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  • Writer's pictureThe Underwear Review

A Useful Undershirt Guide: Answers to Your Everyday Questions

Everything you need to know about this everyday style staple.

Man wearing undershirt buttoning shirt.

For many men, they’re an everyday staple.

Undershirts provide that extra layer of comfort, protection, and consistency that you can count on day in and day out.

And while men’s undershirts may seem like a pretty straightforward and overall plain article of clothing, nowadays, there’s actually quite a lot of variety and nuance to them.

For example, there’s more than one undershirt design available for men.

The three most popular are the crew neck undershirt, the V-neck undershirt, and the tank top undershirt.

And beyond this, there are a variety of fabrics, styles, and specialty features available, such as stay-tucked and sweat-management designs.

With all this variety, you may find that your ideal undershirt changes based on scenario.

For example, your favorite undershirt for work might differ from the one you wear casually on the weekend.

As you can see, there’s a bit more to this seemingly bland and often overlooked shirt.

Here, we’ve put together a useful guide to undershirts, answering many of the most common questions associated with this everyday style staple.

Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by The Underwear Review. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.

What Are the Benefits of Wearing an Undershirt?

While some people prefer to go without an undershirt, you’re just as likely to find avid wearers that wouldn’t go without one.

And, of course, many simply wear an undershirt with certain outfits or when they feel the occasion calls for it.

But whatever your undershirt preference or habits might be, it can be helpful to know some of the benefits that an undershirt provides.

For example, wearing an undershirt is a great way to protect and preserve your top layer, whether it’s a dress shirt or simply an all-time favorite that you’d like to have around for a long time.

Man experiencing underarm sweat stain.
Certain undershirts are specifically designed to block sweat stains.

Undershirts do a good job of absorbing sweat before it reaches your top layer.

This is especially important around the armpits, as deodorant can cause unpleasant stains that damage fabric over time.

Additionally, wearing an undershirt offers you a little extra security and peace of mind.

Think of an undershirt as your last line of defense.

If a stain or a tear happened to your top layer, you still have your undershirt to fall back on.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that when temperatures start to cool down but don’t yet call for thick outer layers, an undershirt can serve as a useful layering piece.

Undershirts do a good job of providing light insulation for your torso without adding any excessive bulkiness to your look.

So, whether it’s worn for comfort, style, security, or garment preservation, having a few undershirts at your disposal is always a good idea.

What To Look For When Purchasing an Undershirt

For something that started out as a very simple and straightforward base layer, the undershirt has undergone an impressive evolution.

Nowadays, when you go to purchase an undershirt, you’ll find that you have an abundance of options to choose from.

So, what exactly should you look for when purchasing an undershirt?

There are a number of important characteristics and features to consider.

The first question you’ll want to answer is what you’ll be wearing the undershirt for?

Man wearing undershirt in business attire.
An undershirt can provide extra comfort under your dress shirts during the workweek.

For example, if you’re looking for an undershirt to wear during the workweek, you might want to prioritize undershirts with flat seams and stay-tucked designs to achieve a smooth and polished look.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a casual undershirt that you can wear around on the weekend, you may prioritize premium fabrics for extra comfort and versatility.

Man wearing undershirt in casual wear.
Undershirts are also a great layering option for casual looks.

Regardless of what you’re wearing your undershirt for, there are going to be a few garment characteristics that you’ll want your undershirt to have no matter what.

Always look at the fabric blend of your undershirt and opt for breathable materials that won’t cause overheating when layered, such as cotton, bamboo, and other natural fiber blends.

Also, pay attention to the fit of your undershirt.

Some undershirts will have a regular fit, which is a more relaxed and classic fit through the shoulders and torso.

While other undershirts will have a slim or tapered fit, which is a more form-fitting design through the shoulders and torso.

Additionally, the brand of undershirt you choose will end up playing a big part in how comfortable the undershirt is and how long it lasts.

While reputable brands may cost a bit more than buying cheaper in-bulk options, you do get what you pay for.

A high-quality undershirt will consist of premium fabrics for improved comfort and superior design that end up being more durable and longer lasting.

What Are the Different Types of Undershirts for Men?

It may come as a surprise to some, but there are actually several different types of undershirts available to men.

And each of these different options is designed to meet various preferences, needs, and style choices.

For starters, the three main types of undershirts for men are crew neck undershirts, V-neck undershirts, and tank top undershirts.

1. Crew Neck Undershirts

Crew neck undershirts are the classic undershirt style with a round neckline that likely first comes to mind when you think of an undershirt.

These undershirts are designed to be layered smoothly under a variety of top layers thanks to their fit and subtle features.

A crew neck undershirt should typically have a relaxed collar that does not sit too high and tight on the neck, as well as sleeves that are slightly shorter than your average t-shirt.

