Reader Undershirt Recommendation: American Apparel Fine Cotton Jersey T-shirts

I thought I’d shared this email from a reader who was nice enough to send in some feedback about American Apparel t-shirts. For those who are unfamilar with this brand, American Apparel has a pretty good reputation for offering good quality, nice fitting t-shirts in a wide variety of styles and colors. It seems as though they are best known for the comfort of their fine jersey t-shirts.

So, why am I sharing info about an apparel company that sells standard t-shirts? Well, for a few reasons:

  1. American Apparel jersey t-shirts are light-weight and can easily double as undershirts.
  2. They have a wide variety of colors. For those guys looking for colors other than the standard white, black, and grey, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find colors like light blue, sea foam, brown, mint, cranberry, forest, lemon, olive, light pink, asphalt, pink, lavender, slate, purple, ash grey, and navy. They offer even more colors in their crew neck t-shirt.
  3. I’ve gotten several emails lately from readers looking for an undershirt to replace the no longer available CK pima cotton undershirt. Although I have never tried these specific CKs, the readers who have written in describe the fabric as very “fine and thin”.  The fine jersey AA uses in their t-shirts is very soft and light-weight and would likely be a suitable alternative for all you former CK pima cotton undershirt lovers.

Here’s the email:

Hi Tug,

I’ve been reading your posts off and on – I really enjoy your blog. I love t-shirts – I’ve built a great collection, and am forever in search of a softer, better-looking, better-fitting t-shirt. I wear Zimmerli t-shirts much of the time now, but after reading some good reviews, I ended up picking up several of American Apparel’s “fine cotton jersey t-shirts”:
Click on the pic of the model, and there are a bunch more pictures.

I just wanted to pass along that this is a very nice, good-quality, soft, comfortable, great-looking, great-fitting t-shirt. It’s made from medium-weight combed cotton that seems to get softer with every wash. It also has a narrow cut – it’s fit-tailored to stay closer to the body like underwear t-shirts typically are, and for guy like me with an athletic body, it’s a very pleasing look and feel. The sleeves are a little shorter and tighter than your typical t-shirt as well, and do a nice job of showing off the biceps. The neckband isn’t really high, but it’s finely ribbed and of very good quality, and it sits up on the neck a little higher, especially once it’s been washed. They are also available in numerous colors.


Rules to wearing undershirts

At $17 apiece on the AA website, they are a little expensive for undershirts, but you can buy multi-packs that bring the price down, and you can get them for around $10 on I love wearing mine both casually as outerwear, and sometimes underwear as well. They’re great because if you wear a colored one as an undershirt, you’re good to go for work during the day, and if you need to do something after work, you just take off the button-front shirt and you’re cool and casual, but you still look good. It’s really a nice-looking tee.

Anyway, from another t-shirt lover, I just thought I’d pass this along. You might think about trying one if you haven’t already. These are definitely on my favorites list.


A quick note – the AA tee’s do come in extended sizes, and I suppose if you went big enough, you could get the roomy fit a lot of guys are used to with typical, American box-cut, roomy t-shirts, but just a re-emphasis that AA t-shirts are kind of slim fitting, and round guys may not appreciate them. They are definitely more flattering to bodies in the slim to athletic to regular height/weight proportionate range.

Thanks again for the great blog!


Sweat Proof Undershirts

10 thoughts on “Reader Undershirt Recommendation: American Apparel Fine Cotton Jersey T-shirts”

  1. Have any of you guys found an alternative to these shirts yet? I as well, would spend $1000 on a lifetime stock of the original heavier shirts…

  2. I’m 6’4″, 215 (so slender-ish), and the standard American Apparel Large has been the ideal undershirt for me the last seven years or so (fit, softness, everything). The last batch I bought shrank, and now untuck or leave my back exposed (“workman’s cleavage”) depending on what I’m wearing over them when I sit. I’ve never had them shrink before, but unfortunately, this has caused me to go looking for a new brand (and waste the money I used to buy 7 of them), which isn’t the easiest thing to do with my size and shape.

    • hey dan, thanks for stopping by and posting your thoughts about the american apparel t-shirts! so sorry to hear they are now shrinking too much and aren’t long enough for you.

      have you seen my tall undershirts article?

      i’m pretty certain one of those brands will offer an undershirt that is long enough for you.

      • Thanks for the reply (and running this site).

        I did read the Tall Undershirt posts, but the (first world) challenge I have is that I’d like to use my Banana Republic credit card points, and they offer Tall sizes. BUT Banana Republic only carries Tall online… and they have three(!) crew neck t-shirt/undershirt options: “Soft-Wash Classic Crew,” “Pima Stretch Crew,” and “Pima Cotton Basic Tee.” They’re all in the $20 range, but being that it’s Banana Republic, it’s only a matter of days until a 40% special pops up.

