Why Tommy John Has the Best Men's Undershirt
If there’s one piece of clothing that every man should have in his wardrobe, it’s an undershirt. They’re simple garments, but they’re packed with tremendous potential when it comes to looking good and feeling even better under your clothes. That’s why men have been wearing them for centuries.
But not just any undershirt will do. If you want to look your best, you need to wear the best, undershirts included.
Fortunately, the best undershirts in the world are easy to get your hands on—you just have to know where to look. Here’s why the undershirts from Tommy John are the best you’ll find, and why you should add them to your wardrobe ASAP.
The Origins Of the Undershirt
Why do men wear undershirts? Men started wearing undershirts for many reasons, from warmth to protection. The origins of the modern undershirt can be traced back hundreds and hundreds of years to at least the 14th century, if not earlier.1 Back then, the garments that predicted the undershirts we know and love today were perhaps even more common among groups of European men than they are now.
That said, what passed as a great undershirt back then didn’t have much in common with modern styles, beyond the fact that they were worn beneath outer layers of clothing in terms of style and function.
Whereas today's undershirts are typically well-fitted and feature short sleeves, comfy crewnecks, and breathable V-necks, men in the Middle Ages wore tunic-like shirts with billowing sleeves, loose mid-sections, and plunging necklines, while some styles featured collars that resemble modern-day dress shirts.2 They were popular for a few reasons, including:
- Cleanliness – Originally, men (and women) wore undergarments to keep their outerwear from getting too dirty. This was well before indoor plumbing was invented and regular bathing was not nearly as common as it is now
- Warmth – In some cases, undershirts were worn to combat cold weather, although this was generally only true for men at the lowest rungs of society.
- Comfort –Outerwear garments during the middle ages were usually made from wool, which isn’t always the most comfortable fabric against the skin. Undershirts made from gentler fabrics like linen were worn to provide a protective barrier and prevent itching.3
Undershirts in Modernity
Like most of the favored fashions of our medieval forebears, undershirts would soon undergo a dramatic transformation. In the late 1800s, in a move that wealthy men found shameful, working-class Americans wore sleeveless undershirts in heavy materials like flannel to ward off the cold.1 However, thankfully progress has been made since then, and now you can find sleeveless undershirts to be breathable, comfortable, and moisture-wicking.
By the 20th century, undershirts had become a standard aspect of U.S. military uniforms for the purposes of absorbing sweat in warm weather and keeping soldiers warm in colder climates. Then, it was only a matter of time before undershirts for men became acceptable civilian garb among American men of all kinds, from everyday dudes to Hollywood heartthrobs like James Dean and Marlon Brando.
In Defense Of the Undershirt
Like sartorial statements that started out as either required or reprehensible, the cotton undershirt has become a matter of personal prerogative. Nowadays, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to judge you for wearing or not wearing a sweat proof undershirt—but there are several strong arguments for why every guy should.
Contemporary life might be totally different from life in Medieval Europe or even mid-century America, but some of the reasons that men in past eras wore undershirts are still relevant. Likewise, modern undershirts have modern benefits for men of today’s era. So whether your style is new-age or old-fashioned, here are five reasons wearing a sweat proof undershirt is a good move:
- They soak up sweat –Sweat absorption is one reason every guy should have an arsenal of undershirts at the ready. This feature helped them gain popularity among military men in the previous century. Now, the best undershirts are made from fabrics that are reinforced with moisture-wicking properties, meaning they encourage evaporation by drawing sweat away from the skin before it can stain your clothes.
- They deter deodorant stains –Sweat isn’t the only agent that threatens to stain a modern man’s white dress shirt. Deodorant is notorious for marring the fabric under your arms. Wearing an undershirt is an excellent way to minimize the damage.
- They’re concealed beneath your collar – One great thing about today’s undershirts is that they’ve done away with the superfluous collars of the Middle Ages. Now, no one even has to know you’re wearing one, thanks to crew neck and V neck collars that are easy to hide under your dress shirt.
