Before we begin, there’s an elephant in the room and we need to address it.
The answer, my friend, is yes. Yes, you absolutely need to wear an undershirt under your white dress shirt. Why? One word: nipples. And wait, two more words: chest hair. I could go on, but this is a family article.
Point is, you need the humble services of the best undershirt for white dress shirts in order to keep things looking crisp, professional, and most importantly, concealed. A handful of undershirt purists (which, turns out, is a thing) are of the mind that the species is strictly to be thought of as underwear. And while some of my top picks align with that school of thought, others are more than handsome and opaque enough to come out and play from time to time.
From the budget multipack to the designer tee with all the bells and whistles, it’s time to show some love to one of the most underappreciated workhorses in your entire rotation of sartorial staples.
In your never-ending quest to find the best undershirt for white dress shirts, you should let your lifestyle, comfort needs, and sweat glands guide most of your decisions.
Or you could just take my word for it and start with my top pick of ISTO’s handsome, sturdy, and functional Classic T-Shirt. And if you’re looking for a wallet-friendly multipack with almost 200,000 5-star Amazon reviews, you’re looking for Gildan’s crew tees.
Portuguese men’s clothing brand ISTO has taken the liberty of obsessing over every stitch of its Classic T-Shirt. Why? So you don’t have to. But also so you can show up to your next pitch meeting, wedding, or other suit-adjacent affairs in the most comfortable, functional, and stylish way possible.
Easily the overall best undershirt for white dress shirts, the Classic is constructed entirely of Portuguese organic cotton, checking the cozy box with a bullet. Elsewhere under the hood, the classic collar, slim, tailored fit, attention to detail around the shoulder stitching, and the sleeve length is evidence of ISTO’s healthy obsession with creating your next ride-or-die undershirt.
Bonus: thanks to its flattering cut, solid look and feel, and availability in 12 neutral colors, you can and should feel free to wear this beauty as a top layer as well.
Material: 100% Cotton | Colors: 12 | Sizes: XS-XXL
Unlike ISTO’s Classic, Gildan’s multipack of crew tees falls firmly in line with the litany of excellent undershirts that do their job well but should never see the light of day. They’re available at a super-accessible price point, but you’ll still find that these 100% cotton tees provide ample breathability and are made to last.
Moisture-wicking properties will help keep you cool during those summer weddings or weekday coffee walks and its nine color options will play nice with most top layers. Andto put an exclamation point on the whole package, these tees have just shy of 200,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. The people have spoken and so have I. We can do no more for you and your torso. It’s in your hands now. Make us proud…
I’ll see myself out.
Material: 100% Cotton | Colors: 9 | Sizes: S-XXL
This cloud-soft, 100% Supima cotton t-shirt from German label Closed is the t-shirt’s t-shirt. The one that other tees want to be when they grow up. It shows up late to the party. It has a great hook shot. It can pan-sear a NY strip to perfection. It can… do none of those things because it’s a t-shirt. But you get the point, yes?
This would serve you well as an impossibly comfortable, beyond-adequate undershirt, of course. That part goes without saying. But on those occasions when it’s time to shed the dress shirt and relax a bit, you’ll be thankful you went with this crisp, dapper, detail-obsessed tee instead of a transparent afterthought of an undershirt. And it’s yet another outstanding option for wearing on its own with a nice pair of jeans or chinos.
Material: 100% Supima Cotton | Colors: 4 | Sizes: XS-XXL
Calling all active sweat glands. Ew. Let me try that again.
If you tend to sweat more than the average guy, you’ll find solace in the very niche, very functional Thompson Tee Sweatproof Undershirt. Better? Better.
You see, each of these tees features super-absorbent armpit pads that are integrated into the shirt’s fabric. And since this 100% combed cotton number is strictly an undershirt, the people around you will be none the wiser. The tagless collar is designed to lay flat against your neck and Thompson Tee has thoughtfully added a bit of extra length to help keep your shirt tucked in.
Material: 100% Cotton | Colors: 3 | Sizes: XS-3XL
Maybe you wear shorts and t-shirts to work. Maybe you wear a shirt and tie. Or maybe your office-appropriate attire falls somewhere in the middle and a business casual look ends up being the most appropriate. Regarding that last one, the best undershirt for white dress shirts comes from Tommy John. The Second Skin Crew Neck Stay-Tucked Undershirt earns its mouthful of a name by providing some seriously impressive comfort and functionality.
Zooming out, yes, this is a form-fitting shirt. Which, on paper, might read uncomfortable for everyday wear. Quite the contrary, Tommy John’s modal stretch fabric—which incorporates a healthy percentage of spandex—is super soft. It won’t stretch out, it’s non-pilling, it’s breathable, and it’s designed in a way that eliminates accidental untucking. Your office doesn’t stand a chance.
Material: 90% Modal, 10% Spandex | Colors: 2 | Sizes: S-4XL
Whether you’re wearing a suit or just prefer to pop an undershirt beneath a wrinkle-resistant travel shirt or standard button-down, you’ll need an everyday option to reach for. Something that can take a beating. Something feather-light. Something specifically engineered to pull air in and push moisture out as you move about the world doing whatever it is you do in it.
Specific? Yes. The next men’s undershirt for white dress shirts that we’ll be spotlighting? You already know. Mack Weldon’s Airknitx Crew Neck Undershirt has all of the technical details mentioned above, plus features four-way stretch construction, odor-fighting and moisture-wicking properties, and ergonomic side seams to further increase your range of motion. Tl;dr: good shirt.
Material: 50% Polyamide, 33% Polyester, 17% Elastane | Colors: 1 | Sizes: S-XXL
What To Look For In The Best Undershirts For White Dress Shirts
At the end of the day, undershirts have a job to do. First and foremost, they should be comfortable. But they should also ideally incorporate functional details like sweat-wicking and odor-reducing properties, four-way stretch materials, and fabrics that won’t lose their shape over time. Bonus points for quality stitching and overall construction that’s made to last.
Wearing white undershirts under your white dress shirts will help accentuate the whiteness of your top layer. It also keeps distractions to a minimum in terms of what’s visible beneath the dress shirt. Another color that will help keep your undershirt operating in the background is light gray.
Cotton is king when it comes to the best undershirt for white dress shirts. It’s a lightweight, comfortable fabric that’s both breathable and durable. Most quality undershirts also incorporate a small percentage of elastane to expand your range of motion. Generalities aside, always go with what feels the best on your body and what looks the best under your dress shirts.
If it’s doing its job, the best undershirt for white dress shirts will keep your look crisp and professional. But perhaps most importantly, it’ll keep your bare chest and back from attracting unwanted attention. ISTO’s Classic T-Shirt, my top overall pick, is the best of the best in terms of form, function, and construction.
Stick to short-sleeve crew neck undershirts when you’re wearing white dress shirts. There’s a time and place for other types of shirts like v-necks and tank tops, but they end up drawing too much attention under white dress shirts.
Yes, wearing an undershirt for white dress shirts is always advised. Otherwise you risk attracting unwanted attention to your nipples, chest hair, and other awkward bits that are best kept under wraps when you’re trying to make a good impression.
Wearing a white shirt under a dress shirt is a good idea, not only to help keep you from sweating through your dress shirt but also to keep your bare chest and back from making an unwanted appearance. Make sure, though, that the undershirt isn’t visible below whichever color dress shirt you choose.