We tend to write a lot about dress shirts on Art of Style and one question recently thrown to me was on undershirts – namely whether it was alright to wear an undershirt with your dress shirt or not. This seemed an interesting question since I used to wear undershirts all the time when I was in high school but stopped since then. So today we’re going to explore undershirts.
The Purpose of Undershirts
The creation of undergarments actually came about to PREVENT the outer clothes from touching the body. This was because bathing wasn’t a regular activity back in the day. Another reason was to PROTECT the skin from the outer garments, which may be scratchy and cause irritation.
These days however, people tend to wear undergarments more for protection from the elements as a layer of insulation. Undershirts in particular serve to be a ‘sweat rag’ for men – which is to say, they absorb the sweat and prevent the outer shirt from getting gross.
There are a few styles of undershirts that have evolved over the years – the classic sleeveless, the v-neck and the crew-neck. More recently, there have been plenty of ‘performance underwear’, which are undergarments used for sporting activity. These, however, are not suitable for wearing on a daily basis with your dress shirts, as they tend to be highly visible.
Classic Sleeveless Undershirt
This is really not the most suitable sweat rag as it doesn’t cover your armpits and on top of that, it tends to leave a very visible outline under your shirt. However, this style has become very popular for gym or beach wear, on its own.
V-neck vs Crew Neck Undershirts
Since these two are suitable for absorbing sweat from under the armpits, the question boils down to the style of the neck line. If wearing a dress shirt, I generally prefer the v-neck as it tends to be less visible under the shirt. However, sometimes, having the top of the undershirt show may be the style you are trying to achieve – in which case, go for it.
Fit and Color of Undershirts
When it comes to fit, snug is the only word to use. Your undershirt needs to be like a second layer of skin so that it does not get uncomfortable over the day, especially around the sleeves, which you do not want bunching around under your dress shirt. When it comes to color, most people would opt for white, but if you wish to keep the undershirt as invisible as possible, go for a color that matches your skin tone.
So the yeay or nay question for undershirts we started with is actually moot, because if you are from a tropical country or just generally tend to sweat a lot, you may want to consider an undershirt. If you just like wearing one and it fits into your personal style, then don’t let anyone stop you either!
I hope that cleared things up – I certainly learned a few things while researching undershirts. Tell us anything we may have missed or your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
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