Ask Tug: Looking for a thin, cotton, muscle-style undershirt? Not a wife-beater

jockey-echelon-muscle-tee-shirtAlthough I don’t cover muscle-undershirts all too often, I thought it would be good to share this reader’s question who is looking for a particular kind.

I guess one of the reasons I don’t make it a point to review or research muscle undershirts is because they seem of limited utility as an undershirt.

I guess I can see that they could be a good solution for guys looking to get the chest/back coverage (cover hair, absorb sweat) but don’t like the sleeves of the undershirt to show through their light colored outer shirts.

The obvious problem is that they don’t offer any underarm sweat protection.

If you’re not one who sweats much, then these muscle shirts might be a good solution for you, however, if you’re looking for an undershirt whose sleeves won’t show under light colored dress shirts, try out wearing a grey or heather grey undershirt in place of your white undershirt (or muscle tee).

Grey undershirts will reflect less light then white undershirts and will be more inconspicuous under those lighter shirts!

Regardless, here’s the reader’s email for your reading enjoyment:

Hi Tug,

I’ve looked through your site, and was interested by what I read.  But I  didn’t find the answer to my question.

My question is: Does anyone make a thin, all-or-mostly-cotton, muscle-style undershirt?

By “muscle-style”, I mean a crew-style shirt without the sleeves. 

In my mind, a “muscle style” undershirt covers the upper chest,  whereas a “wife-beater” has narrow straps that reveal some of the upper chest. I’m looking for the thinnest muscle-style undershirt that I can find with a high cotton content.

I’d be very interested to hear from you!


My Response:

hey j!

thanks for stopping by and sending in your question.

I don’t have any personal experience with muscle shirts, however, I know that several manufacturers offer them including Jockey, Hanes, FoTL.

If I were to make any recommendation, I’d suggest you try out the Jockey Echelon muscle tee since it looks like it has the same fabric as the Echelon undershirt I reviewed not too long ago and also happens to be one of my top 5 favorite undershirts.

I would assume the overall fit and feel will be the same, plus it will most certainly be even a little lighter and cooler than the full undershirt because the muscle t does not have sleeves.

if you wind up buying one and find out you like it, please email me back and  let me know your thoughts!


8/22/11 Update: Just found this 2(x)ist muscle shirt from on, but you can find a few more if you use their search function with the term “muscle” in it.

You’ll find ones from Andrew Scott and American Apparel.

11 thoughts on “Ask Tug: Looking for a thin, cotton, muscle-style undershirt? Not a wife-beater”

  1. Those life jockey muscle shirts were great. Those and the Hanes perfect T were my favs back then. Probably all made in that Bangladeshi factory that collapsed.

  2. Okay Hi TUG

    I have been searching for Evolve muscle shirt X-large 100% cotton. I have not found a store that sells them. I am looking for the apparel company who makes any of the muscle shirts. Any help?

    Every time I seem to find some thing that works for me it’s out of style, the factory burned to ground or someone thought we were not interested in buying. Just my luck.

    Thanks, Jermall

    • hey jermall, thanks for stopping by and posting your question.

      evolve is a jockey-brand product that normally sells at target. if you can’t find an evolve-brand muscle shirt, then you may want to look at some from jockey.

      some suggestions:
      1. search my site for the term “muscle” without the quotes. you’ll find some suggestions
      2. visit and search for “muscle” and see what undershirt/t-shirt options they offer
      3. check out sites like or, do the same search, and see what brands offer muscle shirts
      4. check out some of the companies that make t-shirt blanks. they may also offer some muscle t-shirts that’ll likely be pretty inexpensive too.

      hope that helps!

  3. Mervyn’s carried a black, ribbed, cotton muscle shiirt with a tag that read 2(X), but it was not a 2(X)ist shirt. Mervyn’s is now gone, but I sure would like to find those shirts.

    • hey conrad, yeah man – there aren’t too many ribbed muscle shirts still available. if you haven’t already done so, you might want to do a search on my blog for “muscle shirt”.

      here’s a link to an article about a reader who is really picky about his muscle shirts, and offers up a recommendation. (they aren’t ribbed though).

      if you still have one of those 2(X) ribbed cotton muscle shirts, grab me all the tag information, including the rn# and let me see what i can find out.

  4. my husband really love the life muscle shirts.. He wear then as under shirts… Walmart is not selling them anymore. Do you know of another store or website where i can purcahse some more please

  5. I wear either muscle t-shirts or a-shirts as undershirts, depending on whether or not I want the undershirt to show at the neck. I find both comfortable because they are sleeveless.

    The muscle shirt that I would highly recommend is Life (the label that Jockey manufactures for sale in Wal-Mart). High quality, all cotton, available in white and a variety of colors, designed specifically to be an undershirt, (and not an outer shirt), exceptionally comfortable, and reasonably priced ($8.50 or $9.00 for a pack of two). These are the best muscle undershirts that I have seen anywhere.

    I also wear Life brand a-shirts – also high quality.

    I never wear undershirts that have sleeves.



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