All About undershirts
Ever wondered how an undershirt can keep off the chills in winter but then also help to keep you cool in summer? Here we answer you questions about undershirts in general. Why you should wear one, what material to look for, and how they work.
An undershirt works by acting as a barrier, it's almost like having a second skin. Light sweating and residues from antiperspirants and deodorants, plus oils excreted from your skin, are trapped by the undershirt before they reach the fine cotton of your shirt. That means less chance of sweat marks during the day and no build up of yellow under your shirt arms.
An undershirt will also help to regulate your temperature by keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer.
An undershirt is designed to fit under another shirt, contour the chest & arms, absorb sweat and not be seen. Being this close to your skin makes the choice of fabric crucial.
We think Viscose fabric is the best fabric we have found for the job so far. Viscose has moisture absorbing qualities, is lightweight as well as being incredibly soft. We believe you should get the best fabric you can afford for your underwear. Don't mess with this layer; your body will thank you for it.
No. The bamboo viscose fabric (also called rayon from bamboo) has been carefully selected because it is breathable and light on the skin. It feels totally different to wearing a cotton T-shirt. Moisture from your skin is absorbed by the fabric which then evaporates, cooling your body.
An undershirt in winter helps to trap air and provide a layer of insulation. In summer a sweat absorbing undershirt will trap moisture (sweat) and slowly release this to the air. This has a cooling effect on the body.
Yes our undershirts cost a little more, it's true. That's because they are made from a premium fabric which feels much nicer on your skin. This type of fabric was invented as a substitute for silk, and once you feel the silky softness you'll understand why. In addition to this we prefer to have our products manufactured in the UK so we can ensure top quality. The premium fabric combined with the quality manufacturing make for a comfortable and durable product.
All About Fabric
Want to know more about the fabric we use and why it works so well with your skin?
The blend we use is 95% Bamboo Viscose and 5% Spandex. Crucially there's no cotton, which would make it cheaper but heavier to wear. The 5% Spandex (or elastane) gives it 4-way stretch so it moves with you and in doing so keeps in contact with your body.
It never feels scratchy (like synthetics can) and it doesn't get hard with washing (like cotton blends can). It's also lighter to wear than cotton, and softer on the skin (unless you compare with really expensive cotton).
Viscose is used for clothing because it has good drape (meaning it hangs well) and because it feels exceptionally light and smooth on the skin. It has other useful properties as well, such as high water absorbency, it is highly breathable (allowing air and water vapour to pass through), and it may even be antibacterial making it less prone to odour. All of which make it comfortable to wear on the skin. That's why we think it is the ideal fabric for our range of men's undershirts. Aside from that, it dyes well, which makes it great for making brightly coloured textiles that hold their colour better than cotton after repeated washing.
Viscose is produced by pulping wood, extracting the cellulose and dissolving it in a solvent to make a thick viscose liquid (hence the name). That liquid is then forced through small holes to form long, thin filaments in a bath of yet anther solution which this time removes the solvent. What is left behind is pure cellulose formed into these long thin strands. With this description, I'm vastly simplifying the process so as to avoid getting bogged down in too much detail. Suffice to say there are numerous intermediary steps to wash, straighten and strengthen the resulting filaments, each of which can be adjusted to change the properties of resulting viscose filament.
Viscose is smooth due to the shape of the filaments. The artificial process used spins out the cellulose into long, smooth filaments, very much like silk. Silk also has filaments which are long and smooth, but these are produced naturally by insects. Both silk worms and the viscose product method share the same principle of spinning out a thick liquid through a small hole.
Viscous is 100% cellulose (from plants, in this case, trees) but it's in a form that could never exist without an artificial process, which is why it's often referred to as semi-synthetic. However this does not put it in the same bracket as nylon or polyester. Viscose is similar to cotton as both come from plant material which is probably why they feel natural to wear. In contrast, fully synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester are compounds which do not occur naturally.
Whilst both polyester and viscose are man-made, polyester is water repelling and viscose is water absorbing. Polyester fabric makes a good wicking fabric, which is great for the gym but may pong a bit. Viscose makes a great water-absorbing fabric, which is great for layers worn against the skin because it breathes and stays fresher longer. Polyester is quick drying; viscose is not.
Polyester is a synthetic fibre made from a compound called polyethylene terephthalate (PET for short). Viscose is a semi-synthetic fibre made from a compound known as cellulose – a plant-based material. Like polyester, it also comes in long smooth filament fibres, but that is where the similarities end.
For a more in-depth view see our article on the difference between viscose and polyester.
None. Viscose and rayon are two names for the same thing. In the USA they prefer the name rayon. Quite why they named it such is not clear. In Europe the textile is more commonly referred to as viscose, deriving its name from the viscose fluid formed as part of the product process. There are now several different methods of production, each designed to improve either the qualities of the end product or reducing the environment impact of manufacture, or both. You may already be familiar with some of these: modal, micro-modal and Tencel®(called lyocell in the USA) are the most common.
