Looking For A Proper White T-Shirt?

Got this email a few months back from a reader in search of , what he feels is a “proper white t-shirt”:

Hi Tug,

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • A proper white t-shirt you’d wear as your outer layer (as in NOT an undershirt)
  • Short in length, ending around the belt (American Apparel shirts are too long for me, I’m 5’9”)
  • Most important: arm openings should hug my biceps instead of being loose and flaring out like a lampshade. I don’t even really have biceps, but I want it to hug my arms in a normal way (not a tight muscle guy at the gym way)
  • Something inexpensive that I can buy a few of would be nice, as opposed to those $80 Icebreaker shirts.

My favorite tshirt has been JCP’s Stafford Essentials Classic but (1) they’re a bit long for me, and (2) JCP doesn’t make them anymore :(

Any advice is appreciated, thanks!

Proper White T-Shirts

Image credit: Mister Freedom Skivvy T-shirt.
Image credit: Mister Freedom Skivvy T-shirt.

heya matt,


Rules to wearing undershirts

good to hear from you buddy! thanks for stopping by my site and sending in your question (:

I don’t have a ton of experience with plain white tees, but the ones that come to mind are:

  1. asos
  2. banana republic
  3. next level apparel
  4. express cotton/spandex

I think 1, 2, 4 would be good starting points. If I recall correctly, the t-shirts from next level apparel (#3) are a little bit longer.

there’s also a classic “skivvy” tee from mister freedom in los angeles, but it’s much more pricey at $59.95 per t-shirt.

the round (crew) neck t-shirt from pima king is shorter in length at 27.5″ (size large) too, but that’s $40 per t-shirt. 

hope that helps!

Plain White T-Shirts

A quick “plain white t-shirt” or “white tee” search on my site reveals a few search result pages of articles that address this topic in more detail.

In fact, there are a few articles about “short undershirts” that could be useful if you’re also looking for shorter (or proper length) white t-shirts, well, because many times “undershirts” can be wore alone as t-shirts.

It’s really a factor of fabric weight (opacity), fit, and length. While undershirts are generally thinner, longer, and more close fitting, some brands make them fit more like t-shirts being thicker, shorter, and looser.

There are also plenty of t-shirt blanks manufacturers, that make t-shirts — though I don’t know off hand the length of any of them.

Peter Manning & Shortwear.com are both brands that are focusing on the 5’8″ and under male demographic/market, so most certainly the t-shirts there will be shorter in length, though it’s not clear whether or not they normally carry white t-shirts or if they would be closer fitting around the arms. I have a sample Bella+Canvas shorter t-shirt from Shortwear.com, but the sleeves don’t fit close and the $38.99 price point might be a little out of reach for some. The T-shirts on PeterManning.com are currently $21 (normally $28).

My buddy Brock over at TheModestMan.com covers all things related to “short(er) men” so maybe he’ll be able to chime in here with some other ideas.

How To Locate A Proper / Plain White T-Shirt?

General rule of thumb — if you’re looking for a shorter t-shirt, you probably want something that is about 27″ long (in size large). For other sizes, just add or subtract about 1″ in length per size. Meaning, a shorter-in-length size Medium t-shirt should be around 26″ long.

Lastly, based on some fabric weight information I’ve been provided in the past, I’d say if you want something that has a little more weight to it, try to find a t-shirt that is at least 150gsm in weight, but not over 190gsm-200gsm, or it might be a little too heavy. You’ll have to email the company beforehand and ask them specifically to provide the GSM weight of the shirt.

Do You Have A Favorite Plain White T-Shirt (That’s not too long)?

If so, tell us about it in the comments section below


How to wear undershirts

4 thoughts on “Looking For A Proper White T-Shirt?”

  1. Hey Tug,

    I have a question which is I am looking fro only grey undershirts especially a-shirts. I have not so good experiences with all white ones. Can you recommend some brand names, Thanks!

    • heya shawn, good to hear from you buddy!

      i’d recommend doing a search here on my website for grey undershirts.

      there are a good handful of companies making grey t-shirts, grey undershirts, marled grey tees, or heather grey undershirts, and many of them are listed in different articles on my site.

      the only brands that i know of that offer daily-wear heather grey tank tops (a-shirts) are fruit of the loom, hanes, and uniqlo. though, companies like american apparel probably offer a tank top in a grey or heathered grey. there are some brands that offer grey compression tank tops, including equmen and gc2.

      if you’re by a uniqlo or american apparel store, or want to buy online, i’d recommend checking those out first. otherwise, my recommendation would be visit your local target or walmart and check out the heather grey a-shirt offerings from hanes or fruit of the loom.

      hope that helps!

    • awesome! thanks brock — appreciate you popping over and sharing your thoughts about shorter length undershirts!

      you’ll be my go-to guy when it comes to questions about items for guys looking for shirts/undershirts/t-shirts that are shorter in length (:

      keep up the good work!


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