Wearing Visible Undershirts – Yes or No?

You know, I run across a very common question from men about wearing visible undershirts:

Should Undershirts Show or Not?

11/15/08 Update:

Here’s a link to a post that covers a bunch of information about wearing undershirts.

Wearing an Undershirt – What about style?

Today, while visiting the Style Forum website, I ran across a post where a member asked this question:

I’m about to buy some new undershirts.

I know that it’s generally not good for the undershirt to be showing but I almost always wear my shirts with two buttons unbuttoned.

Will an undershirt with a v-neck be hidden, or will it still show?

Is it best for a crewneck undershirt to show rather than a v-neck?

I do not plan on wearing a tie, or changing the way I have my two buttons unbuttoned.

Here’s how I responded to his question:

That’s a great question and what it really boils down to is personal preference.

There are some who think that wearing visible undershirts is an all-time sin.

But if you really look at it in common practice, you’ll find that many men wear crew neck or v-neck undershirts under their button shirts where the undershirt is visible.

V-Neck or Crew-neck Undershirt?

One could suggest that wearing a deep v-neck would be the right thing to do so you don’t see the undershirt at all.

However, that leaves you with the possibility of showing potentially unsightly chest hair.

Although, if that’s your style, that’s cool too.

Wearing visible undershirts: crew vs. v-neck

Personally, I mostly wear fitted v-neck undershirts under my button-up shirts.

Most of the time the collars are somewhat visible (although not as visible as crew necks).

Bottom line, if you wear an undershirt that has a crisp, clean collar that doesn’t look unsightly, you should feel free to wear either a crew neck or v-neck (and not give a hoot what other people think).

If you’d like an opinion on which type of undershirt to choose, considering you wear your shirts with two buttons unbuttoned, I’d recommend a crewneck.

What Type of Undershirt Can Be Seen

What I found rather disturbing was this comment:

I know that it’s generally not good for the undershirt to be showing…

Honestly, who determines whether or not it’s ok for an undershirt to be showing?

(Heck, people have made wearing a wife-beater a fashion statement!)

I’m sure everyone has their own personal opinion.

However, let’s all agree that it’s just that — someone’s opinion and nothing more.

Now, I’m sure many people had formed that opinion at one point because undershirts can look unsightly if they’re older and have been through the laundry a billion times.

But there’s plenty of newer, higher quality undershirts that look really nice.

There are so much, in fact, that many can be worn on their own.

wearing visible undershirts with crew neck on their own

Furthermore, even some of the lesser expensive undershirts like Hanes or Fruit of the Loom will look good if they are new or well maintained.

Personally, I primarily wear v-neck undershirts.

I switch back and forth between wearing black undershirts and white undershirts.

If I’m wearing darker colors, I typically sport a black undershirt.

When wearing lighter colors, I throw on a white one.

Therefore, if you’re one of those guys that wonder whether or not wearing visible undershirts is okay — stop wondering.

It’s perfectly acceptable.

Long live the undershirt! :)

P. S. If you’re looking for some additional advice, here’s an article I posted a few months ago.

It provides some additional insights about wearing undershirts from another blogger:

A Man’s Guide to Undershirts

11 thoughts on “Wearing Visible Undershirts – Yes or No?”

  1. Seems to me that as a student in the 90s, every guy wore a white crew neck under every shirt. It’s all fine, and whatever you like of course, but my vote is that the v-neck is the more modern and confident approach.

    I don’t worry at all if the edge of the v-neck peeks out — in my opinion it’s still a big improvement to show some skin compared to the big bright white triangle that a crew neck puts there. I guess using a colored crew might make things a little more subtle (or worse, depending on the color).

    So I don’t it’s a problem that the world sees a bit of undershirt, but it is a problem if it’s big, bright and central. Try the V!