Man wearing Tommy John Cool Cotton Crew Neck Undershirt.

The length of your crew neck undershirt can vary depending on how you prefer it fits under your top layer.

This can be a shorter length that falls near the waist or a longer length that’s specifically designed to stay tucked into your pants.

A high-quality crew neck undershirt will feature lightweight and breathable fabric blends, so as not to cause overheating and provide a comfortable extended wear fit.

To see the best crew neck undershirts on the market today, check out our most comfortable list and the best available on Amazon.

2. V-Neck Undershirts

V-neck undershirts are essentially identical to the crew neck except for their V-shaped neckline that comes to a point slightly below the collar.

The typical function of a V-neck undershirt is to remain out of sight when worn beneath a top layer.

Its lack of fabric around the front collar allows you to open the first button or two of your shirt without exposing any undershirt.

Man wearing David Archy Micro Modal V-Neck Undershirt.

This works well with dress shirts, button down shirts, polo shirts, and anytime you have a V-neck sweater or top layer and don’t want your undershirt to be seen.

To see the best V-neck undershirts on the market today, check out our most comfortable list and the best available on Amazon.

Also worth a mention here is the deep V-neck undershirt, which is identical to a classic V-neck undershirt except that it has a deeper cutting V neckline.

Some prefer the slightly breezier, more breathable feel of a deep V-neck undershirt as it does not hug or crowd the neck area.

And if you’re looking to keep your undershirt out of sight beneath your top layer, a deep V-neck undershirt is a great choice.

Additionally, V-necklines are known for framing your face better, as they offer a longer and slimmer look than crew necklines.

If you’re interested in the deep V-neck look, you can learn more and see our top picks here.

3. Tank Top Undershirts

Tank top undershirts, on the other hand, are a sleeveless option that is neckless and hugs the torso in a form-fitting design.

These undershirts are designed to offer the least amount of coverage while still providing a smooth base layer that’s breathable and helps with moderate sweat control.

The tank top design is noticeably different from the crew neck and V-neck undershirt options, as it has no sleeves and no neckline.

Man wearing Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Rib Tank.

The top of the tank top undershirt consists of two straps over the shoulders that vary slightly in width depending on preference and style.

The length of your tank top undershirt can vary depending on preference, but typically extends several inches past the waist.

A high-quality tank top undershirt will feature lightweight and breathable fabric blends, that work well in warm weather conditions.

To see the best tank top undershirts on the market today, check out our most comfortable list and the best available on Amazon.

Man putting specialty undershirt on.
Compression undershirts are another popular undershirt option among men.

And within these various undershirt types that we’ve just covered, there are also several specialty design offerings available to men.

For example, compression undershirts feature stretchy compression fabric for a slim and supportive fit that can be found in any one of the three designs mentioned above.

Additionally, other undershirts are designed specifically to address sweat management, whether through extra breathable designs or underarm features.

Also, if you live in a colder climate or it’s that time of the year when the temperatures drop, another option is a thermal undershirt that utilizes insulating material for extra warmth.

You can check out our top picks for the best thermal underwear sets.

What Are the Characteristics of a Compression Undershirt?

You’ve likely heard of compression garments being worn by athletes for training and competition.

In recent years, however, compression garments have extended their use into everyday wear.

For example, you may already be familiar with how compression socks are used to maintain good blood flow in the legs, which is especially important for those that are traveling or sitting for extended periods of time.

Another compression garment that has grown in popularity thanks to its many uses and benefits is the compression undershirt.

Man wearing compression undershirt.
Compression undershirts provide a smooth and supportive fit.

These undershirts have a snug and supportive fit that’s well-known for the slimming effect they have on a person’s figure.

This is achieved thanks to the slightly compressive pressure of the shirt that smooths over the areas to which it is applied for a tapered and polished look.

Thanks to the light pressure applied by its fabric, compression undershirts keep in place better than a traditional undershirt and allow your top layer to move and shift without bringing the undershirt along with it.

Compression undershirts are comprised of soft, stretchy, and lightweight materials that provide a comfortable full range of motion while feeling great against your skin.

The fabric of compression undershirts is also breathable with sweat-wicking properties to move moisture away from your body and assist with temperature regulation.

If you’re interested in compression undershirts, check out our helpful guide with top picks.

Do Undershirts Help With Controlling Sweat?

Whether you just naturally produce a lot of sweat or you’re someone that starts to bead when the temperatures rise, garments that help keep sweat in-check draw a lot of interest.

For many, wearing an undershirt is a popular choice when it comes to controlling sweat, as this base layer can absorb a certain amount of sweat before it reaches your top layer.

For those that are heavy sweaters, however, the average cotton undershirt likely won’t prove enough when it comes to controlling sweat.

Business man with underarm sweat.
Certain undershirt options have a special sweat-stopping design to avoid embarrassing pit stains.

