Where To Find a Form-Fitting Undershirt That’s Not Too Tight

There’s a fine line between form-fitting undershirts and those so form-fitting that they’re uncomfortable. What’s perfect for one person may be too tight – or too loose on someone else. It all depends on the individual. How tight should undershirts be, anyway?

An undershirt is a layer of clothing that serves many purposes: it absorbs sweat, hides chest hair, and creates a smooth line under your clothing. Good undershirts are tight-fitting but shouldn’t be constricting.

Remember, t-shirts aren’t undershirts! A t-shirt is outerwear – an undershirt is underwear. Wearing a t-shirt or a poorly fitting undershirt under clothing looks sloppy, creates bulk, and makes a lousy impression on whomever you’re dressing for (including yourself).

Here’s the reader question that inspired this article:

Hi Tug,

I am looking for the perfect white crew-neck undershirt.

I recently bought the Polo 3-pack classic crew at Macy’s, and out of the package they were great. But, after one wash, they lost their shape and each shirt fit completely different.

It’s highly disappointing since I spent $34 on them and really liked them. I’m not looking for a slim fit undershirt, but it still has to fit, if that makes sense.

Could you please recommend a form fitting shirt that keeps its shape wash after wash, but that’s not too tight and with a longer length?

Are undershirts having “combed cotton” a good option?

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon!


Rules to wearing undershirts

– Joe

Form Fitting Undershirts: Tug’s Advice

Hey Joe,

Thanks for sending in your question!

It’s surprising that you had that experience with the Polo classic crews. I read a bunch of reviews about them on freshpair.com, and most people liked them because they were really soft.

That being said, if they aren’t keeping their shape and you’re looking for something else, let’s see if we can find something for you.

The most common form-fitting undershirts are made from stretch cotton, mostly 95% cotton and 5% spandex/lycra. It looks like your Express stretch tees are on that list too. (Question: Is the H&M made out of a 95/5 blend)?

Since I’m not clear on how the Express stretch tees fit, you may find other 95/5 blends that fit a little looser, but you’ll have to try them out to be sure.

My Suggestions for Men’s Form-Fitting Undershirts

If you’re looking for something slim-fitting, you might be interested in one of the following.

Thompson Tee Slim Fit Crewneck Undershirt

Thompson Tee’s slim-fit undershirts fit discreetly beneath your favorite shirt or sweater, comfortably hugging your body for a streamlined look and feel that’s seamless under layers. 

Bonus: Thompson Tee’s patented sweat proof technology protects your clothes from armpit sweat, stains and odor. 

Thompson Tee Men’s Sweat Proof Undershirt – Slim Fit Crewneck, $38.99

Fabric: 95% Premium Rayon from Bamboo and 5% Spandex

Pro tip: Wear an undershirt that’s gray or skin tone to help it “disappear” under your clothing, especially if you’re wearing a white dress shirt.

Tommy John Second Skin Crew Neck Stay-Tucked Undershirt 2.0

Tommy John’s Stay-Tucked Undershirt now has 30% more stretch and recovery, so it keeps its shape wash after wash. In addition, its stretch rib, lay flat Memory Collar eliminates “bacon neck,” and its longer, tapered design never comes untucked.

Tommy John’s Second Skin Crew Neck Stay-Tucked Undershirt 2.0, $43.00

Fabric: 90% Micro Modal, 10% Spandex

Fruit of the Loom Men’s Everlight Undershirt with 4-Way Stretch

Fruit of the Loom’s breathable undershirts feature 4-way stretch, giving you ease of movement and flexibility all day.

Fruit of the Loom Men’s Everlight Undershirt with 4-Way Stretch, $17.37 (3-pack)

Fabric: 78% Nylon; 22% Spandex

Neat™ Crew Neck Undershirt

Neat’s technical crew neck undershirts are made with Neat™ Fabric to keep sweat hidden. Its fitted construction tucks comfortably under dress shirts and polos. However, while Neat’s white undershirts help block sweat from passing through your outer shirt, they may look “wet” if worn on their own.

Neat™ Crew Neck Undershirt, $29.99

Fabric: 95% Premium Cotton / 5% Spandex

2(X)IST Pima Cotton Slim Fit Deep V-Neck T-Shirt

2(X)IST’s undershirts are soft to the touch and resist tearing, fraying, pilling, and wrinkling.
Note: These shirts shrink slightly after washing for a more body-defining fit, so size accordingly.

