Men's undershirts that breathe?
March 6, 2013 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend men's undershirts (preferably v-neck, possibly tank) as an alternative to cotton tees?

I am realizing that my standard men's undershirts – 100% cotton white American Apparel crew tees and APC tanks – sometimes get sweaty/clammy and are somewhat heavy to pack for traveling.

I like the looks of this and this from Patagonia but would prefer to avoid crew necks so the undershirt isn't visible under dress shirts, oxfords, etc.

I generally like natural fibers and see that wool, silk, and cashmere might be options, depending on season. I do use these synthetic (100% polyester) briefs and think they're great, so a similar material could work.

So, what breathable, lightweight undershirts are best?
posted by suprenant to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
They're cotton, but I wear Cin2 Core undershirts which are very thin and lightweight, and I haven't had any of those problems. Nice deep v-neck that doesn't show under dress shirts, too.
posted by primethyme at 4:19 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: Smartwool makes microweight V-necks. Great for moisture management and warmth, and the microweight is super light and soft feeling.

Silk will be lighter and more packable but not as comfortable or warm.
posted by a halcyon day at 4:22 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: I've been using Uniqlo ones for years and they work great. This looks like what I have.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:40 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wear RibbedTee every day, and love them. The ribs are designed to wick away moisture, and they do a decent job. You might want to go a size down - they tend to stretch a bit over their wear.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:18 PM on March 6, 2013

Best answer: The classic wife beaters by Brynje do exactly what you want. They have this wide mesh fabric. Not sure if you want to go for a badass look, once you start opening them shirt buttons. Google some more for better pics.
posted by ouke at 3:24 AM on March 7, 2013

The v-neck shirts from La Perla (they have a mens' line; Grigioperla) are amazing and breathable and they just disappear. Hanro also makes fantastic underwear and undershirts. (WARNING: EXPENSIVE.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:29 AM on March 7, 2013

For me, what works is having an entire drawer dedicated to undershirts. If one rips or yellows, no big deal, I just cut it up with scissors and use it for shoe polishing. I try and buy 12 new undershirts a year - I go with Hanes V-neck Tagless. If I get sweaty on the middle of the day, I accept that and switch undershirts. Sweat happens.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:56 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ex Officio Give-N-Go V-Neck Short Sleeve Tee. Thin, lightweight, resists odor, dries fast, durable.

Some misc thoughts;
  • Thinness: The white one is thin enough that I wouldn't say it is appropriate to wear to the gym.
  • Cost: They are not cheap, but my use of them is measured in years so I don't think it's unreasonably priced.
  • Washing: Since they last me years, I need to take more care in washing the white ones. Like most whites, they really should only be washed with other whites, or they will turn dingy grey. Unlike cotton, you can't just blast them with bleach or oxi-clean to turn them white again. Well, you could, but the damage you do will cause them to wear out faster. You can totally wash them in a hotel sink, wring them out in towel and hang them to dry. You may need more than overnight to dry if in a humid climate, I usually bring three and wash one a night.
  • consistent product: I have some that are four years old and some that are brand new, and they are all great. The odor resistance does loose it's power (like non-iron shirts loosing their non-ironness). When traveling I only bring the newer ones. They do loose some of their stretch over time.
  • length: not a tall sized product, but plenty long to stay tucked in under a dress shirt, or not be visible if the untucked with an untucked dress shirt.
  • deep v: a good deep V in the collar keeps it out of view for all of my dress shirts (which vary a good deal when the top button is not buttoned).
The only shirt I use under dress shirts.
posted by fief at 10:33 AM on March 7, 2013

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