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ALPHA MALE: Why Undergarments Matter

Thursday, April 26, 2012

 

It's what underneath that counts: make sure you get the right undershirt.

It is my opinion that every man should wear a t-shirt under his dress shirt.  Some men feel that leaving an undershirt at home on a hot day is the key to staying cool; they are wrong.  A good undershirt will help absorb sweat, before it shows up on the back of your dress shirt.  Additionally, a t-shirt helps maintain the longevity of your dress shirt.  Over the course of the day, your body emits oils that break down the cotton fibers of your dress shirt.  T-shirts absorb these oils and keep them from ruining your shirts. 

Old school undershirts

There are three basic types of t-shirts:

The crew neck is the most common type of t-shirt.  In fact, we would bet the store that every man owns at least one crew neck.  These round collared shirts are versatile and can be worn under your dress shirt or sweater.  Make sure that your crewneck shirt is in decent shape and the collars look crisp.  A worn collar will make you look sloppy and negatively impact your outfit.

The V-neck is similar to the crew neck in that in can be worn in a variety of situations.  I recommend a V-neck when wearing a dress shirt without a tie, and therefore, with the top button open.  A V-neck allows you to wear an undershirt without showing fabric around the neck.  Additionally, V-necks are starting to gain some popularity beyond undershirts, and they are now even seen as casual shirts.

The A-neck or more commonly, the “wife beater” is a ribbed tank top looking shirt that has entered the undershirt market over the last decade.  Due to its ribbing, these shirts can be seen through one’s dress shirt.  While it does not cover one’s armpits like the alternative options, it does help prevent sweat through one’s back.  Interestingly, the “A-neck” shirt largely rose through pop culture and the media that associate this article of clothing with domestic abuse and poverty. 

You didn't say Spanx, did you?

Now for a less traditional option, Spanx has recently launched a line of shirts for men.  Similar to those undergarments that make your wife’s rear end look 10 years younger, these undershirts make your beer blob disappear.  Men’s shapewear is a rapidly growing category, and it will be interesting to see how much undershirt market share these products are able to take in the coming years.

The rules

Finally, no matter the type of undershirt, make sure you follow some basic rules.  First, tuck your shirt into your underwear.  This will ensure that your undershirt isn’t hanging out the back of your outfit.  Next, make sure your undershirt fits.  A baggy undershirt will ruin the appearance of your dress shirt.  Finally, wear deodorant.  An undershirt helps manage your sweat, but it does not manage odor.  A good deodorant or antiperspirant will ensure you keep the room comfortable for others.

{image_3}Marc Streisand is president and owner of Marc Allen Fine Clothiers, and takes the custom clothing business very personally. Having enjoyed a successful career in the clothing industry since 1985, Marc brings his clients extensive specialized experience in menswear. Prior to taking over the Marc Allen store in March 2005, he cultivated his knowledge of luxury male attire in New York and his home state of New Jersey, where he began his vocation at Wallach's Specialty Stores. Nothing gives him greater pleasure, he says, than seeing raw cloth transformed into a custom outfit that can directly impact his customer's lifestyle.

 

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