Men’s Undershirts – Undershirt History & Style – Under Shirts Fabrics Crew Neck V-Neck Tank Top

Men’s Undershirts – History & Style Hi! I’m Antonio Centeno, the founder of Real
Men Real Style. Today I’m going to be talking with you about the undershirt — yes, the
undershirt. I’m going to be giving you the history of the undershirt. I’m going to be
talking about styles of undershirts. I’m going to be talking about the fabrics that undershirts
are made from, okay? All right. If you haven’t already, you should
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You’ll have to pay for that book elsewhere. I’ll occasionally do this maybe once every
90 days, so if you jump on it, it will eventually happen, so that’s the one thing. If you like
this video, I always appreciate it if you like it. Let’s go ahead and get into undershirts, the
lowly undershirt. I am wearing one right now made by my friend, Mike, over at RibbedTee.
It’s a company he started over in Los Angeles. The undershirt is something that many of us
use and many of us don’t even know the history behind it. UNDERSHIRT HISTORY Undershirts, as we see them today, basically
the T-shirt came out of the US Military and it was something that was in the Navy, Coast
Guard, other services, they had it underneath as protection. It provided a bit more warmth
and it was great for absorbing sweat and protecting the more expensive clothing on the outside,
so let’s go farther back in history. Now, there’s not a lot of documentation on
this, I don’t know why, but if you go back to Roman soldiers, if you look at Chinese
soldiers, they wore forms of undershirts. Oftentimes, they were just fabric draped around
the body, but they served as protection and also protecting their expensive garments. A lot of the times, especially if they were
an officer or if they were of a higher rank, it was something that the clothing that they
wore was very expensive — you had less clothing, it was all hand-made, so you wanted to protect
it from your own body because you didn’t want it to appear soiled. It was easier to
change out that undersheet, I guess, than to change and go and wash all your clothing. Let’s move forward 18th, 19th, 20th Century.
All of a sudden, handmade clothing is disappearing. Manufacturers are starting to make clothing
and they are systemizing in a sense what we normally wear. If you wanted to go out and
wear something that’s against society or totally different, you know how hard it is to find
something like that because the clothing manufacturers in many ways dictate what we wear. So in that way, they decided that, “Well,
let’s go with the undershirt.” It serves the purpose, like I mentioned, of protection.
It serves the purpose of helping keep you a bit warmer. “Let’s go ahead” and they decided
that they were going to make it. We saw the union suits. You can do a Google search on
it. A lot of people make fun of it, but it does serve the purpose of keeping us warm
and of protecting the more expensive clothing on the outside of the body. We’ve talked about the history. Let’s talk
about the styles. I’ve got some examples. STYLES • Tank top – I don’t have an example of
this one, the wife-beater. Just do a Google search, tank-top wife-beater. This is the
one without the sleeves. I’m not a big fan of it because I don’t think it serves the
purpose of protecting my clothing. Yes, I do sweat and I want to protect my clothing.
I wear an antiperspirant and that kind of stuff, but I still sweat, so I wear clothing
that protects my nice shirts from sweating in the armpit area. Those types of shirts I don’t think really
do a good job. Some men like them and they like it just basically how you can’t see your
nipples through if you’re wearing a really lightweight shirt, so that’s why perhaps they
wear it. • V-neck – Let’s move on to the next one,
which I’ve got an example. I’m going to give you the V-neck undershirt. You can see this
one has a V-neck. I am wearing a V-neck as well, and the reason I like wearing a V-neck
is because I can leave this shirt undone here. No one is going to see I have an undershirt
on and I’m safe. We’ll get into this in fabrics. This one is
made from 50% cotton, 50% polyester, and be thinking about why I would approve of something
that uses a manmade fiber, but we’ll get into that in a few seconds. • Crew neck – This is where it’s going to
go all the way up to the top. This is probably the most common undershirt on the planet.
This is where the modern-day T-shirt came from. So if you go back and look at some of
the films in the 1950s, the Wild One, these are guys who are wearing their undershirts
in a sense with leather jackets over that. Eventually, they became the T-shirt, which
