Our good friend “C” in Cali is back with his latest “Why I Wear..” article! This time he found inspiration in the benefits of wearing the ever-so-practical and increasingly popular v-neck undershirt. Let’s see what he has to say about them:
With this new interest in V-neck undershirts, I thought it was time to temporarily hang up my comfy “A” shirts and give the “V” shirts a try. I went with a Merona high cut vee neck from Target. Inexpensive, comfortable, wears well and good looking even in basic white. Since you’ve been featuring stories about V-necks, I thought it was time to write a new “Why I Wear” piece which is attached for your edits and publication, if warranted.
Keep up the great work on your site, and just for fun tell us what undershirts Mrs. Tug likes to see you wear.
“C” in Cali
Why I Wear A V-Neck Undershirt
written by: “C” in Cali
L.A. may not be Milan when it comes to fashion and style, but what happens in L.A. almost never stays there. If V-neck undershirts are now the rage on the West Coast, you can be sure they’re coming your way soon. And if you think V-neck undershirts are only cool in the creative capital of the world, think again: Hanes believes in them enough to colorize them, Tug seems to be giving more attention to them, and all those Avatar-like mannequins at Macy’s seem covered in them. So the Decade of the 10’s may be the Decade of the V’s with corporate types switching from their crew neck T’s and the edgy types in tank tops trading up to more coverage. We’ll just have to wait and see.
The V-neck undershirt is a timeless breed, but only of late is it creating its own personality. In the past, a V-neck undershirt was “underwear” draping over white boxers before boxers morphed into tartan plaids and befriended wife-beaters. A V-neck was a T-shirt with an almost always deep cut vee neck line. It was a hybrid that seemed to want to be a tank top with sleeves, or maybe body armor like a crew neck T-shirt with a little less fabric. Colors? Get a crew neck. Ribbed cotton? Get an athletic shirt. A V-neck undershirt was downright dowdy and came out to play only when it was time to shave and then quickly covered itself under a crisp shirt. So how has this once purely functional undershirt become a fashion statement? Let’s take a closer look at the V neck undershirt and try to find out why many of us now wear them—at least more than we once did.
- Fit and Shape – A good V-neck undershirt just about covers the whole torso area including some upper arm with its short sleeves. Regardless of your body shape, a V-neck undershirt does its best to package you up. The fit of most shirts has some breathing room depending on your size and the shirt’s size. It’s unlikely to lose its shape as quickly as a well-worn athletic shirt or fray the collar (there really isn’t one) like a T-shirt. You won’t see any protrusions: tank top straps when wearing light weight shirts or a T-shirt collar extending outside a knit shirt.
- Comfort – A good reason for choosing high V-necks will be to cover up any chest hairs. V-necks are comfortably warm and nicely cover most of the upper body. Unlike wearing athletic shirts, though, be prepared for less flexibility in the arms and upper body, and yes they can tear after multiple stretches at the gym. If you’re a regular tank top wearer (and many of us are), you will appreciate a bit of a barrier to perspiration and some warmth thanks to the shoulder covering and short sleeves. If you’ve been wearing crew T-shirts you may find the “V” less constraining (and far less obtrusive) at the neck. Another benefit is the extra ventilation not afforded with a traditional T-shirt.
- Versatility – The benefit to a V-neck shirt over a T-shirt is that you can do away with the tightness around the neck and the unattractive white collar when your dress shirt is opened one or two buttons. And you don’t have to worry about matching color to your shirt as you often do with the peek-a-book T-shirt. About color: Tug has written about colored V-necks soon to be offered by Hanes. Style is personal, but if your V-Neck shirt is functioning solely as an undershirt, consider sticking to white. It looks clean whether in a T-shirt, V-neck, or tank top. Unless you’re wearing a good cotton pinpoint or a deep color dress shirt, it just doesn’t seem right to risk show-through with competing colors.
But who says a V-neck has to be worn only under a shirt? V-necks in colors have a great casual look that can be worn anywhere at any time, and good restaurants and clubs will readily admit V-necks over beaters. The only real limitation is that a V-neck undershirt under a V-neck sweater looks redundant, regardless of the color, and is no substitute for a layered crew neck or tank top. Of course, a “deep cut” V-neck might work under a V-neck sweater. This brings us to the debate about high cut V-necks versus low cut V-necks. Go with what works for you, but somehow a deep cut V-neck seems to transform an undershirt into strictly underwear. Since high neck V-shirts are relatively new to the market, the low cut version may look dated or just a bit nerdy. Besides, how fashionable is something you can’t see? A higher neck vee, on the other hand, looks up-to-date and fashion-forward.
- Overall Appearance – It’s really hard to beat a white V-Neck undershirt for a professional appearance in the workplace or for a more casual look when worn alone in color. Worn under a dress shirt, a V-neck undershirt is slightly less corporate and conformist than a crew neck T-shirt, but a lot less daring than a wife beater. It’s a “safe” look for a job interview and the daily corporate grind. Worn alone in white or color, it looks great with just about anything from suits to shorts or jeans.
So is it time to discard the crew neck T-shirts and wildly popular tank tops? Don’t count on it. Everything old is new again, and everything new can get old. So here’s a fashion resolution for the new year: put on a fresh undershirt each day to suit your mood: crew neck T-shirts when serious, V-neck shirts when style-minded, and athletic shirts when feeling unconventional. Back to those Tartan plaid boxers—they play nice with all three.