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.
5 Tips for Buying a Good Undershirt
Consider the following when buying an undershirt:
For undershirts, you have the option of a v-neck, crew neck, and tank top. Here’s what you should know about each of these collar options:
- V-Neck: This undershirt cut is good if you wear sweaters or dress shirts as it won’t be visible. The “V” can be high (shallow) or deep – some companies may make both types.
- Crew: Most popular, but also widely misunderstood as it has several limitations. A crew-neck should only be worn with a tie and button-down or crew sweater. The crew neck disrupts the visual line when it is exposed.
- Tank: Offers an aggressive plunge on the neck. Tank tops can help to flatten chest hair, cover nipples, and absorb some moisture. However, they are unable to absorb sweat from the armpits.
2. Fabric Types
Get familiar with the different types of cotton and other fabrics found in undershirts. Here are the important takeaways:
Cotton remains one of the most popular fabrics used for undershirts. This is because it’s cheap, breathable, and relatively eco-friendly. However, cotton is available in a few different grades:
- Supima Cotton: Representing less than 1% of cotton grown in the world (source), Supima cotton is a long staple fiber that provides a softer, durable, and pill-resistant undershirt. You’ll find this in Brooks Brothers, Lacoste, and other premium brands.
- Pima Cotton: Better than regular cotton, but not certified or considered as good as Supima cotton, Pima cotton is a premium fiber that should still feel softer than standard cotton. You’ll find this in Mack Weldon, 2XIST, Bombas, and other mid-market brands.
- Standard Cotton: This is what you’ll find in many mass-produced brands like Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, etc. It’s somewhat soft and relatively breathable.
Artificial & Blends
Quality varies significantly for artificial and blended fabrics. Some undershirts can be super soft, while others are rigid and uncomfortable. However, one common trait is that manufactured and blended undershirts are durable and non-pilling.
3. Intent & Color
Consider going with a gray, nude, or black undershirt rather than white. Gray blends better underneath a white dress shirt. Additionally, a colored undershirt won’t be yellow in the armpit area due to antiperspirant.
4. Double Check Measurements
When buying an undershirt, take a moment to double-check the size chart provided by the company. You want an undershirt that is form-fitting so it won’t bunch up underneath your clothes.
5. Additional Features
Here are a few more features you may prefer in an undershirt:
- Stay Tucked: Made from a blend of modal and spandex, these form-fitting shirts are less likely to come untucked from the waistline.
- Sweat Pads: Some undershirts have sweat pads or layered fabric in the armpit area to absorb moisture.
- Warm Undershirts: If you work outdoors or live in a cold area, consider a heat-focused undershirt. Brands like Uniqlo make proprietary fabrics (HEATTECH) designed to keep heat close to the skin.
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).
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.