Q And Answer: Undershirts

February 10, 2010

Q and Answer: Undershirts

Chris writes: I’ve worn Hanes undershirts for years (crewneck), and the most recent purchase has been a disappointment. They seem several inches shorter and continually come untucked. It doesn’t help that I’m 6′0″ and weigh 130lbs. (where’s the small & tall clothing?).

I was wondering if you could weigh-in on undershirts. I’m thinking it’s time to graduate to shirts a little nicer in quality than Hanes, and I’m looking for opinions.

First of all: I’m sincerely not trying to be a jerk or anything, but you’re six feet tall and weigh 130 pounds?  Man alive.  There was a time when I could literally see me ribs, and I weighed 155.  You’re going to have a hard time finding something for a frame that out-of-the-norm.

One of the big problems with undershirts is that most of them are manufactured under license – Calvin Klein doesn’t make Calvin Klein undershirts.  Even those that aren’t, such as those made by undershirt-specific manufacturers, are often made in second-rate overseas factories and are wildly inconsistent.

The other is that they’re rarely long enough to be worn as undershirts.  Many, after washing, barely reach the beltline… and if you buy your normal size, they tend to balloon around the body in an exceedingly unflattering way.

You should be looking for undershirts that fit your body tightly but comfortably, are soft and are durable.  You should also be wearing v-necks any time you are wearing an open collar.

So, given those goals, what are your options?

Well, we got a few free undershirts from our blog sponsor RibbedTee.com, and have been happy with them.  They’re ribbed, which you may or may not like, but that helps keep their shape.  They’re also long enough.  There are cheaper options, and softer jersey options, but RibbedTee.com is certainly worth considering.

If you’re looking for a heavier shirt, the Kirkland-branded shirts at Costco are of excellent quality, and very inexpensive.  The sizing is traditional-ish, but the jersey is soft enough and very heavy in weight.  They’re cheap, too – about $12 for a three pack, last time we bought them.

Lately, when I’m not wearing my RibbedTee freebies, I wear mostly Alternative Apparel.  They’re not as long as I’d like, but they’re not bad in that department, and they’re fantastically soft.  The “basic” model is plenty soft, no need to spend the extra for the “perfect” model.  I usually wear the aa1023 – basic v-neck, though it looks like they only sell it wholesale at the AA site.  You can give them a call and I’m sure they’ll help you find them, or sign up for a wholesale account.  American Apparel, which is a little longer and a little less soft, is also an option.

There are a few options if you’re looking for “tall” sized shirts.  Stafford, a house brand at JC Penney, offers tall shirts for a very reasonable price.  I’d usually wear a large, but would size down to a medium tall if I were buying Stafford.  The same applies to Lands’ End, which offers tall sizes for undershirts as well, and have very solid and consistent quality.

If you’ve found the perfect undershirt, let us know by email – contact@putthison.com.