Undershirts are the unsung hero to every man’s wardrobe.
Not only do they prevent embarrassing sweat marks from seeping through to your dress shirt, but they can also provide an added level of comfort.
But here’s the deal:
Not all undershirts are created equal. From the many different styles, including crew neck, v-neck, and tank top, to the fabric that they have been made from are some of the key considerations you should think about before making your purchase.
Here are a few different undershirts we think you’ll like:
Best Undershirts For Men Reviewed
1. Best Overall: Tommy John Second Skin Undershirt For Men
A good undershirt should stay undetected throughout the day underneath your clothes. The Tommy John undershirt is made of an exceptionally stretchy material to hug your body and remain in place no matter how you move.
This shirt is ideal for wear under dress shirts, as the material is thin and should not cause you to overheat while in the office, but you can also wear it under a t-shirt or by itself if you like.
This undershirt features a high-cut v-neck, ideal for people who are uncomfortable with low v-necks but enjoy the style. The shirt is made from a blend of micro modal fabric (90%) and spandex (10%).
The micro modal fabric keeps the shirt soft and supple and gives it a smooth, satiny finish that feels good to wear. Spandex helps the fabric stretch and form to your body, as well as tucking in some lumps and bumps, smoothing out your figure.
While this isn’t a compression shirt, it does hug the body quite well, rendering it virtually invisible undershirts. Machine wash this garment in cold water, tumble dry low. This product fits true to size, but if you don’t want it to hug as much, order the next size up.
- Great undershirt for office wear
- Micro Modal fabric won’t ball up or get fuzzy
- Added spandex allows undershirt to retain its shape for years
What You Need To Know
2. Best for Dress Shirts: Brooks Brothers Supima Cotton Men’s Undershirt
Known for their fine suits, dress shirts, and other formal wear, Brooks Brothers brings it all together with their Supima Cotton men’s undershirt.
Made from durable and soft long-staple Supima cotton, it is an all-natural undershirt that will complement those men who want to look and feel their best.
When researching this undershirt, other men stated that these undershirts were “truly the best undershirts” to a more modest “really soft and good cotton.”
Normally Brooks Brothers are known for their high prices, and most budget-minded men would be smart to pass on some of their clothes…however, skipping on these undershirts would be a mistake.
These undershirts retail for $40 for a 3 pack ($13.33 each) – compared to others on our list; this is a steal.
Given that these will be worn daily underneath a dress shirt or men’s sweater, we think this will be a sound investment for many men.
If there were any drawbacks to this undershirt, it would simply be around the style and color options. While the crewneck (pictured above) is currently available in three different colors, their v-neck undershirt is only available in white.
- Made from the highest grade of cotton
- Incredibly affordable given the quality
- Will feel soft and comfortable on your skin
- Limited colors for their v-neck undershirt
What You Need To Know
Undershirts add another layer of protection under your clothes and are especially useful for under dress clothes. Undershirts are generally made of cotton and are designed to absorb perspiration to minimize sweat leaking out onto your day clothes. 2(X)XIST (pronounced “to exist”) has a soft cotton tee that is not only exceptionally effective at minimizing sweat stains, but it also barely feels like it’s there so that it won’t restrict your movement.
These crew-neck undershirts come in a pack of three and are cut for a slim fit. They sit flush across the chest and stomach, making them virtually undetectable under a sweater or dress shirt. The bottoms are narrow and sit across the hips to allow for maximum movement without being seen.
They are also 100% cotton, an exceptionally breathable material, great for hot summer days. Unfortunately, this means that they also shrink very easily, so it is advised that you wash them in cold water to help minimize shrinkage. These shirts fit true to size and are available up to an XL.
It is worth mentioning that while the above undershirt is limited to only white, 2(X)IST makes a wide variety of undershirts worth checking out. So if you don’t want to stick to just the crew neck or perhaps want to wear an undershirt with an aggressive v-neck, we recommend checking out their entire product catalog.
