Best Undershirt To Wear Under A White Dress Shirt

Wondering what to wear under a white dress shirt? You aren’t alone.

If you have ever tried to wear a white dress shirt without an undershirt, you’ve likely both seen and felt how uncomfortable this omission can be.

Not every undershirt is created equal, so it’s important to choose the right one for each occasion to stay comfortable and appropriately dressed. This article will explain how to choose an undershirt based on your dress shirt, and some fashion mistakes to avoid.

Spoiler Alert: As a general rule of thumb, you should always wear an undershirt under a white dress shirt, unless it is a very thick white dress shirt. Now, let’s get into the specifics.

Undershirts – The Unsung Hero

Undershirts are truly the unsung hero in a man’s wardrobe. You don’t see them (or at least you shouldn’t), but they are incredibly important.

Believe it or not, the humble undershirt has various functions. All of them shape and polish your outfit. They will keep you warm or help you stay cool. In short, they are necessary to the well-styled man.

But what about wearing undershirts under white dress shirts? In many cases you can see the undershirt underneath it! So what do you do?

Don’t skip the undershirt. Read on and learn how to find the perfect undershirt for your white dress shirt.

The Truth About White Dress Shirts

White is a color you wear to both casual and formal events. It is spotless and crisp. When you wear it, it speaks volumes about you and portrays your confidence.

It’s a classic choice that can be paired with any type of pants and any suit. Dress it up or dress it down, white is forever.

There is a slight problem with white dress shirts, however. They can be sheer. In the right light, you can see right through them. A see-through shirt is embarrassing and distracting.

Best undershirt to wear with a white dress shirt

Instead of communicating respect and prestige, a translucent shirt speaks volumes of sloppiness, carelessness, and naivety.

Spending just a little time adding an undershirt will enhance your overall look. It will elevate your style and give you more confidence too.

So what undershirt do you wear under a white dress shirt? There are a ton of options out there including:

  • Tank tops
  • Crew neck undershirts
  • V-neck and deep v-neck undershirts
  • Plain white t-shirts

How do you know what to choose? This guide will take you through the entire decision-making process.

You’ll learn about the different types of undershirts, different dress shirts, and how to decide which undershirt to buy.

What is an Undershirt?

Before we look at which undershirt to buy, let’s answer one very common question:

What exactly is an undershirt?

The simplest answer is just like it sounds: an undershirt is a piece of underwear that you wear under your shirt.

Undershirts are made to be:

  • Close Fitting – they won’t bunch under your dress shirt
  • Stay Tucked length – long enough so they will not come untucked during the day
  • Comfortable – made with the softest fabrics, they feel like a second skin
  • Sweat Capturing – they absorb sweat and protect it from getting on your dress shirt
  • Breathable – the fabrics help your skin breath so it doesn’t overheat
  • Covering – they cover up the nipples and other parts of your chest, so they don’t show through
  • Protecting – they protect your dress shirts from sweat and odors. But they also protect your skin from rubbing against rough dress shirt linens and materials

Just like underwear has a purpose, so do undershirts. They are just as important and should be a regular part of every man’s wardrobe.

A T-Shirt is NOT an Undershirt

It’s easy to get them confused since undershirts can sometimes look just like t-shirts. They have the same color and shape. But there are lots of ways t-shirts are different from undershirts.

The simplest way to explain it is this: a t-shirt is outerwear and an undershirt is underwear. Because they have different functions, they are actually made with different fabrics and in different sizes.

Confident business man wearing undershirt under white dress shirt and tie

For more information about the main differences between t-shirts and undershirts, please be sure to check out this article.

Best Types of Undershirts to Wear Under a White Dress Shirt

Now you know what an undershirt is, how it’s different from a standard t-shirt, and why white dress shirts need to be paired with undershirts.

Let’s look at my top picks for undershirts that work best for white dress shirts.

You’ll want to choose a color that matches your skin tone. More information about matching undershirt color with skin tone is provided below.

Undershirt fabric weight also needs to be considered, and will depend on several factors including the weight of your dress shirt, the weather, and your thermal comfort needs.