- They’re softer on your skin –Although contemporary dress shirts aren’t nearly as tough on skin as the clothes of ages past, they can still be irritating. The best mens undershirts are gentle on the skin so that you aren’t uncomfortable in formal clothes.
- They combat the cold –One thing that hasn’t changed in the hundred of years since undershirts were created is their ability to help regulate your body temperature. When it’s chilly outside (or even inside the office), an undershirt can help you retain body heat.
The Best Undershirt Styles for Men
In 1934, the actor Clark Gable titillated audiences when he appeared shirtless in a pivotal scene in the romantic comedy “It Happened One Night.” By then, the undershirt had already gained traction as a staple item in the wardrobes of the majority of American men. But the sight of one of the country’s most famous guys sans undershirt was enough to torpedo the garment’s popularity, however temporarily.4
If Clark Gable wasn’t a fan of undershirts, it may have been because he wasn’t among the subsequent generations of men who have more undershirt style options than ever before. From sleeve lengths and necklines to styles designed to enhance comfort, breathability, and more, there’s a Tommy John undershirt out there to suit guys of all types, including:
- Compression shirts
- Long sleeves
- Specialty shirts
- Tank tops
The Undershirt Evolution Continues At Tommy John
From the Middle Ages to the military to Hollywood, the men’s undershirt has gone through many iterations. And while the history of fashion isn’t short on iconic garments, how many of them can boast that sort of staying power?
In the 21st century, the undershirt evolution continues with two incredible collections from Tommy John. Our patented Stay-Tucked design and our relaxed Modern Fit are undershirts tailored with the modern man in mind. From the office to dinner dates with that special someone to nights out with the guys, they go where you go—and they go under anything.
If it sounds like we’re taking the subject of men’s undershirts super seriously, that’s only because you haven’t yet experienced the brilliance we’ve poured into them. It’s also because we do take them seriously. Here’s why our undershirts are the best mens undershirts around.
When it comes to undershirts that fit discreetly under everything from your office button-down to your best suit or black-tie tuxedo, you can’t go wrong with an undershirt from our Stay-Tucked collection. But what makes them the best undershirts you’ll ever own?
It starts with a precisely tapered cut that offers a body-hugging, all-over fit. The result is an undershirt that combines the understated simplicity you expect from an undergarment with the specificity of a bespoke suit custom-made for you. Then, we added our patented Stay-Tucked design to ensure that once you tuck it in, it never rides up or comes untucked.
But the magic doesn’t stop there. The shirts in our Stay-Tucked line are made using our luxurious MultiModal fabric blend that features the following characteristics that keep you looking fresh all day long:
Our Modern Fit undershirts use the same MultiModal fabric as the ones in our Stay-Tucked collection for a wrinkle-resistant, non-pilling, pulled-together look that lasts all day. But where our Stay-Tucked shirts hug your body, our Modern Fit features a more relaxed cut through the midsection for a contemporary look and guaranteed comfort.
Tucked or untucked, concealed beneath your button-down, or exposed for all to see, our Modern Fit is an updated take on the typical white undershirt—and the one you’ve been waiting for.
Find the Perfect Fit with Tommy John
When you want perfectly crafted loungewear, sleepwear, and underwear that combine quality fabrics, impeccable fit, and fine-tuned functionality, you want Tommy John.
Our priority has always been to create clothes that are just as tailored as everything else in your wardrobe, so that you never look for anything less than your best—even under your clothes. Shop today to experience the difference that Tommy John can make.
- Gentleman’s Gazette. Undershirts For Men—To Wear Or Not To Wear An Undershirt. https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/undershirt-guide-to-wear-or-not-to-wear-one/
- ThoughtCo. What Underwear Was Like in Medieval Times. https://www.thoughtco.com/medieval-underwear-1788621
- Medievalist. A Five-Minute Guide to Medieval Fabrics. https://www.medievalists.net/2015/06/a-five-minute-guide-to-medieval-fabrics/#
- Lisa’s History Room. Clark Gable: He’s Just Not That Into…Undershirts. https://lisawallerrogers.com/2009/03/09/clark-gable-hes-just-not-that-intoundershirts/