- A great undershirt will prevent walking around in a sweat-soaked top.
- The best undershirts are close-fitting, don’t lose shape, and come in diverse materials.
- The Thompson Tee is a favorite with a”sweat guard” design, making it fit for stain protection.
It really doesn’t matter if your wardrobe is sporty, casual, formal, or a mash-up of all kinds of clothing, good undershirts are an important part of getting dressed. The primary purpose of an undershirt is to absorb your body’s sweat as the first layer of clothing – and this is beneficial for a few key reasons.
It’s good for the long-term care of your garments. The right undershirt will save your clothing from sweat, deodorant, and other stains from being in direct contact with your skin. An undershirt is also important for your style and comfort. A sweat-soaked T-shirt or a dress shirt with wet armpits has never been a flattering, or comfortable, look.
We’ve done the research and smoked out the best undershirts for men that you can buy today. Undershirts are fairly straightforward pieces of clothing, but we’ve made sure that our top picks cover a range of different styles, fabrics, and price points so you can find the right one for your tastes and budget. Not sure how an undershirt should fit? We have a handy section on that.
Here are the best men’s undershirts of 2021:
Tommy John has a collar that stays flat, fits closely to your body, and never comes untucked.
Pros: Close-fitting, comfortable, different material options, stays tucked in
Cons: Can’t be worn as a regular T-shirt
Sizing options: S-4XL
To be completely honest, I gave up on T-shirt-style undershirts a long time ago because they’re almost always ill-fitting at the collar, the sleeves become loose, and they rarely stay tucked in. But Tommy John’s undershirts are the complete opposite.
Close-fitting, but not tight, they’re long enough to stay comfortably tucked into your pants, and they almost disappear underneath your top layer of clothes.
While browsing, you’ll find that Tommy John undershirts are available in three materials — Second Skin, Cool Cotton, and Air. I’ve tested and reviewed all three and I can’t say one is better than the other; it really depends on what you look for most in an undershirt, whether that’s softness, breathability, or a lightweight feel.
Senior Reporter Amir Ismael especially likes Tommy John’s undershirts instead of basic tank tops when I’m wearing dress shirts. They’re more comfortable (which is important when you’re already wearing not-so-comfortable dress clothes), they help prevent sweat stains on the armpits, and they’re a lot less visible if you’re wearing a white or light-colored shirt.
The best men’s undershirt to avoid sweat stains
The Thompson Tee V-neck is made from breathable fabric, has an underarm sweat guard, and is, undoubtedly, the last undershirt you’ll ever need to buy.
Pros: Woven of soft combed cotton with a bamboo-derived rayon sweat guard, effectively manages under-arm sweat, excellent form-fitting cut
Sizing options: X-Small-3X-Large
Managing sweat while looking nice is an ever-present challenge (especially in a suit). However, the Thompson Tee is uniquely designed with a second layer — the “sweat pad” — to put some more material and distance between your skin and nice shirt.
The trim cut is form-fitting and long enough to tuck, too, while the V-neck is suitably deep so it won’t be peeking out from under your shirt collar. It’s also woven from soft-combed cotton and the “sweat pads” are made from a bamboo-derived cotton and spandex blend for stretch and flexibility.
The best men’s undershirt multi-pack
David Archy provides soft and lightweight undershirts at a great value.
Pros: Made of a breathable and soft micro-modal fabric, the cut is fitted and long enough to stay tucked, great value
Cons: The fit is nothing special; the micro-modal shouldn’t be put in a hot dryer cycle.
Sizing options: Small-X-Large
Although synthetic fabrics have a bad rap in the menswear scene, they do confer some advantages for certain pieces of clothing. Synthetics are durable, they dry quickly, and they’re useful for garments where you want some stretch such as socks or athletic wear.
David Archy undershirts are made of a soft micro-modal fabric with a touch of elastane. It’s thin and light without being transparent, although it’s best to tumble dry these and then hang them up damp to air-dry rather than drying them with heat.
The V-neck is suitably deep and the David Archy shirts are slimmer than most other multi-pack undershirts from popular brands like Hanes, the cuts of which tend to be a bit boxier than most, but these undershirts don’t have much of a taper in the body. You may want to consider sizing down if you’re between sizes. The sleeves are also nice and slim-fitting so you don’t get a bunch of material bunching up around your arms under your dress shirt.
The best men’s undershirt on a budget
As a brand we all know and have probably worn, Hanes delivers variety and a great bang for your buck.
