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Foregoing undershirt when wearing dress shirts?

bjornb17

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I've been on a mission lately to refine my style in the sense of being able to wear my business dress clothes in a slightly more relaxed and comfortable manner but without sacrificing my standards and giving into the overly casual clothes you see a lot in the office these days. Also I live in Texas where it will be 100+ degrees for months at a time.

A couple ways I've already been accomplishing this is, for starters having most of my suits being lighter weight and either in a natural stretch weave or occasionally with a 2% blend of a stretchy material. That has been really great because the fabrics don't get all hot, sticky, and weird when it is warm out. A second way of doing this is wearing no show socks to get rid of that extra fabric around my lower legs and this really does help provide ventilation and cools me down more effectively.

Another piece of the puzzle I'm currently looking into is whether or not to ditch the undershirt. Reading around the internet and watching youtube videos, it seems this topic is pretty well divided culturally. It seems the norm outside of the United States, including in England which is sort of my preferred aesthetic anyway, is to not wear an undershirt and essentially treat the dress shirt as the undershirt when worn as part of a suit. However, in America, people act like the undershirt is a necessity and it would be disgusting to not wear one. One of the cited examples is that the undershirt is a barrier to keep your armpits of the shirt from turning yellow. Well, I can't wear antiperspirant due to an allergy to the aluminum (I just wear regular deodorant) and so that is not the primary factor for me anyway. Also I don't really sweat too much and i have a bunch of dress shirts so not like any one shirt will get a high concentration of sweat anyway.

Intuitively I just feel like the undershirt is sort of a stuffy Americanism and the "reasons" cited for wearing them are often just excuses to justify the status quo. For the most part my high quality dress shirts feel a lot more comfortable than any undershirt, even the nice micro modal ones I have used, and it would be nice to shed that extra layer of fabric and be a little more cooler and comfortable as a result.

With all that said, what are your thoughts on ditching the undershirt?
 

maxalex

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It’s entirely a personal choice, with the proviso that a thin white dress shirt risks making a spectacle of your chest hair, should you be so endowed. This is a look out of fashion since the disco era.

Dress shirts are harder but not impossible to keep clean without undershirts, which at any rate do nothing to prevent collar ring. Washing in hot water (for light colors) and pre-treating/scrubbing works wonders.
 

mhip

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I've been on a mission lately to refine my style in the sense of being able to wear my business dress clothes in a slightly more relaxed and comfortable manner but without sacrificing my standards and giving into the overly casual clothes you see a lot in the office these days. Also I live in Texas where it will be 100+ degrees for months at a time.

A couple ways I've already been accomplishing this is, for starters having most of my suits being lighter weight and either in a natural stretch weave or occasionally with a 2% blend of a stretchy material. That has been really great because the fabrics don't get all hot, sticky, and weird when it is warm out. A second way of doing this is wearing no show socks to get rid of that extra fabric around my lower legs and this really does help provide ventilation and cools me down more effectively.

Another piece of the puzzle I'm currently looking into is whether or not to ditch the undershirt. Reading around the internet and watching youtube videos, it seems this topic is pretty well divided culturally. It seems the norm outside of the United States, including in England which is sort of my preferred aesthetic anyway, is to not wear an undershirt and essentially treat the dress shirt as the undershirt when worn as part of a suit. However, in America, people act like the undershirt is a necessity and it would be disgusting to not wear one. One of the cited examples is that the undershirt is a barrier to keep your armpits of the shirt from turning yellow. Well, I can't wear antiperspirant due to an allergy to the aluminum (I just wear regular deodorant) and so that is not the primary factor for me anyway. Also I don't really sweat too much and i have a bunch of dress shirts so not like any one shirt will get a high concentration of sweat anyway.

Intuitively I just feel like the undershirt is sort of a stuffy Americanism and the "reasons" cited for wearing them are often just excuses to justify the status quo. For the most part my high quality dress shirts feel a lot more comfortable than any undershirt, even the nice micro modal ones I have used, and it would be nice to shed that extra layer of fabric and be a little more cooler and comfortable as a result.

