Should I Wear an Undershirt with My Suit?

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This is a question many fashion-conscious men ask. Whether you’re attending a job interview, business meeting, wedding, graduation or any other formal event, you’ll probably want to wear a suit. Suits are the de-facto standard for men’s formal wear. So, can you wear an undershirt with a suit, or should you leave the undershirt at home?

Benefits of Wearing an Undershirt with a Suit

First and foremost, let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of wearing an undershirt with a suit. Normally, an undershirt won’t be visible; therefore, it won’t offer any value in terms of style of aesthetics. From an outside perspective, it will appear as if you aren’t even wearing one. However, there are still reasons to consider wearing an undershirt.

One common reason for wearing an undershirt with a suit is warmth and protection from the elements. Depending on the time of year and fabric from which your suit is made, an undershirt can provide an invaluable layer of insulation to keep you warm and comfortable. If you’re wearing a lightweight linen suit in the middle of winter, for instance, wearing an undershirt can make a world of difference in your comfort level. The additional layer reduces the rate at which your body loses heat, keeping you warm and comfortable throughout the day.

In addition to warmth and comfort, wearing an undershirt with a suit can also protect your dress shirt from damage. As most men have experienced, it’s not uncommon for deodorant to stain the inside of your dress shirt. You can reduce the risk of this happening by choosing a gel-type deodorant instead of a solid. The gel type typically absorbs into your skin, minimizing the risk of fabric stains. If you prefer solid deodorant, however, you should consider wearing an undershirt with your suit to protect against stains.

Finally, wearing an undershirt can wick moisture away from your body. Why is this important exactly? Well, if you work outside or in an otherwise laborious position, you’ll probably sweat. Without an undershirt, your body’s perspiration will absorb into your dress shirt and suit, making you feel clammy and uncomfortable. However, if you wear a moisture-wicking undershirt, this won’t happen. Rather than absorbing perspiration, moisture-wicking fabric lives up to its namesake by wicking or guiding perspiration away from your body.

These are just a few reasons to consider wearing an undershirt with your suit. Whether it’s for warmth, to protect your dress shirt from stains, or to wick moisture away from your body, an undershirt is a useful garment when suit-wearing men. With that said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to wear one. If you plan on wearing an undershirt with your suit, you’ll need to follow a few simple tips to ensure it has a positive impact on your appearance.

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Go Light

One of the most important things to consider when choosing an undershirt for a suit is the color. Ideally, no one should even know that you’re wearing an undershirt. If your undershirt features a darker color than your dress shirt, however, it will show. Therefore, you should choose an undershirt that’s lighter than your dress shirt. When in doubt, you really can’t go wrong with an all-white undershirt. Whether your dress shirt is navy, black or white, a white undershirt shouldn’t be visible. You can still choose other colors for your undershirt, but make sure it’s lighter than your dress shirt; otherwise, it will stick out like a sore thumb.

Undershirt, Not a T-Shirt

Some guys assume that t-shirts are the same as undershirts, but this isn’t necessarily true. While you can technically wear a t-shirt as an undershirt, they usually aren’t designed for this purpose. T-shirts are usually thicker than undershirts, making them a poor choice to wear with a suit. The thick construction of a t-shirt may protrude through your dress shirt, creating an awkward and unflattering appearance that hurts your efforts to achieve a clean look. Furthermore, undershirts are usually made of an elastic fabric — or cotton with an elastic fabric — that allows it to stretch. In contrast, cotton t-shirts have little-to-no stretching properties. The bottom line is that if you’re going to wear an undershirt with a suit, make sure it’s an actual undershirt and not just another t-shirt.

V-Neck Cut

Undershirts are available in a variety of cuts, the most common of which are crew neck and v-neck. Crew-neck undershirts have a small opening at the neck, making them visible even when worn underneath a dress shirt and other clothes. In comparison, v-neck undershirts have a lower cut at the neck, concealing them from plain sight. They are called v-neck shirts because the opening at the neck is shaped like the letter “V.” This means the cut sits lower on your neck, allowing the top of your dress shirt to conceal it. Aside from this otherwise small nuance, v-neck undershirts are pretty much the same as crew-neck undershirts. You’ll find them both available in similar fabrics, colors and styles. The only real difference lies in the shape and size of the neck opening, with v-neck undershirts featuring a larger v-shaped opening around the neck compared to crew-neck undershirts.

Check Your Outfit

Prior to walking out the door, you should check your outfit to make sure your undershirt isn’t visible. If you can see any part of your undershirt — or tell that you are wearing an undershirt — you should adjust your outfit accordingly.

To recap, it’s perfectly fine to wear an undershirt with a suit. In fact, doing so can protect you from the cold weather, prevent deodorant stains on your dress shirt, and wick moisture away from your body. However, you should choose the right type of undershirt. By following the tips listed here, you’ll create an attractive outfit while enhancing your suit with an undershirt.