Is Hollywood Starting A New Undershirt Fashion Trend? Undershirts Under V-Neck Sweaters

undershirt-under-sweater-01Undershirts have been part of American fashion and culture for a long time, dating back to the early 1900’s. 

Today, undershirts are still a key ingredient to many styles and are almost a defacto standard clothing item in much of Hollywood fashion.

It’s hard to turn the TV on and not see somebody wearing an undershirt.

In fact, I’ve been watching the morning shows today on myFOX LA and I’ve counted about 10-15 segments where celebrities are wearing undershirts either as their primary and only shirt, or underneath their shirts and visibly showing.

One thing I’ve been seeing a lot of lately appears to be a new (or renewed) fashion trend in Hollywood, using the undershirt as the base layer.

Case-in-point, the undershirt underneath a long sleeve v-neck sweater is a big favorite in many commercials and sitcoms that I’ve been seeing as of late.

Here are a few examples:

Starting at the top left: Ralph Macchio, guy in a Macy’s Ad, Daryl Chill from FOX’s show Brothers, guy in airTran commercial, Howie Long in Chevrolet commercial, Larry David (co-creator of Seinfeld & Curb Your Enthusiasm), one of the club promoter’s from The Hollywood Clique, Simon Baker from the latest episode of The Mentalist (in fact all the inmates are wearing undershirts!).

Also, here’s a link to the commercials that aired during game 4 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Angels where I picked up some of the shots above and where you’ll see several more commercials (even the cartoon ones) where undershirts are a staple base layer.

Long live the undershirt!

Although I’m not a big long sleeve sweater fan, I’m kinda liking this look. But, to pull it off properly, your undershirt needs to FIT correctly, be CLEAN and have a CRISP collar that doesn’t droop or sag!

Wondering if any of our style/image consultants (Alice & Lisa) or well dressed men like our friend Antonio can chime in here to let us know what they think of the look?

10 thoughts on “Is Hollywood Starting A New Undershirt Fashion Trend? Undershirts Under V-Neck Sweaters”

  1. I love wearing t-shirts and am always looking for ways to incorporate them into my casual ensembles. I also have a well developed sense of style. Unfortunately this look doesn’t work at all for me. Even when presented at its finest (e.g., Banana Republic ads) it’s passable at best. I can’t explain why that is but I will state as a principle that t-shirts only look good under collared pieces such as blazers, collared shirts or sweaters, or garments with mock neck. The framing of the collar makes a huge difference.

    With regard to v-neck sweaters, they look fantastic over a collared shirt (with collar inside)…and I much prefer the look of a v-neck sweater rather than a crew sweater over a collared shirt and have never seen a reason to own one because I also don’t like the look of a crew neck sweater over a t-shirt or by itself. As a result, unless I’m wearing a t-shirt by itself, it’s always under a collared piece.

    • sorry i missed your comment silver! you know, i do agree that a collared shirt does look better under a v-neck sweater than an undershirt.

      but, if the collared shirt was not an option, i’d recommend a crew neck undershirt under a v-neck sweater — but only if the undershirt had a complimentary/contrasting color to the v-neck sweater.

      i’m sure a white crew undershirt under a v-neck sweater can be passable in some circumstances, but i think something with a good contrast color would look a whole lot nicer. possibly a heather grey crew neck undershirt under a black or charcoal v-neck sweater?

      i’m no fashionisto, but that’s my opinion right now (which is subject to change)

  2. Jeez – now I have to stick up for my undershirt showing! OK – here goes..

    A ‘new’ fashion trend? I am sure that advertising agencies and wardrobe people who recommend what stars wear on TV have looked around and observed. When they want an average male look for a demographic, they have noticed one thing: a majority of guys wear undershirts. And, we are fine with the ‘wedge of white’ showing beneath our faces.

    Go to any restaurant at lunchtime on a weekday in a business district. If you scan the room, almost all of the guys will be wearing an undershirt. It may be herd mentality, but it is pretty much default business casual. For me, I don’t want my chest area and hair to show. It is a much less professional look than a bit of a T-shirt showing. With a dress shirt and tie, it looks better, too – the dress shirt lays better and is more solid looking. It just looks more put together.
    It is a little trickier on the casual side. I wear an undershirt sometimes, but most of the time, not, and I can see where it looks wrong in a lot of cases.
    But, I’m sorry. A V-neck sweater with a V-neck T-shirt or no undershirt just looks incomplete and, frankly, silly. It’s totally ’70’s. You wouldn’t recommend for a guy to wear feathered hair or a mesh shirt, so why bring back another fashion concept from that time?
    V-neck sweaters are not one of my favorite choices, anyway. If you’ve got to wear one, I can see wearing a dark T underneath,
    Most importantly, Fit is key. Ralph Macchio and the Air Tran guy just look goofy in the pics, because the undershirt is all bunched up, and riding too high. But, Howie Long’s looks kinda goofy because his sweater is cut so low (and it’s Howie Long. Come On. The undershirt is not the problem..)