With all that said, what are your thoughts on ditching the undershirt?
I have adopted pretty much having a thin ( Uniqlo airism ) undershirt in just about every situation including dress shirts.
The first thing that goes on a shirt is the armpits, which can ruin an otherwise fine shirt you want to keep.
 

The Noble Dandy

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I see no reason to wear an undershirt if you don't sweat much. I don't sweat much either, but I tried both options last summer and felt better when not wearing an undershirt. If it's very hot I like to unbutton 3 buttons of my shirt and I can only do this if I'm not wearing an undershirt.
 

notdos

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A good quality base layer will actually help keep you comfortable, through evaporative cooling. And it looks better.
Same thing with socks.

Phillip
 

bjornb17

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A good quality base layer will actually help keep you comfortable, through evaporative cooling. And it looks better.
Same thing with socks.

Phillip

I do see the point with shoes since leather is a much grippier material that fits tighter and also since shoes don't get washed it is good to have that thin layer of sock to facilitate comfort and moisture wicking so shoes don't start to stink. A cotton dress shirt on the other hand is already pretty light and breathable and gets washed every time it is worn. Just the same way that wearing an undershirt under a cotton t-shirt adds an extra layer of stuffiness and I run cooler without it, I sort of foresee the same thing with a dress shirt?
 

perlustrator

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I have adopted pretty much having a thin ( Uniqlo airism ) undershirt in just about every situation including dress shirts.

I also love the AIRism V-Necks for under-shirts. They come in white and black, so they are great for layering. I sweat a bit, and they definitely help keep me cooler and prevent my shirt from getting excessively damp.
 

maxalex

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I have adopted pretty much having a thin ( Uniqlo airism ) undershirt in just about every situation including dress shirts.
The first thing that goes on a shirt is the armpits, which can ruin an otherwise fine shirt you want to keep.
Armpit stains don’t ruin shirts, they can be removed with ammonia, Grandma’s laundry bar soap such as Marseille or Fels Naptha, overnight soaking and elbow grease with a stiff brush.

What does ruin shirts are frayed collars and cuffs, which used to be replaceable before the advance of throwaway culture.
 

maxalex

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But, you end up losing color there. That's when I get rid of them.
White shirts maybe not so much...
Ammonia and bar soaps don’t alter color. At any rate, yellowing underarm stains are mostly a problem with white shirts.
 

DJLB

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It’s entirely a personal choice, with the proviso that a thin white dress shirt risks making a spectacle of your chest hair, should you be so endowed. This is a look out of fashion since the disco era.

Dress shirts are harder but not impossible to keep clean without undershirts, which at any rate do nothing to prevent collar ring. Washing in hot water (for light colors) and pre-treating/scrubbing works wonders.
Englishman here. You are right, the undershirt isn't really a thing here. Some of the older generation (and I'm 57!) might wear a vest but that doesn't protect the armpits.
I have frequently noticed undershirts when watching US television, and thought "What the hell? You're in Miami!"
 

Mannion

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I don't think there is a good reason to wear or not wear an undershirt.

I was never terribly sweaty but I found that shaving my armpits and not using deodorant or anti-perspirant made that area much better. Hair traps the moisture which contributes to bacteria producing the smell and keeps the sweat in place which is part of what makes your shirts go yellow.

Wearing only natural fibres and no polyester or non-iron shirts also helps a lot.
 

Tony_P

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I've always been partial to a snug, light, sleeveless cotton "muscle" shirt. They've always made me more comfortable because they absorb the perspiration on my chest and back, leaving me drier. (I'm about 95% sure that the wicking away and evaporation of the sweat actually cools the body.) Not to get stereotypical (plus I'm half Italian), but those Southern Italian men probably knew what they were doing.
 

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