    • thanks for stopping by and commenting dort! yeah, i’ve gotta say, there are lots of different opinions on whether or not an undershirt should be visible. next time you’re watching tv, check out the shows and/or commercials. there are a lot of white crew neck undershirts being worn under v-neck sweaters! good look or not? you decide.

  2. The VP of finance at my company wore visible undershirts when he had no tie on. I thought this silly, until I noticed a number of other people picked up the trend. I guess it’s not stylish until you make it so

    • hey bob, it’s definitely an interesting topic – the visible undershirt collar.

      “style consultants” despise a visible undershirt, though i see exposed undershirt collars everywhere i go – and i mean everywhere.

      hollywood thinks it’s ok too i suppose because i see undershirt collars exposed in a whole lot of movies and tv shows.

      personally, i think it’s ok as long as you’re not wearing a ratty, worn out undershirt. hell, lots of unusual things have become crazy and accepted fashion phenomenas in my lifetime so far – so why not visible undershirt collars?

  3. Here, in India, an undershirt is called a Banyan. I have seen many of my friends still wearing it under polo shirts. So what?

  4. I would suggest that wearing two buttons undone on anything other than a polo shirt is more “generally not good” than showing the undershirt. It kind of screams douchebag! Especially if you are talking a business setting and not just a nightclub.

  5. Letting your undershirt show when wearing dress attire is like wearing white socks with dress shoes. Just because lots of people do it, doesn’t make it ok.

  6. looking for a t-shirt that I saw…white, it has 3 diagonal snaps over the front shoulder …(I think both sides but not sure) not much information, sorry – but hope you can help…

  7. As a Consultant for Trunk Club, I very much appreciate the time and dedication you put into the foundation layer for the American man! I enjoyed reading your blog posts and links and deferred to you as THE source for further information on men’s undershirts in my blog post today: Men’s Undershirts: Do you need to wear one? Which one is best? at http://www.wasabinights.com. Thank you for a great site. I plan to visit often.

  8. I live and work in NY City, and I see a mix of show/no-show styles all over town. I have to conclude that there is no “accepted” style, and that it’s strictly a personal choice; you can show skin, hair, white or color, crew or V, and nobody is going to roll their eyes when they catch sight of you. Please yourself, please your wife/girlfriend, or please your boss. Or make a statement. Or just wear whatever the heck YOU think looks best. (If someone were to poll single women, and got a consistent answer, the issue would probably be settled!)

    I work in an office, wear dress shirts without a tie, and prefer the V-neck with most of my shirts. (I grew up in a time and place where your underwear was not supposed to be showing, and I guess that factors into what I feel good wearing.) A few of my shirts have low second buttons, and the V-neck shows. As Bob pointed out, this defeats the purpose of the V, so I’ve started wearing regular T’s under those shirts, but in a dark color — the triangle of contrast and color has something of the look of an Ascot tie, and to my taste it’s a good look.

  9. Well put. Whether an undershirt is showing at the neckline or not is a personal choice and should never be viewed as a fashion faux-pas. Unless the exposed undershirt looks “ratty”. I recently switched from A shirt to crewneck T shirt undershirts after having a cough that would not go away. Interestingly, the extra warmth around my throat seemed to make a big difference. I can understand why some guys like v necks. But, keep in mind that a v neck that shows looks, well, a little pointless! So, if some will show, a crew neck is best. But hey, if a bit of a v neck shows, relax, it is not the end of the world! Sometimes, you may actually want it to show – I have some shirts where I keep the top 2 buttons undone and then I wear an undershirt of a complimentary colour or shade. I have some charcoal grey undershirts, some sand colour undershirts, some chocolate brown undershirts and some olive drab undershirts – all crew neck Ts and worn with the right choice of button down shirt, they look very nice. My wife had been twitting me about undershirts [saying only old men wear them] so I handed her one of mine, asked her to put it on under her shirt before she left the house on a cold cold day. She no longer makes smart remarks – in fact, she is now wearing my old grey and olive drab A shirts. Plus, she picked up a few crew neck Ts for herself too.


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