable under a button up shirt.
Of course don't wear a colored undershirt. For the most part, a white undershirt should be fine. Some people say the undershirt should be as close of a match to your skin color as possible- my response to that is... good luck finding a well fitting/comfortable undershirt in your skin color.
You want to make sure the undershirt fits skin tight. I always say, if it's so tight where you wouldn't want to be seen in it by itself...its perfect. The tight fit allows the dress shirt to act as though an undershirt isn't present. If you have too much loose fabric for an undershirt, the undershirt starts bulking up in all the wrong places.
Don't wear wife beaters. The reason you would want to wear an undershirt is for sweat and deodorant- this primarily comes from your armpits (obviously). This isn't quite the classiest look when you take your jacket off as it can be noticed across the room.
The last point of emphasis is the most important- Do not let your undershirt neckline show. If you're wearing a tie, buy a crew neck undershirt. The collar of the shirt and collar of the undershirt should be in line with each other. Same goes for when you aren't wearing a tie, buy a deep enough V-neck undershirt so when you unbutton the top of your dress shirt (for a more casual look)... your undershirt won't be showing. As you see below, these are the two classic mistakes with showing the neckline of the undershirt.