Thankfully, there are a number of undershirts available today with sweat-focused designs.

These undershirts have a variety of innovative and effective methods for sweat management, including super absorbent fabrics, built-in underarm pads, and unique features for extra breathability.

To help you find the best undershirt for your sweat management needs, we’ve put together a list of the best sweat-stopping options.

Additionally, you may find that wearing an undershirt in conjunction with using antiperspirant and other sweat control methods prove to be an effective combination.

How Do I Keep My Undershirt White?

We tend to put our undershirts through a lot without even really noticing.

Until one day you catch a glimpse in the mirror and start wondering just how long ago it was you purchased that pack of undershirts.

Even though they seldom make an appearance, keeping undershirts clean and crisp is always preferred to old and tattered.

And as you can imagine, maintaining your undershirt’s bright white look for longer periods will take a little extra time and care.

White washing machine.
Your undershirt should be washed after every wear to maintain a fresh apperance.

For starters, keeping up with a frequent and regular washing schedule for your undershirts is the most important step in keeping them white.

Ideally, you’ll wash your undershirt after each wear.

This helps to remove and prevent any dirt, sweat, and other unwanted build-up from discoloring the garment.

When washing your undershirts, consider using a detergent specifically designed for white colored clothing.

This can help keep that bright white look to your undershirt for a much longer duration.

Finally, consider air-drying your undershirt rather than machine-drying.

Repeatedly exposing your garment to high temperatures in the dryer can slowly diminish its durability and appearance over time.

How Do I Remove Deodorant Stains From an Undershirt?

Nobody likes the look of those downright unappealing deodorant stains at the underarms of an undershirt.

Not only are they unsightly, but the buildup of deodorant can actually be irritating and uncomfortable on your skin.

Unfortunately, removing these stains is no easy task. However, there are a few tips and tricks available to those willing to go the extra mile for a long-lasting white undershirt.

Before you throw your undershirt in the washing machine, pretreat any stains with a stain remover.

Next, soak your undershirt in cold water for about 30 minutes, though if it is a tough stain consider soaking up to an hour before washing.

Laundry detergent for stain removal.

Soaking in cold water before washing will help to loosen up the stain and improve its chances of removal.

Once you’re set to machine wash your undershirt, choose a cold-water cycle and a tough on stains laundry detergent for the best results.

If you notice the deodorant stain is still there after washing, try to pretreat, soak, and wash again.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll want to air dry your undershirt rather than use a machine dryer.

Both washing in hot water and heat from the dryer can set certain stains in the garment, including deodorant stains.

Finally, if you see the start of any deodorant staining in the future, be sure to attack it right away.

The longer those deodorant stains have been there, the harder they are to get out. As soon as you see buildup and staining, get to work on removing it!

How Do I Keep My Undershirt From Shrinking?

No one likes pulling an item out at the end of a washing cycle to find that it’s shrunk beyond use, especially when you haven’t done anything outside of your normal routine.

One such common victim of garment shrinking is the undershirt.

Fortunately, there are a few easy tips you can follow to avoid any undershirt shrinking in the future.

For starters, you’ll want to check your undershirt for a care label that offers any important washing or drying information.

This step is a simple and important one that’s unfortunately often overlooked.

Undershirt garment tag instructions.

Following any instructions that are provided will go a long way in preserving the quality of your undershirt.

Next, when you throw your undershirts in the washing machine, opt for cold water and a gentle detergent.

And when it’s time to dry, consider air drying over machine drying.

Both hot water and heat from the dryer can cause fabric to shrink. Cold water and air drying, on the other hand, will help to maintain the condition of your undershirts.

If machine drying is a must for you, go with the lowest possible heat setting and remove the undershirts as soon as possible.

Should I Wear an Undershirt With a Dress Shirt?

Here’s a common question that we see a lot, guys wondering whether they should wear an undershirt with their dress shirt.

One side of this debate touts that going without the undershirt provides a more polished and streamlined look, while the other is pro undershirt for its comfort and versatility benefits.

Technically, of course, there’s no right or wrong answer here.

Whether you wear an undershirt beneath your dress shirt is totally up to your own personal preference.

Man wearing undershirt beneath dress shirt.

It’s also possible that your choice is impacted by the occasion.

For example, if you’re wearing a suit jacket, you might prefer going without the undershirt for better breathability under the jacket.

However, if the dress shirt is your top layer, you may prefer having an undershirt beneath it for a little extra comfort, sweat management, or security.

So, if you’re having a difficult time deciding whether to go with or without an undershirt beneath your dress shirt, consider some of your needs for the occasion and weigh them against your style preferences.

And if you're like many men, comfort is always a priority. Check out our Most Comfortable Series for the best in undershirts, underwear, socks, and more.


Most Comfortable Series

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