This is my view, as a woman, on why you should wear undershirts (almost) all the time. Yes, I am biased, as a co-founder of our company. I've invested my time, finances and energy into this garment as I believe it makes a difference.
Men's undershirts are customary in some parts of the world. In the USA, most men wear one as a standard item of clothing. In Italy, it's a fashion staple. Yet, here in the UK, I often receive a questioning stare when I say we design and manufacture undershirts.
Why is this?
In the UK undershirts aren't well understood. Most people think of a cotton vest or a technical base-layer, or they only put on an extra layer when it's cold. These do not work in the same way as a purposefully designed undershirt.
Let me start with the number one reason you should wear an undershirt.
It will help prevent underarm sweat from showing through to your shirt, t-shirt or jumper.
It is not pleasant to see wet marks showing underarm. It's a look worth avoiding.
The second reason for wearing an undershirt is that it will protect your shirts from stains.
Stains (often from deodorant or antiperspirant) don't wash out easily. It can be annoying to see unsightly stains/marks, when ironing an expensive shirt, in the underarm area. I'm obsessive about washing so will go through various stain removing techniques, but sometimes they just won't budge. Stains on clothes make them unwearable, thus avoiding getting them in the first place can mean less waste.
If you don't wear an undershirt and you use deodorant or antiperspirant you are likely to get stains under your arms on shirts, t-shirts and jumpers. If you don't use antiperspirant, you are likely to get sweat marks under your armpits. Both of these things are a no-no from my perspective, and this is why I believe men should wear undershirts.
Here are the other reasons you may want to consider wearing an undershirt.
Good men's undershirts are purposefully designed for the job of wearing under other layers so that they fit well and won't be seen.
Design features of a good undershirt:
1. Lightweight, breathable fabric
Lightweight materials make for a breathable and moisture absorbing layer; they act as a barrier between you and your outerwear. They capture your sweat, thus avoiding it showing.
Undershirts fit against your body like a second skin. Some of our customers have joked, saying that they are better than their first skin! Using a t-shirt as an underlayer does not work. A t-shirt is designed to be worn on the outside and seen. It, therefore, looks untidy as an undershirt because it doesn't fit and lay flat against your skin.
3. Designed so as not to be seen
There are two basic designs. A deep v-neck for wearing with open shirts and a crew neck for wearing with ties.
The deep v-neck has a deep, wider v than any t-shirt. This is so won't show with two buttons undone on a shirt. It also means it won't show when wearing a v-neck jumper. Personally, I dislike seeing t-shirts sticking up under jumpers, or jumpers looking baggy because the t-shirt is wrinkling underneath. Not necessary - don't do it!
The crew neck is designed to have a high round neck so that it will sit well underneath shirts when you wear a tie. A v neck undershirt may show through your shirt when wearing a tie.
4. Longer than average
Undershirts (good ones) are made longer than average to ensure that they stay tucked in. This helps to avoid any bunching around the waistline, caused when things become untucked, as well as any awkward tucking in moments. If you have a trim waistline, you should be showing this off, not adding extra bulk. If you are carrying a little bit of extra, then you don't want to add to this by wearing something unfitted.
5. Chest hair
Now, this is a personal thing as, chest hair can be attractive, in the right setting. For me, it's not great when it ends up poking through your shirt. An undershirt will help to keep unruly chest hair at bay so that you can let it show at the right times.
So, In conclusion, be smart and wear an undershirt. It will improve your look by helping to prevent underarm sweat stains and avoiding the bulk of a thicker, less fitted t-shirt layer.