One Guy Recommends: The Undershirt

Continuing on the theme of my post about Sea Island cotton shirts, it’s summer and it’s HOT.  I’m not all that sweaty a guy, but when you’re walking around downtown in blazing heat with a suit jacket on, it doesn’t matter: you’re getting sweaty.  The telltale sign is of course the infamous “pit stain”, harbinger of the creepy dude at the office.  If there’s one thing you do not want to be, it’s the creepy dude at the office.

The best way I’ve found of preventing this is wearing an undershirt.  I go with regular white or grey t-shirts, either crew neck or v-neck depending on whether I’m wearing a tie.  The two that I’ve found to be the absolute best bang for your buck in the undershirt world are those made by Hanes (available at any Walmart or pretty much any other down-market retailer) and those by Joe Fresh at Loblaws/Superstore.  Not only are they absurdly cheap, so you can really stock your closet with them, but they’re soft enough that they’ll soon be one of your favourite things to lounge around the house in (ladies, somewhat surprisingly, have reported that this can be a sexy look as well – further food for thought). 

A couple of thoughts about undershirts:  first, and most important of all, undershirts should be felt but not seen when worn under business clothing.  There’s nothing that can spoil an open collared dress shirt more than seeing your undershirt underneath, which is why you should always go with a v-neck when wearing no tie.  With a tie, it’s better to go with a crew-neck, otherwise the v shape may be visible under your shirt.  The second thing to know about undershirts is that, under a white shirt, a dark undershirt is actually often less noticeable than a white one, so I would highly recommend wearing a grey undershirt under your white shirts.

You may think that it’s counter-intuitive to wear more clothing when it’s hot, but I’d argue that it’s worse when you’ve got that terrible feeling of a sticky dress shirt pressed to your chest.  Plus, the undershirt provides that extra layer of odour barrier should you need it and essentially removes all chances of flashing serious pit stains.  So, run out and get some Hanes undershirts and, if you’re in Canada, some v-neck Joe Fresh shirts as well.  They shouldn’t set you back much more than $5 a piece.  If you’re really feeling flush, than the undershirts from Calvin Klein always makes for a great option, but I personally would save your money for other clothing purchases (or a beer on a patio).

2 Responses to “One Guy Recommends: The Undershirt”

  1. 1 Phil
    June 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Yes, I agree with you 100% – it is good to avoid having one’s dress shirt sticking to your back in the summer. Thanks for the tip about Joe Fresh at Superstore – I wouldn’t have thought about looking there.

    I’m having a problem with V necks that are too shallow – nothing looks worse than a dress shirt, with one button undone and the v neck undershirt shows a bit! How are the hanes and joe fresh v necks? Are they deep enough? Wide enough?

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