Best undershirts?
May 3, 2005 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Any advice on the best men's undershirts to buy?

I recently got hooked on white short sleeve undershirts and wear them under polos or button down shirts every day. I've tried Old Navy and Fruit of the Loom, but they shrink in the drier, stretch out in the neck, and the sleeves are sometimes a little too short or tight. Any advice on what better brand to buy?
posted by kdern to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total)
Jockey has a very tight-knit, soft cotton undershirt. They do shrink as it's 100% cotton, but it is softer than anything else I've bought. The collars are wider than some, which makes them less likely to stretch. If you have a long torso be sure to get a size larger as I find them to be a tad short.
posted by letterneversent at 10:40 AM on May 3, 2005

Response by poster: That's the problem - I would love to find something that isn't too short and won't shrink significantly.
posted by kdern at 10:50 AM on May 3, 2005

What a weird coincidence--I just got some Russell "Jerzees" that I _totally_ dig. Nice thick cotton, good length, no tag in the back of the collar, and you can get 'em pretty cheap. Before these, I had always gone with the Hanes "Beefy-Tee", but I like these new ones even better.
posted by LairBob at 10:56 AM on May 3, 2005

You might need something with a cotton / polyester blend or pre-shrunk. I've had good luck with Hanes (long tails) although they as soft as Jockey. Do you go for crew-neck or v-neck?
posted by letterneversent at 10:57 AM on May 3, 2005

These pima cotton undershirts from Stafford look pretty nice.
posted by letterneversent at 10:59 AM on May 3, 2005

hanes no-tag t's have always worked well for me...
posted by RockyChrysler at 11:09 AM on May 3, 2005

I've got Calvin Klein undershirts (crew and v-neck) that I got at Filene's on sale (and thus reasonably priced). I found that the material is much better (softer, thicker and more durable) than other brands I've tried (hanes, fruit of the loom). I haven't had any problems with shrinkage, or wearing out from frequent washings. Further, I haven't found that the stretch much at the neck (more robust collar), and I have a pretty big head.
posted by JonahBlack at 11:11 AM on May 3, 2005

I confess to paying to much for super-comfortable Calvin Klein undershirts. They are better than anything else I have tried.

Time to watch the Filene's flyers, I spose.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:23 AM on May 3, 2005

I too have been rocking the tagless Hanes.
posted by trbrts at 11:24 AM on May 3, 2005

I prefer hanes to fruit fo the loom. They shrink less and seem to be longer to begin with (I hate it when the shirt becomes untucked). Some of the brands listed above make higher quality shirts, but I find them to be too heavy. The hanes ones are very light and seem to hold up well enough to the rigors of daily wear.
posted by jmgorman at 11:25 AM on May 3, 2005

One more for Calvin Klein. They stretch less at the neck and thus last longer. I have had luck with Nautica as well (though the collar is slightly narrower than you might be used to. Stay away from Chereskin--they seemed like a good deal at the time but the collar got all messed up quickly.
posted by lackutrol at 11:37 AM on May 3, 2005

I don't wear any, but I know people who swear on Brooks Brothers undershirts. expensive, of course
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on May 3, 2005

Another vote for like the hanes no-tag.
posted by filmgeek at 12:21 PM on May 3, 2005

A german friend of mine, who used to work for Levi's, alleged that clothing manufacturers sell higher quality stuff in Europe than in the US. If the Marks And Spencer T-Shirt that I'm wearing right now is any indication, he's absolutely right. It's the most comfortable t-shirt I've ever owned. Slightly longer than US versions, very soft, hasn't shrunk or stretched out of shape. Of course, at the going exchange rates when I bought them, they were around $10 each. But they were totally worth it - I wish I had stocked up. I have no idea if they ship to the US, but here's the link:

(Sadly, the 100% cotton V-neck doesn't seem to be available anymore).
posted by bonecrusher at 12:25 PM on May 3, 2005

If money is no object and you're not stuck on cotton as the material you might want to look at either Ex Officio Give-N-Go shirts or the Ex Officio Performance Tee.

Neither are cotton so they don't have the shrinking/warping problems. The performance tee is very soft, the give-n-go shirt is almost like wearing elastic silk, it's really comfortable.

The give-n-go shirt has the added benefit of the aegis microbe shield so strange things don't grow on it. Both are washable in the sink and dry quickly, which is great for traveling on the road. You only need to bring two shirts, one to wear and one that's drying.
posted by ordu at 12:35 PM on May 3, 2005

bonecrusher: They don't deliver outside Britain, but will take orders from people from those countries to be delivered in the UK, so if you knew someone in the UK, I guess you could get them to hook you up.
posted by SoftRain at 1:28 PM on May 3, 2005

I like FotL no-tag crewnecks... they've never had weird shrinking/neck problems for me.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:44 PM on May 3, 2005

Time to watch the Filene's flyers, I spose.

If you have a Filene's Basement, their discount store, they seem to stock Calvin Klein, 2(x)ist and other brand underwear at cheap prices pretty consistently. No need to watch for sale flyers.
posted by dnash at 1:54 PM on May 3, 2005

Stay away from the George Foreman line of t-shirts if tight isn't your thing. I tend to get big/tall t-shirts, and these were the latest default line of tees at my B&T shop. They're all right, just a *lot* snugger than anything else I've tried at the same size and length.

My tagless Hanes developed holes rather quickly (although I suspect a mishap with bleach that my wife has neglected to mention might've been the cause of that).

I believe my Staffords have held up pretty well.
posted by kimota at 2:00 PM on May 3, 2005

My experience: Calvin Klein undershirts are too short. The material is nice, but they are way too short.

Also, go for the V necks. Nothing looks worse than a nice shirt with your underwear showing through.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:13 PM on May 3, 2005

I usually buy plain t-shirts like that from Banana Republic. They hold up and are also tagless.
posted by aaronh at 2:16 PM on May 3, 2005

I have a couple of Patagonia Capilene t-shirts that I use as undershits when I'm wearing a shirt, tie, and suit sometimes--they're awesome, very comfortable, very breathable, and when you go travelling you only need to bring one or two, since they wash out in the sink and dry quickly. The Brooks Brothers ones are also really nice.

(Just to interject--I was always told that, to the extent you wear undershirts, they should not be visible, which is why James Bond, for example, often wears a 'wife-beater' type undershirt--that way you don't see it when his collar is unbuttoned. So, following this dictum, I wear undershirts only rarely.)
posted by josh at 2:28 PM on May 3, 2005

I was always told that, to the extent you wear undershirts, they should not be visible

Bah. I think a nice undershirt visible at the neck of an unbuttoned shirt, or a sweater, is a really good look, regardless of what "they" say.
posted by biscotti at 4:33 PM on May 3, 2005

Hanes Classic tagless are the best value I've found. They fit me really well and the necks remain nice and flat for a long time. The only other brand I will mention is Stafford. These are by far the softest t-shirts I own (I have a huge drawer with tons of white t-shirts of various brands). The necks have gotten really ratty, but I still wear them on the weekends just because they feel so nice.
posted by aceyim at 4:35 PM on May 3, 2005

I just bought a pack of Hanes Tagless Premium. Not sure about the collar stretching, but they are awesomely long and feel a little nicer than the regular Hanes Tagless. I don't make a big investment in undershirts, I find it's easier to just replace them sooner.
posted by MrZero at 4:45 PM on May 3, 2005

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