I’ve always found it interesting how society, as well as companies gravitate to using certain words, even though what they are really talking about is something different. For example, undershirts vs t-shirts, deodorants vs antiperspirants, and plenty of other things.
The difference itself may be subtle, or it may not be.
Take these examples to clarify:
|When People Say This||They Actually Mean This|
|Pit Stains||Person sweating in the underarm area|
|Wife-Beater||Ribbed tank top|
|Underwear||Undershirts and Underwear|
Sometimes, the confusion comes from society itself, but sometimes it’s a by-product of how the market describes its own products. You might be thinking how could anyone possibly mix up undershirts and regular tees.
Case-in-point, some of the the major Undershirt/Underwear companies don’t label any difference between undershirts and regular tees.
In other words, they describe and market their undershirts as “T-shirts”.
To this day, I still do not quite understand the rationale behind this. That is to say, it just feels confusing to me.
I would love to hear from one of the majors who currently do this and learn why it is so.
Undershirts vs T-Shirts: Casey’s Confused!
Here’s a question from a reader who was curious about this very topic:
I just recently discovered your blog and was wondering if you could do a compare contrast of Hanes undershirts and regular tees.
That would be awesome.
Also, do you have any suggestions on how to prevent undershirt shrinkage in the wash?
My white Hanes always seem to shrink. Could that be because I use hot water when washing my whites?
Thanks for your time!
P.S. Some of your posts and comments (i.e. sending the guy from AGT free undershirts) make me think you’re a genuinely nice guy, and that’s great to see on the internet!
The Difference between Undershirts and Regular Tees
Good to hear from you buddy and thanks for your question and kind words :)
The simple answer to your question about the difference between Hanes undershirts and their t-shirts is fabric weight. Undershirts are usually made with lighter/thinner fabric so they offer coverage & protection, without being too warm to wear under clothes.
T-shirts generally have heavy fabric/thicker since they are typically worn alone.
I’m super sensitive to fabric weight and prefer wearing thin, lightweight undershirts. So, you won’t normally see me trying to sport a typical tee as an undershirt.
If the t-shirt is super lightweight, then maybe, but there are several other differences between undershirts and t-shirts. See the top 7 differences down below.
To Fight Shrinking
Shrinkage is kind of a complicated question to answer. But, when there’s a problem there’s a solution too.
Many things go into why a tee shirt or undershirt will shrink, but the best way to minimize shrinkage is:
- Wash in cold and then hang or lay flat to dry
- Purchase undershirts that are pre-washed/pre-shrunk
Since fabric is made on a regular basis, you’ll likely find the shrinkage to be slightly different from purchase to purchase. Of course, that depends on whether or not the company has done a really good job in maintaining quality assurance making the shrinkage in each batch of fabric roughly the same – which they should be doing.
Hope the above information helps out. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Top 7 Differences Between A T-Shirt & Undershirt
|T-shirts are generally thicker so they can be worn by themselves.||Undershirts should be thinner — to keep you cool.|
|T-shirts are mostly worn by themselves, without an undershirt. They come in direct contact with sweat, body oils, and odors. They should be washed after every wear.||Undershirts provide a layer of defense between your body and your shirt. They will protect your shirts from sweat, stains, & odors. Since your outer shirt will stay cleaner, you may wear it more than once before washing.|
|T-shirts are shorter, so they can be worn untucked, without being too long.||Undershirts are longer so they stay tucked.|
|T-shirt sleeves are generally longer since they are worn by themselves.||Undershirts have shorter sleeves, so they can be worn under short-sleeve shirts, such as polo shirts, as well as long sleeve shirts.|
|T-shirts have a shallower v-neck. While deep v-neck t-shirts do exist, they are not widely worn.||Undershirts have deeper v-necks. This keeps the collar hidden with an open collar.|
|T-shirts are looser fitting to accommodate different body styles, and mask any perceived imperfections (belly, love handles, puffy nipples, etc.)||Undershirts are close fitting or fitted so they don’t add extra bulk under your clothes.|
|T-shirts are outerwear, though can be also used for layering to achieve a particular style/look.||Undershirts are underwear. The general rule of thumb is that they should remain hidden, like underwear.|
To help illustrate the difference, here is a visual guide showing the difference between t-shirts and undershirts.