believe it or not, the T-shirt is a fashion item and has really just become popular in
the 1990s in this part of the 21st Century. I always get those century things mixed up. • Long sleeve – The other style I want to
talk about is the long sleeve. Do I have a long sleeve example? I do, and this is more
closer to what we would see in the union, the union suit, and this is for thermal purposes.
I live here in Wisconsin. It gets cold and I do have some thermal underwear. I’ve also
got a full body suit because it keeps you a little bit warmer, but this is the long
sleeve. Oftentimes, you just see thermal underwear. Go ahead and do a Google search and it’ll
have a picture pop up, I’m sure. • Athletic – Now beyond that, we also have
athletic. Now Under Armour has really done a great job coming in and almost cornering
the market on this, but before Under Armour came out, Patagonia, North Face, a lot of
these backpacking companies, they were actually putting out some great undergarments. They
did a good job of wicking away moisture and protecting you. I remember I picked this one up back in 1997,
I believe, and I still have it. It is made from Capilene, Patagonia. I don’t even know
if they make this stuff anymore, but this was an awesome undershirt. Actually, I use
it just as regular wear when I was down in Ecuador. I went down there with an entomologist,
and you can do a Google search on what that means. We were down at the rainforest and
it was pretty cool. We were actually studying all types of insects in the rainforest. I
have a biology background, by the way. • Compression – We’ve talked about that
compression. I’m not going to get into compression undergarments too much. It’s come out of the
women’s. Spanx was the big company over there, but if you somehow want to shape your body,
go ahead and look into that. I’m not a big advocate of it, but that stuff is out there. • Specialty Undershirts – There are also
specialty undershirts that are made to help wick away moisture to absorb sweat. And if
you sweat a lot, go check out the Undershirt Guy. Just do a Google search, “undershirt
guy”, Tug. He’s put out tons of great information on this. Now, undershirts also come in a variety of
colors. I just showed you a number of whites, but they also come in gray and black. Black,
you want to make sure your shirt’s dark; otherwise, it’s going to show through. Gray is nice.
I like gray because you can get a little bit dirtier and stain it. I think they’re going
to last longer than the whites simply because they’re going to hide stains and it works
perfectly fine under a white shirt. I’ve never had them show through, but then again, I don’t
wear really, really lightweight white shirts. Now let’s get into fabric. FABRIC Cotton is going to be the most common — durable,
proven, good to go. See something that’s 100% cotton, you’re probably safe. Now, there are
different levels of quality of cotton, so that’s why something that’s made from a super
pima cotton is going to possibly be more expensive than just made from a normal cotton coming
out of West Texas. I’m from West Texas, but honestly, we don’t make the highest quality
cotton there. So having said that, I’m sure I insulted some guys at Texas Tech University
because they’re all about their cotton, but in any case guys, face the reality, super
pima cotton and other things like that are where it’s at. Now wools, there’s a company called Icebreaker
that’s really making some great undershirts out of wool. So if you’re into that and you
want something that will really absorb sweat, go check them out. BLENDS Now, I alluded to this and let’s talk quickly
about blends. Now, 20 years ago, undershirts that are made from polyester, I would say
absolutely not, but they may come a long way especially with everything that we’ve seen
in the athletic type of garments. This one, I brought it up earlier, it’s made
by RibbedTee and this one is 50% polyester, 50% cotton, and I love it. What separates
this and why it works is because of the weave, so you can’t see it here, but this is a gauze
weave. I can almost see through this, very, very lightweight. If you’re in a hot area,
you’re in Arizona, you’re down in Florida, this is the undershirt that you’re going to
want to check out if you wear undershirts, okay, guys? The best undershirt, what is the right one?
Well, the right one is the one that serves you for what you need. I own a variety. I
advice you own a variety. I advice buying less, buying higher quality. With that, guys, if you want to learn more
about men’s style, make sure to go check us out over at This entire
video right here was in support of my article over at The Art of Manliness. I’m going to
link to that great article right down below, so go check it out. Okay, guys, I’ll see you later. Bye-bye.