Here are some ideas on how to match an undershirt with your white dress shirt:

Heavy white dress shirts (not see through):

SeasonUndershirt WeightUndershirt Color
WinterAverage to heavy weight undershirt (150+ gsm)White, tan / nude / beige, or light grey
SummerThin lightweight undershirts (100-150 gsm)White, tan / nude / beige, or light grey

Lightweight white dress shirts (somewhat see through):

SeasonUndershirt WeightUndershirt Color
WinterHeavyweight undershirt (160+ gsm)Tan / nude / beige or light grey
SummerThin lightweight undershirts (100-150 gsm)Tan / nude / beige or light grey

What Style Of Undershirt To Wear Under a White Dress Shirt

There are different shapes and types of undershirts from which you can choose. Here’s an introduction to them and a few tips about how to choose the best one for your needs.

Crew Neck

Crew neck undershirts are classic and one of the most common worn undershirt styles.

The cut of the neckline is more curved and sits higher, close to the neck. These are a good choice if you are going to keep your white dress shirt completely buttoned up. For example, if you ware wearing a tie.

Where to buy: tommyjohn.com

tommy john white crew neck undershirt
Crew Neck Undershirt (Tommy John)

Where to buy: thompsontee.com

thompson tee slim fit white crew neck undershirt
Thomson Tee Slim Fit Crew Neck Undershirt (Made in America)

Where to buy: ejis.com

ejis white crew neck undershirt
White Crew Neck Undershirt (Ejis)

V-Neck

Regular v-neck undershirts have short sleeves and the neckline normally dips into a curved v shape.

Wear these undershirts if you like to keep your dress shirt slightly unbuttoned and don’t want your undershirt to show through the top. You can also pick a high v-neck undershirt if you like the comfort of a v-neck but don’t need one that dips so low.

Where to buy: tommyjohn.com

tommy john white v-neck undershirt
V-Neck or High V-neck Undershirt (Tommy John)

Where to buy: thompsontee.com

thompson tee original fit high v-neck sweat-proof undershirt
Thompson Tee Original Fit High V-Neck Sweat-Proof Undershirt (Made in USA)

Where to buy: ejis.com

ejis white v-neck undershirt
Ejis White V-Neck Undershirt

Deep V-Neck

For men who enjoy leaving their shirts unbuttoned even further, there are deep v-neck undershirts too. The bottom of the v stops right about armpit height.

Where to buy: tommyjohn.com

tommy john white deep v-neck undershirt
Deep V-Neck Undershirt (Tommy John)

Where to buy: thompsontee.com

thompson tee slim fit deep v-neck sweat-proof undershirt
Thompson Tee Deep V-Neck Sweat-Proof Undershirt (Made in USA)

Where to buy: ejis.com

ejis deep v-neck undershirt
Ejis Deep V-Neck Undershirt

For more information, check out my article about where to buy deep v-neck undershirts.

Tank Top

Tank top undershirts are sleeveless with thin straps on the top.

A lot of men choose to wear tank tops because they don’t have sleeves, so they are cooler and less likely to be visible underneath short sleeves.

Where to buy: tommyjohn.com

tommy john white tank top undershirt
Tank Top Undershirt (Tommy John)

If you’re curious as to the history of tank top undershirts, you’ll find a good deal of information in this article over on RibbedTee.com.

Best Color Undershirt For White Dress Shirts

Choosing the type of undershirt is the first step. Next, you have to pick out the right color.

When you are choosing an undershirt, remember this rule: it should not show through.

Will a white undershirt show through? Or will it blend in perfectly? The best color undershirt for a white dress shirt is not necessarily white. With some complexions, and depending on the thickness of the shirt, a white undershirt can be seen through your white dress shirt.

Look at your skin tone. How tan or dark is it? Pick a shirt that has the least amount of contrast. If it matches your skin tone, it will become almost invisible under your white shirt.

Neutral Colored Undershirts (Invisible)

Depending on your skin tone, you can choose from one of the following neutral-colored undershirts:

  • Tan (nude, beige, sand)
  • Medium or dark brown
  • Light grey or heather grey

In most cases, those who have darker skin should choose the light grey or medium/dark brown undershirt. If you are paler, go with a tan one.

