Tight Collar and High Collar Undershirts (T-Shirts). Are They The Same?

April 5, 2013 | By | 4 Replies More

I’m a stickler for trying to make sure things are very clear when it comes to using certain terminology. Whenever I write, or am talking with someone, my goal is to always make sure folks aren’t left too confused. Suffice it to say, I’m not always successful in doing so.

Brands and Marketing folks contribute to terminology-turmoil by mixing up meanings.  Some undershirts are marketed as t-shirts, t-shirts can be worn undershirts, antiperspirant is referred to as deodorant, deodorant is not antiperspirant, and what the hell is moisture wicking, anti-microbial, omni-stretch, and smart-fabric??

Geeze Louise, I’m freaking confused! (Not really)

When this reader wrote in, I realized that I’ve been a terminology-turmoil offender lately, regarding the topic of tight-collared undershirts. Here’s the reader’s question:

Hey Tug,

I stumbled across your website today and wanted to write to say what a great site you have!

I’m in the market for an undershirt with a tight collar that can be purchased from a regular brick and mortar store (i.e. Target, Walmart). Is there one that you recommend the best? I live in Toronto, Canada so it’s hard for me to order from a lot of the stores that you mention on your site (i.e. Pro5, Port & Co) without getting hit with high shipping and duties.

You mentioned the term ‘high collar’ a lot; what is that exactly? Is that the same as having a tight collar?

Thanks! Andrew

Tight Collar & High Collar Undershirts. What’s the Difference?

This was my response to Andrew.

heya andrew,

thanks for dropping by my site and for the compliment buddy! i really appreciate that *smile*

high collar does indeed mean the same thing as tight collar.  also t-shirts/undershirts with a “smaller neck opening” is the same. people refer to it as different things, so over the years, i’ve probably referred to it as all of the above, though they are all the same. the additional challenge, quite frankly, is that “tight collar” can mean different things to different people.

there is also one other minor nuance to this topic. some people are looking for undershirts or t-shirts with wide collar trim, such as the collar trim widths present on mock-neck undershirts or t-shirts.

also, keep in mind that i have articles on both “tight collared t-shirts” and “tight collared undershirts”, with the main difference between the two being the weight of the fabric. t-shirts are more often heavier than undershirts, but not 100% of the time. candidly, i think it’s a small crime that some manufacturers call undershirts t-shirts, and to make matters worse, there are plenty of light weight t-shirts that can be worn as undershirts. totally confusing, right??

here are the collection of articles related to “tight collared” or “high collared” undershirts and t-shirts:









while i don’t know this to be true, it is ever so slightly possible that some undershirts (or t-shirts) that find their way to canada-based stores aren’t the exact same as their usa-based counterparts. meaning for example, if you bought a fruit of the loom active collection 95/5 undershirt in canada, there’s a small possibility that it might not be exactly the same as the one i can get here in the usa. i would surprised if that did occur, but it’s a possibility.

now, if you want to know the secret of how to identify a tight-collared undershirt in-store, this is what i would recommend:

  1. sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get a link to my undershirt workbook. download and open it (in Excel)
  2. on the first tab, you’ll see a column called “front drop” (column ‘p’) and “collar opening” (column ‘r’)
  3. in general, any undershirt or t-shirt that has a front drop of 3″ or under could be classified as one with a tighter collar
  4. though, it also does depend on the collar opening width. the smaller the measurement, the tighter the collar fit
  5. either measure an undershirt or t-shirt you know has tight collar or find something in my workbook that has a low number in both columns above
  6. take a tape measure with you shopping and find a t-shirt or undershirt that has the measurements you’re looking for and buy it

anyway, that’s probably way more information about collar fit that you ever wanted to know about, but i hope the information above helps you in your undershirt quest!

if you have any other questions about the topic, please let me know!

Andrew’s Response

Thanks for the response and the extremely helpful information. I can honestly say, this is more information regarding undershirts that I could ever imagine receiving lol.

Who knew there was such a high demand for something as simple as a good quality undershirt. I thought I was crazy for even doing a google search on it, but then I saw the amount of people posting comments on your site so I knew others were interested as well.

I’ll definitely take a look at some of the links you sent me. I’m already interested in trying out the Jockey short sleeve mock neck shirt. I might tryout the Kirkland brand as well.

Thanks again and keep up the good work!

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Category: Ask Tug

About the Author ()

Tug is the world's undershirt expert. He is also one of the most knowledgeable individuals on sweat management solutions, men's shapewear, grooming, and new fabric technologies. Got a question? Visit Tug's contact page and hit him up.

Comments (4)

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  1. Tom


    I want to purchase 6 Jockey XL high collar tee shirts in white.

  2. Noah


    Hey Tug,

    Thanks for posting this information in one place. I haven’t had to buy undershirts for many yes until recently when I lost around 100 pounds.

    I never imaged it would be so difficult and frustrating to find an undershirt with a tight collar that looks nice under button down shirts.

    Finding your site was a really stress reducer.

    Thanks much and have a lovely day!


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