100 thoughts on “Men’s Undershirts – Undershirt History & Style – Under Shirts Fabrics Crew Neck V-Neck Tank Top”

  1. I have wool leggings for thermal protection in the winter. I don't really understand why in school, children and even teenegers ridicule those who wear it. When I put it on in the winter I feel like my leg are on fire and I don't feel cold. I recommend them and full underwear for the winter. It's fantastic. You can even wear it home in the winter and save money on the heating and I'm not kidding.

  2. Sounds like a great addition – I wouldn't rank it as if it serves you well it's just the right shirt for the right moment?

  3. Thrift or buy an athletic cut and then take to a tailor. Made to measure can be very affordable if you're willing to work with a Bangkok tailor (check out Raja over at Monte Carlo Tailors) or a guy you trust in Hong Kong. You ought to just take a holiday in Phuket, Thailand and come back well dressed 🙂

  4. Really? There are a few good American brands – although I agree Egypt has some very affordable local brands/companies!

  5. nice 🙂 Also I got my haircut for the first time without my sister being present. (she's the only one who can describe to people how i want my hair done :P) But this time I used the book that you gave us through email, and it helped a lot. Thank you 🙂

  6. I know but it does not look as good! Im a bit overweigth, not much but you can still see the remnats of a beer belly, I use suits and I think they look good, but when I see a more "worked out" body if he wears a suit, it looke much better most of the time!

  7. heya arun, what you're referring to is either a "scoop neck" or "wide neck" undershirt (or t-shirt). these types of undershirts have a much larger neck opening — designed so the collar line of the undershirt is concealed or not as visible.

  8. hey there androkles04 – the sweatshield undershirts are very good for and designed for guys that need extra sweat protection in the underarm area. their v-necks are pretty deep too, so they shouldn't be visible under a dress shirt.

  9. surendra, it's not so much related to the fabric content as it is the weave and weight of a fabric.

    you can have very heavy/thick 100% cotton or 50/50 poly/cotton undershirts. you can also have very light ones in those same blends as well.

    the ones that antonio talked about in his video are super duper lightweight.

    i've seen other very lightweight 100% cotton undershirts from european-based companies, like the ones from shirt-less (search for shirtless undershirts on google).

  10. Piece of advise. Your videos awesome, but sometimes I don't watch them because of length. I don't watch a lot of videos over 4-5 mins. Rule of thums, keep your vids under 4 mins, 5 mins tops. P.S. I love your blazer.

  11. I love the background on this a lot. I love Pima cotton the most next to a blend with polyester to hide the nipples and it's almost see-through

  12. any solution for an undershirt with a lightweight white shirt? they tend to expose the undershirt especially outdoors in the sunshine.

  13. if you could leave a simple list spelling out the products you mention in the about section it would help a lot. I live in Albuquerque and was wondering what the name of that light weight shirt was. YouTube Transcript says "red sea." Is it Ribbed T, Rib tee, Ribb-tee, etc? I love the videos. I subscribed a long time ago and find myself coming back and liking all the time.

  14. ˙ Antonio,
    Nice vid. Did you notice that the right sleeve on your blazer has 3 buttons and the left four buttons. Why?

  15. The functioning sleeve buttons are an indication of quality and fine detail in the jacket. Leavening one or two unbuttoned is a little way of showing that off, am i right? Great pocket square by the way!

  16. hey bud. I'm not into wearing suits – I'm looking for clothing which is clean and stylish but a bit more casual. like dress shirts with nice dress pants. got any videos that go into detail about those types of clothes?

  17. Yeap tank tops, i have 1 tank top coming to me but usually i wear a t-shirt and on top of that a Polo-Shirt or a hoodie, or a sweater. That's a good mix of casual and sharpness for me…. I would be embarrassed as hell to go around in bus to school wearing a god damn suit… LMAO. And also unconventional.

    So yeah. And also i will wear sweatpants/college pants and chino's and sometimes jeans.

  18. Actually, in history having a white undershirt was a fashion statement that defined your status. Look up bombasting, and you will real that it was done with white clothe. Then slashing (Germans) was done to show the white. It's incredible how even today we use (similarly) their concepts when it come to dressing

  19. I have heard that grey undershirts and show through dress shirts less then white due to the fact that grey absorbs more light then white.

  20. I read through all the comments hoping somebody had asked this before.

    Why is your jacket's chest pocket on the right side? I personally wear my watch on my right hand even though I'm right handed. I was wondering if it was on purposed ( you had it made as such) if so why? 

  21. In the 19th Century the T-shirt (crew neck style) was developed for sailors in both Britain and the US because the navy uniform had an open necked "blouse" and the Victorians did not approve of the guys showing off their chest hair. That is why the T-shirt came into being.

  22. Thompson Tee only has white or black. What would you recommend for getting sweat resistant, physically not to warm grey undershirts? 

