Ask Tug: What is the proper length for an undershirt?

I’m glad I’m finally getting around to covering the topic about proper undershirt length. It should be of no surprise to those who follow my blog regularly that I like fitted undershirts that are cut longer. But the question here is how long should an undershirt really be? If it’s too short, it’ll come untucked. If it’s too long, there is a possibility that it will bunch up underneath your pants and add unnecessary bulk. Well, I had an email exchange with a reader several months back about the topic, and I thought it would be good to share it here.

Tugs,

Sorry if this has been covered before. I searched the blog but haven’t found the answer. What is the proper length for an undershirt?  Sometime the shirts are so long I feel like I’m wearing a dress. To me, they should end just about the top of the greater trochanter. (where your hip bone stick out of the side of your leg.) I know that the average guy is about  5’9”-6’.  I’m pretty short. (5’6”)  I would expect that they would be long for me anyway. Yes, I can shorten them and have.  Just like your opinion.

P

My Response:

hey p,

sorry for the delay in getting back to you. things have been pretty busy over here at tug central!

your question about undershirt length is a really good question and while there are articles on my site that imply what my opinion is on the optimal undershirt length, there isn’t any one post that addresses it directly. so, we’ll do that right now and I’ll make an article out of it too!

as with many of my other recommendations, the answer to that question really depends on the specific type of undershirt you wear.

for most cases, I agree with you 100% in where the bottom of your undershirt should fall.  you see, my general opinion is that for an undershirt to stay properly tucked in, the bottom of your undershirt should fall roughly 6″ beneath the waistline of your pants/trousers which is roughly the same location as where your greater trochanter resides.  now, the challenge with me making that statement is that all undershirts are not created equal, so while that length will work great for many undershirts it may not for others.

my favorite undershirts are those that are lightweight, fitted, and cut a little longer. having this combination of features assures me that:

1. my outer shirts will lay nicely over my undershirt
2. I won’t get the dreaded “bunch up” effect
3. the shirt will stay tucked all day long, regardless of how I stretch or bend

I switched to these kinds undershirts [longer cut fitted ones] a couple of years ago and I’ll never go back to wearing a standard, unfitted, short undershirt ever again!

that being said, if you are a wearer of a traditional baggy, square/box cut, non-fitted undershirts, having an undershirt bottom falling 6″ or more underneath your waistline could be a disaster waiting to happen since there will likely be too much fabric gathering under your pants and you’ll likely look bulkier (not that you have a problem with that).

so, I’ll go on record stating that for most undershirts, especially fitted ones, I agree with you in saying that the proper and ideal length for an undershirt is when the bottom of it falls about 6″ lower than my pant’s waistline (near your greater trochanter as you so articulately pointed out). For my height of 5’9″ and average torso length, this equates to having an undershirt with an overall length that is roughly 29″ – 30″ (after washing). For someone of your height, assuming you have an average torso length as well, I’d say that finding an undershirt with an overall length of around 26″ would probably be just the right length.

btw, thanks for educating me on a new part of the human anatomy! thanks again for sending in your question.

best,
tug

His Response:

Tugs,

Ok thanks for the response.  I am right on in my  thinking about the length. I wear fitted more sport type with lots of stretch. I converted a few years ago and can’t imagine wearing a boxy cut standard shirts for just the reason you mentioned. I think the boxy cut make a smaller man like me look like he’s wearing a diaper. lol   It’s the bunching you mentioned.

Enjoy the blog!
Thanks again

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