Wearing A Wife Beater Alone. Is This A Fashion Faux Pas?

If you’re a fan of ribbed tank tops (aka the “wife beater”), and curious whether or not it’s ok to wear them alone, in public, read on.

What’s the real name for a wife beater shirt?

The real & proper name for a wife beater is ribbed tank top. They are also known as a-shirts, sleeveless shirts, and tank top undershirts.

Per Wikipedia, this type of shirt is also know by the pejorative nicknames guinea tee or dago tee (“guinea” and “dago” being American ethnic slurs for people of Italian ethnicity).

Brando: Wearing Wife Beater Tank Top Undershirt

A Fashion Faux Pas?

Here’s a question I received from a reader recently wondering exactly that.


I was just made a little self conscious about wearing Hanes white ribbed tank top undershirts.


Sweat Proof Undershirts

I’ve always worn them and feel comfortable in them.

While I don’t usually just wear them as a fashion statement, I have been out in public with them on occasion, usually just on a last minute late night run to the store or just tooling around my house.

I also work at a job where I manage a large equipment warehouse that gets real hot during summer and I often take my shirt off during the afternoon.

It isn’t an issue with anyone, except for one gal who is making a stink about how crass they are. I don’t think anyone else cares actually, since most of the senior office personnel are guys.

Even if I put my shirt on, it can still be seen though it.

Is this a fashion faux pas?

I need to add that while she has gotten in my head a bit, she didn’t seem to mind when she made occasional afternoon runs back to the warehouse to “blow off some steam” with me.

Only since things cooled down has she been making a stink.

It’s not like I’m a fat overweight guy. I work out hard and stay in shape.

Do people really make a conscious note of undershirts?



Top Rules To Wearing Wife Beaters

Heya Bob,

Good to hear from you buddy, and thanks for your question!

TBH, and based on what you said about how things have “cooled down”, I think your co-worker is just nit-picking.

That said, here are some articles for you to take a look at:






Wearing a Ribbed Tank Top Undershirt Alone?

Regarding wearing it alone, to be 100% honest, it’s really a matter of personal preference.

That said, if you’re in a position where you may not want to offend people, you could:

1. Bring a light t-shirt with you to work and wear that instead of simply just removing your shirt and wearing your ribbed tank top.


2. Bring a white crew neck or v-neck undershirt, and wear that instead.


3. Find a thin lightweight crew neck or v-neck undershirt, and wear that instead of the ribbed tank top.

Hope the above information helps.

Let me know your thoughts, ok?



Bob’s Feeling A Little Better

Thanks for the reply and the links.

Makes me feel a little better about the ole wife beater.

I’ve definitely been rocking the beater under the snug tee shirt and liked the look.

Glad it’s considered fashionable now!

Will need to check out the other products too. Thanks.

Btw, I spoke with the branch manager in the warehouse this morning and he said they don’t care what I wear back here, as long as I use health and safety precautions when needed, or dress appropriately for clients.

In fact he said the guys know what was going on and were rooting me on because apparently she wasn’t always the most pleasant person around the office but was nice and calm when she wound return…go figure.

They are kind of hoping it would start up again. Lol

Take care,



How to wear undershirts

6 thoughts on “Wearing A Wife Beater Alone. Is This A Fashion Faux Pas?”

  1. Tug, I really enjoy your cite. I have learned a lot.

    I will never understand why A shirts have the stigma that they do with certain people. I wish more people would publish their thoughts or experiences. I did have a dude ask me once why I wore A shirts. I guess he could see it under my light colored shirt.

    I said because they are comfortable and that I liked wearing a base layer. To me it’s like boxers or briefs. Who cares. I wear A shirts in the spring summer and fall. V necks in the winter. I have read comments that guys are afraid someone might think they are wear a bra. I am like what???

    I have also read that people that wear A shirts are considered a lower class.

    Funny that a classic undershirt that has been around forever has so much controversy.

    Bob, is your co worker making a fuss because your undershirt is not a T shirt and that you are wearing an A shirt? I see more guys in the gym wearing them in the locker room.

    I never feel like anyone is staring at me for wearing one. Maybe they are coming back in style.

    • Richard,

      I totally get your frustration. Sometimes I feel like we need a support group. Seriously though, I used to worry about the perception of wearing an a-shirt, but these days I just enjoy it. It’s a good choice for me and lots of guys.

    • Richard,

      I don’t get the stigma. After all, it’s not like I care what others are wearing under their pants or even their shirts. I also sometimes wear tee shirts in the winter. I will need to check out some of Tug’s products for that.

      My recent experience has definitely turned me into “really don’t care attitude”. If someone is judging me negatively for wearing a white ribbed tank undershirt, they probably aren’t worth my time. It kind of reminds me of a gal that a good friend of mine was dating who asked him to shave the hair on his arms. He was a hairy guy (we shared an apartment for about a year and a half). I told him to dump her, he did and moved on.

      All I know is I like wearing them under tee shirts, polos, and appropriate dress shirts. If the dress shirt is cheaper and thin, I’ll pull out a tee shirt. I even will wear them alone when hanging out, quick run to the store or working around my house, especially when the weather is hot. I also sleep in them.



  2. Bob,

    In any environment where you’re sweating a lot or exerting yourself physically, no one should be too upset to see you strip down to your undershirt. I don’t think ideas like “crass” or “fashion faux pas” even apply here. As long as you comply with company policy, you’re fine. I also wear tank undershirts and work in a corporate environment. There have definitely been a couple of times when the air conditioning went out that I almost stripped my dress shirt off so I sympathize. Good luck to you.

    • Tom,

      Yeah, when it gets hot, I shed the shirt and leave the white ribbed tank on. It’s almost my constant uniform between May and October. None of the guys in the front office care, since I’m doing something that they probably have no interest in, i.e. equipment repairs, inventory etc. And the operators clearly could give a rip. I’m more comfortable that way, of course with jeans and work boots, since I can’t wear shorts and work boots are mandatory. It is comfortable and have no plans to change unless it becomes a policy issue (which I don’t expect). Like I mentioned, I wear shirts when health and safety matters arise or when I need to meet clients (rarely). During those times I feel like I’m wearing a fur coat… I don’t think ribbed white tanks under a dress shirt in a corporate setting would be a big deal either and hopefully it isn’t for your work place and people get over it. I mean seriously…




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