        None are specifically sold as being “great as an undershirt” and the reviews are all over the place, unfortunately (other than a consensus that the Pima Basic is a very heavy fabric). So… I’ll probably be getting one of each and reporting back.

        I might’ve missed it, but I didn’t see any write-ups of any of these shirts on the site, regardless of Tall or not? (not complaining or making a snide comment about lacking content; just making sure I don’t set out to waste time on a question which already has an answer)

        If none of these do the trick, I’ll be checking out the ribbedtee classic fit next (using your referral link, of course…)

      • hey dan! thanks for continuing the conversation (:

        yeah, i haven’t heard good things about banana republic tees for several years. not that i’ve heard bad things, but i definitely haven’t heard of anyone recently raving about their t-shirts being great undershirts recently. look forward to hearing your feedback about the banana republic tees that you try out.

        regarding the “tall undershirts” article — i have written about many of the brands listed on that page, but i haven’t reviewed them all, nor do i regularly revisit products i’ve reviewed or mentioned in the long past.

        you can use the search bar to find articles related to the brands, but if you can’t find something and have a question, let me know and i’ll be happy to answer it.

        honestly, you can’t go wrong with any brand listed on my favorites page. they all offer pretty awesome products at a pretty reasonable price.

        hit me up anytime you have any specific questions (:

      • OK — I’ve tried all 3 of Banana Republic’s plain t-shirts. (again, credit card rewards points and 40% off sales…)

        Pima Basic: thick, “very white”, boxy, the least snug fit. Craftsmanship at the neck leads me to be concerned. It seems to be stretched already (4 washes). Not an ideal undershirt.

        Soft Wash Classic Crew: less white. Very soft. More snug than the Pima Basic. Neck is problematically loose after 2 washes. OK as an undershirt… for now. Doesn’t have too many washes left until the neck is sloppy-looking.

        Pima Stretch: Again, less bright white than the normal Pima shirt. Soft. Snug. Ideal undershirt. The neck seems like it might not be as long-lasting as it might be ideal, but good after 4+ washes. I re-ordered (many) more of these in white, heather, and black.

        All shirts tried were Large Tall. Out of the box, their large tall was ~29″ long for all 3 models. After washing and an accidental drying, some shrank down to 28″ long which is still pretty long. Those American Apparel shirts shrank to 25″ (or less!) before drying.

        Recap: 6’4″, 215ish. Big order of American Apparel (Large) all shrunk after first wash, so new undershirt was needed. I have a Banana Republic Credit Card, so with points and 40% off sales, their shirts aren’t too ridiculous.

        At this point, I realize I’ve populated an American Apparel review with Banana Republic data…

      • heya dan! good to hear back from you buddy (:

        really appreciate you coming back and sharing your feedback about the different banana republic tees that you tried.

        happy to hear you’re diggin’ the banana republic pima stretch large tall tee, and good for you for getting them at 40% off!

        you know, i’m glad you provided information about the length of the tall banana republic tee. i’m actually kinda surprised that it (a “tall”) is only 28″-29″ long.

        the reason i say that is because i know for a fact that most of the undershirts on my “tall undershirts” page, that aren’t necessarily designed/labeled as tall undershirts, are actually longer than 28″-29″ in size large.

        in fact, many of my size medium undershirts from that page are that long. for those that are not, they’re designed with fabrics that allow the undershirts to fit around your hips, thus allowing them to stay tucked.

        that said, for a mere $12 each, that’s a great value for a good quality undershirt (or tee), especially if you’re really happy with your banana republic pima stretch tees (:

        thanks again for sharing the information. i’m sure it’ll come in handy for other visitors.

        i’ll also make sure the banana republic tall tee is on my tall undershirts list.

      • Not to continue a thread about Banana Republic shirts that’s actually on an American Apparel page, but…

        Banana Republic has stopped selling the Pima Stretch shirts and replaced it with the “Pima Performance Stretch” shirt. Fabric is “57% Pima Cotton, 38% Modal, 5% Spandex.” The Pima Stretch shirt is [checking the tag…] 96% cotton, 4% spandex.

        The fabric change in and of itself isn’t a deal breaker (maybe some nice wicking properties with the modal mixed in there… the product description brags about it), but the reviews on the site are pretty rough, with a fair amount of people unhappy that the Pima Stretch shirts aren’t available anymore and these being too thin/not stretchy in the right way, etc.

      • interesting info dan! thanks for the update on those banana republic t-shirts.

        from my experience, i found the original ones too heavy to wear as undershirts.

        maybe these new ones are too thin to wear as t-shirts.

        as i’ve always said, it’s not practical to try and make a t-shirt a good undershirt and vice versa.

        make the garment really good for a singular purpose, and nail it for that purpose alone.

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