2(X)IST Pima Cotton Slim Fit Deep V-Neck T-Shirt, $10.52 – $33.92

Fabric: 100% Pima Cotton

Are Undershirts Featuring Combed Cotton a Good Option?

The short answer is that combed cotton is the main fabric of most undershirts nowadays. The main differences in how these undershirts feel are the weight and weaving style of the material.

Undershirts from Hanes and Fruit of the Loom use combed cotton. However, the fabric is a tighter-weaved jersey, so they won’t be as stretchy as others. 

Some jersey undershirts can have a loose-knit weave, so they will stretch more than a tight-weaved jersey. For example, rib combed cotton undershirts (1×1 or 2×1) will have a natural stretch due to the weaving style and fit a wide variety of body styles.

What About Wearing Tank Tops As Undershirts? 

Tank tops (also called wife beaters back in the day – but that’s another story) aren’t ideal undershirts. They don’t absorb sweat well, and their outlines can be seen under dress shirts. Pass.

Update: Joe’s Response

Hey Tug,

Thanks for the advice!

The H&M slim fit undershirts that I was telling you about are called Fine Stretch Cotton, 50% Organic Cotton, 45% cotton, and 5% Elastane.

Once again, thanks for everything, and thanks for the follow-up. I’ll be sure to check back into your site once in a while for any new updates!

Want more intel on undershirts and underwear? Check out these blog articles:

The Best List of Made in USA Undershirts and T-Shirts

Do You Tuck Your Undershirts Into Your Underwear? Robert Downey Jr. Does.

#1 Reason Why Your Undershirt & Underwear Should NOT Match


Sweat Proof Undershirts

12 thoughts on “Where To Find a Form-Fitting Undershirt That’s Not Too Tight”

  1. My major issue with most undershirts is that after time they shrink and start to get rough. That makes them worthless to me at that point. I want a material that is going to stay comfortable and the same size it was when i originally purchased it at. How does this H&M undershirt do over time?

    • heya travis, i’m not sure how the h&m feels over time — maybe someone else here does??

      material itself isn’t what determines how soft it will get over time. it’s the quality of the fabric that really determines this.

      start with a good quality fabric, and it will age well over time and better/softer than low-quality fabric.

  2. Sure it was $12.95 Canadian, I’m not sure what the price would be in teh states. I took a picture of me wearing it right out the box, I can email you my picture. I Don’t see your email anywhere on your site. Or I’m blind

    • funny. look at my logo at the top of the site. tug [at] undershirtguy [dott] com.

      send over the photo and i’ll include it here in the site (or in one of your comments).

  3. I actually have 4 pairs of H&M fine stretch cotton V necks. They are slim fit but not that tight to me at least.

    They wash really well. For the price they are the best option for people who are looking for decent quality and great fitting shirt.

    • hey dominic, thanks for making the additional recommendation for the h&m tees! i have an h&m very close to me so when i get the chance, i’m gonna see if i can pick them up and give them a test drive.

      honestly, i need to go undershirt shopping again to see who’s got the latest and greatest products!

      • Hi Tug,

        Sounds good. I have quite a few undershirts and the H&M is one of my favourites. I wear them 99% of the time under a dress shirt for work, the other 1% is when I’m on vacation and I need a cool, comfortable shirt to just relax in.

        I’ve tried CK, Polo, and Armani as well. I considered the ribbed tee based on your review but I’ll wait for another time to test out their shirts.

        h&m heather grey v-neck undershirt

      • hey dominic, what’s the fabric blend of the h&m? does it have any spandex it in.

        for reference, the ribbed tee doesn’t have any spandex in it. the ribbing in the shirt is what allows it to stretch and recover, but the recovery during daily wear isn’t as pronounced as an undershirt with spandex. the shirts recover after each laundering though. the 1×1 rib micromodal line keeps it’s shape better than the 2×1 classic line because the ribbing on the micromodal is tighter.

  4. I bought hanes boy boxers they are the worst underwear I have ever had. They have a seam in the middle that is uncomfortable and rides up. A friend of mine had the same problem and she threw hers out. I am going to buy another brand such as fruit of the loom. Also I tried to get online to Hanes and email them of this complaint, however you can’t. Just wanted people to know and I am a Hanes fane. I was really surprised by this.
    Thank you.

    • wow, that’s interesting michelle, but not surprise. i’ve heard lots of people complain about hanes lately which is too bad. they’ve generally offered a great value product, but it seems like their construction and/or fabric quality has been lacking recently.

      keep me posted on what you find with your fruit of the loom tests.


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