- Great daily crew neck undershirt
- Lightweight and breathable
- Should be long enough for taller men
- Somewhat pricy for standard cotton
What You Need To Know
The crew neck is a classic look for both under and over shirts, but no one makes a better crew neck undershirt than BOSS. In fact, all of their products are top of the line, and any man can feel good wearing one of these tees underneath their clothes or just by themselves.
These thin t-shirts come in packs of 3, and for being a brand name article, they are incredibly affordable. They feature a mid-cut crew neck and a 28-inch length to the hem (measured on a Medium shirt).
The biggest selling point of these tees is that they are 100% cotton, and they are luxuriously soft. The regular fit of the shirt means that they hang rather loose around the waist, but not so much that they are bulky under a dress shirt or t-shirt. However, because of this fit, you may see some wrinkling or bunching as the day goes on, but it should not be uncomfortable or even unsightly.
This incredibly soft undershirt by Calvin Klein is starkly different from the Modal fabric single undershirt reviewed above. First and foremost, this undershirt is 100% cotton and has been pre-shrunk; therefore, you shouldn’t have to worry about upsizing upon checkout. Secondly, this shirt will seem a lot airier given that it will drape on you rather than being form-fitting like other undershirts reviewed. Finally, with its 100% cotton construction, the fabric is incredibly soft and aligns with the quality that one would expect when picking up an undershirt from Calvin Klein.
Regarding the construction of the shirt, as you can see in the picture above, the seams are small and streamlined to ensure that the undershirt, when worn with a dress shirt or beneath a sweater, should be virtually invisible.
Lastly, this shirt does come as part of a three-pack, including white, black, and heather grey (pictured above), making each shirt likely versatile for you depending on what you should be wearing as your outerwear.
The shirt’s construction is made from Modal fabric (90%), which is a type of synthetic fabric constructed from cellulose fiber. This modal fabric will have more of a form-fitting feature than shirts that are 100% cotton making it perfect for men who want to achieve a clean line look where their undershirt is nearly undetectable beneath their favorite dress shirt. This is constructed of synthetic fabric, you shouldn’t notice any pronounced shrinking when you machine wash this undershirt. While the cost does tend to run a bit higher for this shirt, it’s well-made and should last you for a long time.
This undershirt does come in various colors, including black, white, mink (heather grey), and blue shadow (pictured above). In addition to the colors, the length of this shirt should tuck in nicely in your trousers and shouldn’t bunch up throughout the day.
Likely many readers’ first ever T-shirt, Fruit of the Loom, has been around for years offering an undershirt for a rock bottom price. Of all the undershirts that we reviewed, Fruit of the Loom, without a doubt, offers the widest variety of sizes (18 in total) along with a plethora of colors that should work with just about any fabric that you are wearing. When compared to other reviewed shirts, this particular undershirt tends to be slightly thicker – however, you wouldn’t want to wear this as a standalone T-shirt as it’s aptly titled by the company. A noticeable difference between this shirt when compared to others is the total length. As you can see in the model above, this shirt is cut considerably shorter. However, Fruit of the Loom does offer this shirt in two lengths – so if it’s worn as an undershirt (which is the only case when you should be wearing this shirt), be sure to select the longer length.
Lastly, this shirt doesn’t rest as close to the body as some of the higher-priced point undershirts. Therefore when wearing it in tandem with your favorite dress shirt, some excessive bagginess may occur.
Lacoste is in the top tier of men’s fashion when it comes to quality, and their undershirts are no exception. Designed from 100% Supima Cotton, which is typically sourced from the top 3% of American cotton crops and is considered to be a longer fiber that is also finer (source).
What does this mean for you?
When you wear an undershirt constructed from Supima Cotton, it will be incredibly softer and generally should last you significantly longer, given its durable properties. Therefore when it comes to this Lacoste undershirt, you are not just paying for the label but also for a finely constructed undershirt. Additionally, sizes on this shirt generally run true to size and shouldn’t have much shrinking after the first wash.