Viscose fabric is a plant based textile made from regenerated cellulose. Cellulose is a naturally occurring compound which helps to give plants structure. Cotton is mostly cellulose (about 90%), and viscose is 100% cellulose - so regarding their chemical composition, they are similar. The differences are down to the shape and physical properties of the fibre. Cotton has what is known as staple fibres. Staple fibres are naturally occurring, and they are of discrete length. To make yarn the cotton fibres are cleaned, straightened and then spun together. Viscose, on the other hand, is made from long straight continuous filaments - very similar to silk. These filaments are artificially produced by extracting cellulose from wood and regenerating it into long thin strands - a process described in more detail here. Viscose feels and behaves differently to cotton because of the physical difference between the short cotton fibres and the long viscose filaments. Just in the same way that silk feels and behaves differently to cotton because of the same differences between fibres and filaments.
Moisture absorbing materials have fibres designed to absorb and capture sweat. The most common absorbent fibre used is cotton, but other fabrics have recently been designed that are more absorbent, such as modal, micro-modal, Tencel®, and other viscose-based fibres. All of these are made from the same base material – plant cellulose – which loves water.
Moisture wicking fabrics include synthetic fibres such as polyester or nylon, and any fabric that has been treated with a solution to prevent water absorption. Polyester and Nylon are water resistant because they are made from materials with a particular chemistry that is similar to plastic. Instead of the water being absorbed by the fibre it sits in droplets on the fibre’s surface and moves around the fabric by running along the weave. Eventually, the water droplets reach the outside of the fabric where, if exposed to the air, they evaporate.
One or two studies indicate viscose fabrics may indeed have antibacterial properties (more studies are needed to confirm the findings), but it seems that this feature applies to viscose from any source and not just bamboo. People tend to get excited about bamboo because in the wild, in plant form, the bamboo grass is said to exude a substance, commonly referred to as bamboo kun, which by these accounts, helps to protect the plant from attack by microbes and fungus. The problem is that by the time the bamboo wood has been pulped and the cellulose extracted by solvents, there can be no more bamboo kun left in the resulting output from this process. The end product of making viscose is 100% cellulose filaments. So the belief that bamboo kun can be active in the end fabric is misplaced. However, there are studies which indicate that viscose (from any source) may have antibacterial qualities and we've written more about in our journal post entitled 'Is bamboo fabric antibacterial?'.
Moisture absorbing fabrics are beneficial for avoiding developing sweat marks or deodorant stains on outer layers. A viscose or cotton undershirt worn under a shirt will absorb and trap sweat before it reaches the shirt (or outer layer). Sweat is held by the undershirt inside the fabric’s micropores: you don’t feel wet on your skin, and your shirt won’t show any sweat marks.
Wicking material does not absorb moisture so the fabric will dry faster in heavy sweating conditions. This makes it a perfect single layer for sporting activities which require sweat to be moved away quickly: the sweat can evaporate directly into the air to prevent your clothes from becoming drenched.
It's a personal choice that Robert Kay put to the test in an experiment. What was the outcome? Robert concluded that "the natural feel of the bamboo trumps everything else. It just feels better for all-day wearing on the skin."
For full details you can read about the experiment here: https://www.undershirts.co.uk/blogs/journal/naturalskibaselayer
Customer Service and returns
We put our customers first. We'd rather build long term relationships than make a quick sale. You can see that reflected in the reviews we receive from our customers. Find out more about that and how we manage returns.
Items can be returned for exchange or refund up to 30 days from the day of purchase.
If you'd like to return an item get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help. firstname.lastname@example.org
Your first undershirt is covered by our risk free guarrantee.
Apart from the first one all others should be returned unopenned.
If for whatever reason, our shirts are not for you we will refund the cost of the shirt in full without a return. No fuss. You keep it, it's on us, with our pleasure.
All you need to do is contact us and let us know whether you'd like a refund or an exchange for a different size, or style.
Unfortunately we can't refund any postage costs - sorry.
Fit and feel
We design our undershirts to have a specific fit and feel. Learn more about it here.
The design follows the contours of your body to be inconspicuous under your formal shirt. The shoulder seams have been positioned off the ridge of the shoulder to match your shirts seams, so there's less chance of showing. The body is long and tapered to avoid bagginess because most men's chests are broader than their waists. But don't worry if that's not quite your shape as the fabric has 5% elastane (spandex) to make it comfortably stretch to your unique shape.
No. This is not a compression shirt. You need something else for that. This will however give you a nice overall look (and feel) with your shirt off, plus you'll feel more natural as the you nature intended.
No, the fabric has 5% elastane (spandex) to make it comfortably stretch to your unique shape without feeling tight.
That's no problem. All you'll need to do is send us an email and we'll sort it out. Job done.