    Bottom line – not giving up my crew necks! And, even though my T may have a high collar, it fits properly, and I don’t think you’d mistake me for a preacher, anyway!

    Just my two cents (OK, more like five..)

  3. Tug,

    Great article; and although I see both Alice & Lisa’s points about keeping the undershirt “under”, I have to disagree that it isn’t something you ever want to show. For a man with a large amounts of chest hair, a prominent manubrium (I think this is the bone at the base of the front of the neckJ), or a scar or disfigurement the undershirt conceals an unsightly part of the body while allowing the man to wear a V neck. With that being said I prefer, if it can be pulled off, a V neck undershirt. But even then a low cut V neck sweater will sometimes show the undershirt.

    Tug, you hit the nail on the head by pointing out that the shirt needs to have be well fitted in the neck and be crisp & clean. But another point I would throw out is to look for a grey undershirt that doesn’t create as much contrast as white against the outer garment. By minimizing the contrast you can better enable the focus to remain on the face vs., as Alice pointed out, the white wedge under your face.

    Finally I would just like to clarify that I believe undershirts are underwear and should be concealed to the best of your ability as such. But if you do show it, do it with style!

    Best regards,


  4. Dear Tug,

    As requested, I will put in my two cents. First and foremost, I think your observation is more of a sign of the season versus a new Hollywood fashion trend. Fall comes knocking and men answer the call with their v-neck sweaters.

    Personally speaking, I prefer an undershirt to be just that, UNDER your shirt. However, for a casual look, I am realistically accepting to the crew neck undershirt layered under the v-neck sweater as long as the undershirt doesn’t LOOK like an undershirt. If it has a wide ribbed collar (Hello Hanes?) such as three of your examples above; the look is rather off and very 8th grade if you get my drift. Even worse is when the undershirt is wrinkled and worn looking (look above for examples). Would you men appreciate seeing a woman with a worn, dirty, tired looking bra strap prominently showing? No thank you!

    A v-neck sweater, worn casually with a crew neck T is acceptable as long as your overall style can hold it and not leave you looking like you are a Preacher Man with a big, white collar. Those of you who have very narrow necks and small heads, I do NOT recommend this combination. The pop of white around your throat will just magnify a pin-head, nerdy persona.

    Now to address Tug’s comment above about the Fidelity commercial with the man in a dress shirt and crew neck undershirt showing…this is clearly a case of “just because you saw it on TV does not make it right.”

    Please keep it under your shirts gentlemen.

    All the Best,


    • thanks lisa! definitely good point about it being fall/almost winter and it being a factor for seeing more sweaters in fashion. that did cross my mind, but i wasn’t totally convinced that the wardrobe in tv shows and commercials would directly correlate to our seasons plus i was more commenting on the prominence of the white undershirt than i was the v-neck sweater. interesting. i did go shopping yesterday at a couple department stores and mostly saw a variety of sweaters to choose from – of which i wound up purchasing a few myself :)

      one other comment, i’m totally with lisa here and am not liking these really wide collars that some undershirt manufacturers are making. maybe they are trying to make these collars more prominent like all the new branded boxer brief waistbands that are 1.5″ – 2″ wide. on boxer briefs, it’s ok to have wider waistbands because i find them to be more comfortable. on undershirts, well, it looks a little silly. if you want a turtleneck, then you should wear one.

      undershirt collars should be no more than 1″ wide and ideally shouldn’t ride up your neck. i know there are tons of guys who like the tight-collared undershirts, but i wouldn’t recommend wearing those if you’re focusing on your style. keep the crew neck collars flat laying around your clavicle/collar bone area so they don’t peak out too much or wear a v-neck undershirt if you’re wearing an open collared shirt with a couple of buttons opened.

      that’s two for keeping the undershirt hidden, but an acknowledgment that a crew neck undershirt/t-shirt could be acceptable, but only under the circumstance as described in lisa’s comment. i assume we’ll hear the same kind of feedback from antonio, so gentlemen please take heed and take these fine lady’s advice!

  5. Tug, of course you like this look—you’re The Undershirt Guy! Seeing undershirts everywhere must be Undershirt Nirvana for you! Since you asked, here’s what I think: It’s so gross I want to vomit. Sorry… but you did ask me to chime in. :) Why would you want a white wedge under your face? Admit it, that’s the first thing you notice on all these guys. My undershirt philosophy: “Don’t ask, don’t tell, and most importantly—don’t ever show!”

    • thanks alice! that’s really funny. i know how much you hate it when the undershirt shows! so glad to have you chime in here though. maybe the stylists/costumers out here in LA are going for something different!

      of course, as i sit here typing and watching tv with mrs. tug, i see a fidelity commercial with a guy wearing a sport coat, jeans, button up casual shirt (unbuttoned a couple buttons), with a big white crew neck undershirt showing :)


Leave a Comment

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.