Beyond the fabric, this undershirt includes the croc embroider on the lower right side of the undershirt to ensure its authenticity.
In regards to color selection, Lacoste does offer this undershirt in a few options – a variety pack of three colors (white, black, and grey) or a three-pack of just a single color as well.
This private label undershirt by Nordstrom is a great budget-friendly undershirt that should serve most well. This V-Neck undershirt is constructed from 94% cotton and 6% spandex, giving you just enough form-fitting properties without compromising on the breathability of the cotton.
This undershirt is an excellent alternative for men who want an undershirt that stays snug to your body without being too terribly constricting. Secondly, the fabric of this undershirt should do a great job at absorbing any sweat or oils that your skin produces throughout the day before ever making it to your outer dress shirt. Also noteworthy is that the fibers of this shirt should maintain their shape after washing several times.
Lastly, this shirt is true to size. Therefore you shouldn’t notice any pronounced shrinking on the first wash.
Beyond the Fruit of the Loom undershirts that we reviewed, Polo Ralph Lauren provides the widest array of colors you can find for a higher-quality undershirt. Therefore no matter what type of dress shirt or sweater you may be wearing, you can definitely find a color that will match your shirt, so there won’t be any color bleed that will be noticeable.
While this undershirt is made from 100% cotton, its tailored design will give you more of a form-fitting appearance (especially if you have a muscle build) than some of the other 100% cotton shirts that we reviewed that tend to be a bit airier in the fitting. This tailored design is great for men who desire an undershirt constructed from 100% cotton rather than relying on a synthetic fiber like modal or spandex.
To verify its authenticity, as you can see pictured above, the pony is stitched onto the lower left front of every undershirt. Of course, this is an undershirt, therefore it will run slightly longer and is also significantly thinner than a standard T-shirt. Therefore you cannot wear it on its own. Lastly, the value for this undershirt is incredibly, especially given that it’s from a top-tier design house, definitely worth the investment.
SPANX is probably most well known for their slimming line of clothing, designed to tuck in unsightly bumps and lumps and overall boosting confidence. These compression t-shirts are designed to do just that, giving you a slimmer, sleeker figure, all the while remaining discreet underneath your regular clothes. The shirt is made from cotton and spandex to give that compression feeling while also being easy to care for and exceptionally comfortable. It also doesn’t add a lot of thickness to your outfit so that you can remain cool even in the hot summer months.
These t-shirts run at 25” long in a size Medium, which of course will change depending on what size you need. This is roughly long enough to cover your hip, ensuring that the shirt doesn’t come up over your stomach while wearing.
Because it is cotton, washing in cold water will help minimize the amount of shrinkage you experience, keeping your undershirt in relatively new condition for longer. The flatlock seams present throughout the shirt help reduce chafing and irritation while wearing, which is good as these undershirts are very form-fitting. These t-shirts are rather expensive but perfectly worth it for that compression factor.
From their denim to boxer briefs and a wide variety of clothing for both men and women, Tommy Hilfiger is a world-renown fashion brand that is known for quality. When it comes to their undershirts, they strive to maintain this quality by offering a lightweight undershirt constructed from 100% cotton. Unlike the tailored or form-fitting look of other undershirts we reviewed, this undershirt will be a much looser design.
Now one particular point of interest about this undershirt is the V-Neck. Typically when a designer makes a V-Neck the depth of the V can vary far and wide, however some times they can plunge all the way to the nipple line – this is particularly important if you wear polo’s regularly or you are in great shape and want to showcase an extremely well-sculpted chest. On the opposite, you have undershirts like this one that have an extremely shallow V-Neck making its use extremely limited – primarily top button undone of a dress shirt.
Beyond the cut, this shirt is sold in white only and will feature the Hilfiger blaze on the lower left part of the shirt (pictured above).