Tan (nude, beige, sand) Undershirts

Where to buy: thompsontee.com

thompson tee slim fit beige-nude sweat-proof undershirt
Thompson Tee Slim Fit Beige/Nude Undershirt (Made in America)

Where to buy: Amazon

albert kreuz light nude beige deep v-neck undershirt
Albert Kreuz Nude/Beige Deep V-Neck Undershirt

Light Grey or Heather Grey Undershirts

Where to buy: thompsontee.com

Where to buy: ejis.com

For more information about selecting the right color undershirt based on your skin tone and shirt color, please click here.

Wear deep v-neck tan undershirt under white dress shirt with open collar

Benefits of Undershirts with Dress Shirts

There are so many benefits of wearing undershirts underneath your dress shirts. These range from comfort to style. Here are some more reasons why you should always wear an undershirt with a white dress shirt.

Extra Warmth

On cooler days, that extra layer will keep your body temperature higher and make you feel warmer. It works by protecting your skin from cool wind and the colder outer fabric of your dress shirt.

Keeps You Cool

On the flip side, it will also keep your body cooler in warmer temperatures too.

This works by letting your skin breath and protecting your skin from the dress shirt’s fabric. On hotter days, wear a lightweight undershirt.

To learn more, please read this comprehensive article about wearing undershirts during summer.

Gives You A Polished Look

Another benefit of undershirts is that it gives you a polished look.

Everything is smoother, no one can see your hairy chest (unless you want them to), and it smoothes your chest (no nipples showing through).

Protects Your Shirt

It’s important to protect your dress shirts and help them last as long as possible.

Wearing an undershirt will prevent underarm stains and protect your shirts from daily wear tear – like from sweating.

Manages Odor and Sweat

Finally, an undershirt will also prevent sweat and odor from escaping. They provide an extra layer of fabric between your skin and everyone else.

Be sure to check out my Top 9 Sweat Management Solutions article. It contains information about sweat blocking undershirts, sweat proof underwear, various antiperspirant & sweat-reducing options, and much more.

Should You Wear an Undershirt Under a Linen Shirt?

Linen dress shirts are more business casual than formal. So it’s a good question — should you wear an undershirt with a linen shirt?

Yes, in some cases you still need to wear an undershirt with a linen shirt. It will protect your linen shirt from sweat stains and odors. For a comprehensive look at wearing undershirts under linen shirts, check out this article.

How to Stay Cool When Wearing an Undershirt

You might think that layering two different fabric will overheat you.

If you are going to a really hot climate or are going to be wearing a dress shirt in the summertime, pick an undershirt made from fabric that is lightweight, breathable, and wicks away moisture.

Always pick undershirts that keep you cool by letting your skin breath and absorbing and wicking away sweat. For a list of undershirts that will keep you cool, check out my article about thin lightweight undershirts.

What is the Best Undershirt To Buy

Now that you know which color of undershirt to wear with a white dress shirt, what is the best one? There are so many to choose from. When you are choosing an undershirt, look at the fabric, comfort, fit, and style. Pick something that will feel and look like a second skin.

Fabric

First, always pick out an undershirt with breathable fabric. 

Fabric breathability is dependent on many factors, including yarn denier, yarn blend, weight, knit style, and any other special finishing treatments performed on the fabric.

When picking undershirts, be sure you keep the above in mind to ensure the greatest level of thermal comfort.

Comfort

Since an undershirt hugs so close to your body, you need something that is extra soft. Pick something that feels like a second skin.

Fit

Something else to keep in mind when you are buying undershirts is to buy the right size. Always pick an undershirt that hugs close to your body. This will help the undershirt do its job, which is to absorb the sweat and protect your skin.

Style

Finally, buy an undershirt with a neckline that matches how you wear your white dress shirts.

Keep your undershirts hidden. If you like to unbutton your dress shirt a bit, then wear a v-neck or even a deep v-neck.

Summary: Wearing an Undershirt Under a White Dress Shirt

Undershirts are just as essential as underwear.

Picking the right type & color undershirt to go with your white dress shirt doesn’t have to be stressful. Choose something lightweight and in a color that matches your skin closely, and you’ll be well-groomed and ready to take on the world.

Always keep comfort and style both in mind when you are choosing an undershirt. Then, slide into your white dress shirt, suit up, and nothing can stop you!

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