Ran across this post on blog “Blowing Shit up with Gas” from blogger Patrick where he highlights some benefits of wearing undershirts.
He also takes an interesting position on tank tops.
11/16/08 Update: Also check out this “Wearing an Undershirt – What about Style?” blog post for more information about wearing undershirts.
Now read on!
One of the presumed functions of an undershirt is to act as a buffer between the upper body and the outer shirt.
Any sweat, for example, theoretically goes into the undershirt, thus prolonging the life and the general well being of the outer shirt.
You may be sensing some ironic point here — namely, that adding an undershirt likely also makes us warmer, which may cause additional sweating, in which case you’d be clever to ask: Why wear one?
However, in my experience, this simply isn’t true.
Undershirts are light-weight and do not cause noticeable increases in perspiration.
The tank-top variety makes absolutely no sense.
If the undershirt’s function has to do with perspiration, why eliminate the very regions (the armpits) most involved in that function?
If anything, there should be a reverse-tank top model that covers only the armpits and nothing else.
Novel, aye, but that would seem weird.
And, hey, there have been great strides in modern times vis-a-vis labeling.
So, if that’s holding you back from incorporating the undershirt into your daily routine, it’s time to visit Target once again.
See, they print the labels these days — yep, right on the fabric.
No more annoying, itchy tag on the back-of-the-neck!
So, go out and celebrate the undershirt today.
You’ll be glad you did.
While I generally agree with Patrick, as with everything else that I write, I definitely have an opinion to share:
Completely agree that undershirts CAN keep you cooler.
However, the important factor in keeping you cooler, is the type of material the undershirt is made out of.
What I’ve been finding is that some (not all) of the newer fabric blends are slightly heavier and can make you feel warmer than some traditional 100% cotton undershirts.
Some will claim that moisture-wicking undershirts will keep you cooler by pulling moisture away from your body, but I have not yet found a moisture-wicking undershirt that has actually made me feel cooler than the regular undershirts I wear (which are made of cotton).
Of course, it goes without saying, that everyone is different and what works for one individual won’t necessarily work for another.
Try a variety of undershirts to find the one that keeps you the coolest.
I also posted some other thoughts on moisture wicking undershirts in this post a couple of weeks ago.
Tank tops are an interesting topic.
Personally, I don’t wear tank tops (“wife beaters”) frequently because I primarily wear undershirts to protect my outerwear.
However, for those that aren’t looking for that kind of protection, tank top undershirts can provide some value over not wearing an undershirt at all.
For example, since most wife beater tank tops are form fitting and are typically made out of a stretchy ribbed cotton material, they can provide some value by covering up the nipples and holding your stomach and love handles in a bit — essentially providing a slight “trimming” effect.
Keep in mind that there are some companies that offer form fitting undershirts (with sleeves) that not only give you the same trimming effect, but they also protect your outerwear.
Reverse tank top model covering only the armpits.
This does exist in products like Hollywood Behind the Seams apparel shields, Sweat Shields from Kleinert’s, Garment Guard disposable colored cotton discs, and the disposable dress shields from Advantagewear.com.
Basically they are disposable absorbent pads, some made out of moisture wicking material, that adhere to the underarm area of your shirts that soak up the sweat.
At the end of the day, you just remove the pads and throw them away (or some can be washed.
I’m not totally sold on the real value of printed labels.
If you ask me, I think it’s more of a marketing gimmick.
I have plenty of undershirts that have nice soft satin label tags on them and I can honestly say that I never feel them on the back of my neck.
While this may sound a little silly, I will tell you one benefit of undershirts that have labels.
If you think about it, it’s really easy to find the back of the shirt and makes it easy for me to slip on an undershirt in the dark (i.e. early in the morning when I just wake up) without accidentally putting it on backwards.
Now, if an undershirt has a scratchy paper-like label, I agree that a printed on label would be far superior.
Thanks Patrick for taking the time to write the article!