A Few Considerations When Buying Men’s Undershirts
To help you when comparing and deciding which undershirt will fit your needs, we identified a few key features that you should take a minute or two to think about before making your purchase:
1. Undershirt Cut
Depending on the article of clothing you are wearing will determine the type of cut you should be wearing as an undershirt – here’s a primer on the popular v-neck, crew neck, and tank top varieties:
Cut in a ‘V’ shape at the neck, this type of undershirt is ideal when wearing dress shirts and sweaters. The v-neck undershirt won’t disrupt the visual line of the viewer’s eye as the undershirt won’t be visible between your dress shirt and face. Now, if you are worried about excessive chest hair showing with this undershirt, it is worth noting that v-neck undershirts typically come in two different varieties – high v-neck (or shallow) cut and deep v-neck cut.
While the crew neck undershirt is popular among many men, it offers many limitations when worn and is not recommended by men’s fashion experts. The reason is that crew neck shirts may disrupt the visual line for those men who wear dress shirts with the first couple of buttons undone or sweaters cut with a modest v-neck. We recommend the crew neck cut for those men who do wear buttoned-up dress shirts with a tie, sweaters with a crew neck, or as a styling layer.
Now, if you are adamant about wearing a crew neck with a button-down shirt and the top button is unbuttoned – then you want to make sure that you have a flat and crisp undershirt collar. An undershirt that has been worn too often may begin to bunch and roll up that looks downright sloppy, and you will have bacon neck.
The tank top offers a more aggressive plunge to the neckline when compared to the v-neck and is typically lighter in weight. However, one of the major drawbacks to the tank top is that it cannot absorb sweat like the crew or v-neck undershirts. Therefore, if you sweat excessively, you will want to avoid this undershirt. Tank tops do prevent your nipples from showing through a dress shirt, however.
2. Fabric Types
As you look at undershirt reviews and product descriptions, you will find a surprising variety of fabrics used in their composition. Here’s a quick look at the popular varieties:
Cotton remains one of the most popular fabrics used for undershirts. It’s cheap, breathable, and relatively eco-friendly (more on this in a minute). However, in recent years, cotton has been sold in many different varieties – here’s a look at the most popular types of cotton and their features:
- Supima Cotton – Representing less than 1% of cotton grown in the world (source), Supima cotton is a long staple fiber that provides a softer and more durable undershirt. It’s the best natural material you can get as an undershirt.
- Pima Cotton – Better than regular cotton, but not certified or considered as good as Supima cotton, Pima cotton is a premium fiber that should feel marginally softer than standard cotton. Quality may vary from one brand to the next as Pima cotton is a generic term.
- Standard Cotton / Cotton Classic – Found in mass-produced brands (i.e. Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, etc.), cotton undershirts feel moderately soft and exhibit breathable properties. Unlike Supima, standard cotton is a shorter fiber and will result in more wrinkles.
- Organic Cotton – A category within cotton is organic cotton. This simply means that the cotton was grown in an eco-friendly manner. This typically entails that no fertilizers or pesticides were used during production. This fabric is ideal for men who like to vote with their wallets to support eco-friendly production methods.
Polyester & Synthetic Blends
Found on many performance undershirts, such as the Nike Dri-Fit line, polyester is a synthetic/manufactured fiber that is durable and moisture-wicking. These synthetic fibers can resist wrinkles and help to prevent chaffing. While synthetic fibers have been known not to be nearly as breathable as cotton, performance has improved in recent years.
Modal & Micro Modal
A relatively new fabric found in undershirts is a modal or micro modal. Relying on a rayon base, this fabric is also sourced from cellulose (i.e., beech trees). This unique hybrid composition of both synthetic and natural sources gives undershirts gives a very soft and cool feeling (source). While not as durable as polyester and other synthetic blends, the elasticity and comfort properties are strong. Another advantage to micro modal fabric is that it won’t cause lint balls (piling) or fuzz to accumulate on the surface after several washes.