Pros: Tagless, multi-pack, odor-resistant technology, preshrunk
Cons: Can’t withstand many wash and dry cycles without losing its shape
Sizing options: S-XL
What would a list of undershirts be without Hanes? In short, incomplete. As one of the most popular underwear brands, if not the most popular, Hanes has a huge assortment of all types of undergarments, including undershirts. If you’re going for a classic T-shirt style rather than a tank top, the FreshIQ ComfortSoft Crewneck is what you’ll want to buy, especially if you’re on a budget. Each pack comes with six undershirts, making it the best bang for your buck.
Made from 100% preshrunk cotton, these Hanes undershirts are tagless, have lay-flat collars, and feature the brand’s odor-resistant technology, FreshIQ.
Much like any budget-friendly pack of undershirts, they won’t last forever, as they can potentially lose shape after a handful of wear and wash cycles. But at $19 for six, you can’t really beat the price.
If you’re looking for a basic white T-shirt, this is one you can actually pull off because it’s not too form-fitting or too long, like some of the other undershirts on this list. — Amir Ismael
The best tank top men’s undershirt
If you prefer tank tops over T-shirts, Hanes FreshIQ ComfortSoft Tanks are cheap and dependable.
Pros: Moisture-wicking, soft next to skin, preshrunk so it lasts after many wash and dry cycles, no tag
Cons: Won’t prevent armpit stains, limited sizing options
Sizing options: M-XL
While T-shirt undershirts are best for preventing armpit stains under button-ups and dress shirts, tank top undershirts get the job done if you’re only concerned with having a sweaty back and chest.
The Hanes FreshIQ ComfortSoft White Tank is a no-frills undershirt, but with no tags, soft preshrunk cotton, and moisture-wicking technology, it has everything you need. In line with all of Hanes’ other products, the ComfortSoft tank tops are reasonably priced within everyone’s budget.
Although I regularly recommend skipping on low-cost underwear for pairs that have a better value (but are considerably more expensive), I haven’t found any issues with Hanes tank tops that should deter you from buying them.
I usually wear more casual styles and don’t need to worry about armpit stains on dress shirts, so tank tops are my personal preference when it comes to undershirts. I wear Hanes’ on a daily basis and they hold up very well. — Amir Ismael
The best casual men’s undershirt
The heather gray V-neck T-shirt from J.Crew is an undershirt, yet also doubles as a casual tee.
Pros: Made of soft and durable combed cotton, slim fit, versatile, deep V-neckCons: It’s cut shorter in the body than other undershirts
Sizing options: X-Small-XX-Large
Undershirts are typically designed to be worn under collared shirts, but they’re still essentially just tees. This means that, so long as they’re styled right, there’s no reason you can’t pop on an “undershirt” with a pair of jeans for a simple, basic outfit.
As one of the premier brands of casual men’s style, it should come as no surprise that J. Crew made it into our list. This heather gray V-neck tee lives up to the brand’s simple-yet-stylish design ethos. It features a tailored cut that’s not baggy or restricting. It’s slim enough to be an undershirt and made of soft combed cotton, too.
The V-neck is also deep enough that you can safely undo a button on your collared shirt, but it’s not so low as to be unsuitable for casual wear. It’s a no-nonsense, well-made, nicely-styled staple tee that’ll get a lot of play in your rotation whether you’re wearing it under a dress shirt or just pairing it with jeans or chinos.
How to choose an undershirt
Here are some quick guidelines to follow when selecting an undershirt that’s right for you:
- Keep it fitted. Your dress shirts should be trim, not baggy and blousy, and so it stands to reason that you don’t want big, billowy undershirts, either. Many brands today are offering slimmer modern cuts for their clothing, and undershirts are no exception. Go with something more tailored or even opt for snug-fitting stretch undershirts which hug your torso like a glove.
- Avoid white. White is probably the most common color for undershirts. It’s also probably the worst. We’ve all seen it: The guy wearing a white or blue dress shirt with his white undershirt sleeves shining through like the sun. This is because white is a high contrast color that shows up very easily under other materials. Play it safe and keep it gray. This low-contrast shade will blend in much more easily so you’re not getting those unsightly “undershirt lines” under your dress shirt sleeves.
- Go with a V-neck. People have a lot of opinions about men sporting V-necks for casual wear, but for undershirts, it’s pretty much a requirement – especially if you’re going sans necktie, which you’ll probably do fairly often. Having the top of your undershirt peeking out behind your dress shirt collar screams “my mom made me wear a button-up shirt today,” but a V-neck cut keeps it nicely out of view below the neckline. If you already have a bunch of crew-neck undershirts, relegate them to casual wear or toss ’em.
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