3. Sweat Pads / Underarm Pads
Whether you sweat profusely or find yourself in highly stressful situations and want to hide embarrassing armpit sweat, some men’s undershirts contain sweat pads or underarm pads. This extra lining at the armpit area provides an additional layer of protection.
4. Intent & Color
Men wear undershirts for various reasons, whether it’s for style or to act as a base layer underneath a dress shirt or sweater. When deciding on an undershirt color, we recommend going with a neutral gray or black undershirt instead of white. Not only does this open styling options within your wardrobe, but neutral colors such as gray is less visible under a white dress shirt while also not showing yellow stains – especially from the aluminum in your antiperspirant.
5. Body Type & Measurements
Whether you skew shorter or taller, slender or bigger, you will want to double-check your measurements before purchasing an undershirt. This is important as the chest size may vary across brands, which will have an impact not only on the fit of the upper half of your body but also on how long the undershirt drapes. Many leading brands will offer size charts for their undershirts for further guidance.
6. Extra Features
Many niche undershirt brands may offer additional features that some men might be looking for or perhaps never knew that they needed until now. Such features that we came across in our research include the following:
- Stay Tucked – Many premium undershirt brands make stay tucked undershirts. These are typically made from micro modal and have elastic or spandex like properties to keep the undershirt close to your body. This can be helpful if you find that you need to constantly re-tuck your undershirts throughout the day.
- Chest Hair Texture – By simply going with a longer Supima cotton fiber you can prevent the so-called hamburger meat or taco meat This is where dense or thick chest hair is still visible on the surface of the undershirt.
- Warm Undershirts – Should you live in an area that is intensely cold, some brands sell heavyweight undershirts or proprietary technology designed for warmth. One example of this is Uniqlo with its HEATTECH bio-warming material.
- Nipple Protection – Men with pointy nipples or with gynecomastia may want to look at compression undershirts. These can reduce the appearance of your nipples protruding underneath the shirt. If you don’t want to get a specific undershirt for this, another option would be areola covers for men. These are one-time use and require restocking.
7. Undershirt Brands
When shopping for undershirts, you will find that there are many brands to choose from. Among the most popular are the following:
- Tommy John
- Thompson Tee
- Mack Weldon
- Hugo Boss
- Polo Ralph
- Tommy Hilfiger
When shopping for an undershirt, we recommend not only reading the undershirt reviews but also pay close attention to the material(s) that they are made from. This will help to see if you are paying for a quality undershirt or a brand name tax.
Whether you want a cheap undershirt or one made of premium quality, there are a plethora of price points out there. Based on our research, we found that the best undershirts for men will have a price range of $20 to $50 each.
Men’s Undershirts FAQs
Are undershirts out of style?
No, undershirts are not out of style. They are a functional piece and should be a part of every man’s wardrobe.
What color undershirt should I wear?
Undershirts come in many different colors. The best or safest color to wear as an undershirt will be gray. Gray won’t show stains as easily as other lighter colors such as nude or white. Secondly, gray is not nearly as visible when worn under a white dress shirt.
What is the difference between a T-shirt and an undershirt?
An undershirt is designed to stay close to your body so other articles of clothing can be worn on top. T-shirts are intended to be worn for style purposes and have a bit more room throughout the body.
What is the purpose of wearing an undershirt?
The purpose of wearing an undershirt for men is to prevent sweat from being transferred onto your dress shirt, sweater, etc., along with preventing your chest hair or nipples from being visible to others.
What are some tips to wear an undershirt properly?
The most important tip when buying an undershirt is to measure your chest and compare it to the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer. An ill-fitting undershirt will be baggy and constantly become untucked. Secondly, getting the right collar will be important as it will complement the clothes you will be wearing the undershirt with. A v-neck undershirt will typically be a safe bet here (remember, they come in both shallow and deep cuts). Lastly, a color like gray will be versatile within your wardrobe.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.