  23. hi Antonio, one question plz! im 30 and im 62 kg and 1.58 height, what should i wear, i mean i don't feel comfortable wearing tight shirt or not even tight jeans or i don't even feel comfortable to tuck in my shirt in, what i wear always is oversize cloth,, so can you help me out ? thank you

  24. American men wear undershirts under everything …including T-shirts. 16 years of living outside of the USA broke me of it – I got tired of being laughed at pretty quickly.  It isn't stylish. It isn't sexy. It doesn't look good.  The only time I will wear one is when I am wearing a suit with a necktie and the undershirt is completely invisible.  Never wear an undershirt so as the collar peeks out and waves to all the world you are a clueless American man. 

  25. Awesome videos and advice! 😉

    Hahahaha "Some men like and they like how basically how you can't see their nipples…"

    That bit was hilarious!

  26. Hi Antonio, Patagonia still makes Capilene in four different weights, I really like the silk weight. Thank You for all your videos and advice

  27. Great videos. This is stuff we're never taught growing up. They should attach a course like this to home economics or other prep courses.

  28. I like the feel of a quality shirt against my body so I never owned a undershirt. Now I wear clothes I am forced to wear for work. ( polyester/plastic blend of some kind). Now I wear only high quality undershirts. I deserve it. .

  29. TY for this video blog.  Everyone has their own personal style so I respect your promotion of the v-neck t-shirt.  I've always thought crew necks were better.  But that is just my own personal taste.  I like Tug's web site and post there frequently.  I like the more expensive t-shirts/undershirts but the Ribbed T brand is not good.  The material is so sheer that you can see your skin almost.  They gave me a free t-shirt once and I had to throw it away because of this.  Tug has a detailed list of expensive undershirts.    Alfani and Express make good ones and I buy those.

  30. I never used undershirts. I never understood why you would want to. My view was it just make you more hot and you sweet more. (In Fl) I cummute by bicyle. I where an undershirt for the ride then change it to a normal shirt when I get there. Is there an undershirt I can put under and not need to change? Or is that asking to much?

  31. What about grey undershirts, I've heared that they're not showing under white dress shirt. Should we buy them instead of whites???

  32. I really like gray tones; if I can find them, I like dark greens or blues for undershirts. I think that my main issue (well sweating a lot) finding a thin enough shirt that isn't cheap feeling either. Underarmor has done well in releasing decent ones; I suppose I am just picky and prefer a cotton feel. Great video, thank you.

  33. I was in a wedding party recently and as we were dressing I was trying to explain to the other groomsmen that: (1) you don't button the bottom button of your coat; and (2) you always always ALWAYS wear an undershirt when you are wearing a suit/tux. They complained it would be too hot. I told them it keeps you cooler and wicks away your sweat. I told them to trust me… I am a lawyer and wear suits Monday through Thursday. Ugh. They agreed to keep the bottom button unbuttoned but refused to wear undershirts. Guess what. They got hot. They got sweaty. And I was nice and cool in my undershirt. I didn't hear you mention in your video that men need to actually wear an undershirt when wearing a suit. You'd think this would be common knowledge, but you'd be surprised.

  34. The history is really interesting. You should write a book on military fashion. ^^
    I can't recall having ever met anyone who used an undershirt that isn't american. I also am not entirely sure they even sell those in norway. They're thinner than anything I've seen in the stores. oO

  35. Just a heads up- I wear the "heat gear tactical compression" v-neck undershirts from Under Armour. I like them the best because they're thin, tight to the body, and cool. They wick away any prespiration and protect my expensive dress shirts. Only downside- right now they only come in white, and black… no grey.

  36. All good advice. May everyone take it to heart. I notice that you, with your military background, have wholly ignored what used to be called normal undershirts, but are now referred to as wife-beaters. When I was a boy, wearing undershirts of any sort was not done. When I joined the military I was issued T-shirts, and that was fine. About 1979, the army went to a light-green shirt. You could just see through it. With a white T-shirt you could see the wings on your arms and it expanded the shirt, but with an old-style undershirt, all that went away. I went to wife-beaters out of Egyptian cotton. Never returned. I was alone in this, of course. You should try them. People who sweat a lot maybe should be in jobs which don't require jackets on the job, or their bosses should get with the program and not require jackets.

    PS: This is the second or third of your videos which have been reversed so your jacket pocket is on the wrong side and your jacket is buttoned as a woman would.

  37. I would never wear a undershirt under a t-shirt. one of the big reasons is its hard to wear a fitted t shirt and find an even smaller fitted undershirt.

  38. Here's my question: A guy at work wears a wife beater t-shirt under every shirt he wears, every shirt. I can see wearing one under a dress shirt, but a polo pullover? What's the purpose? Pesonally, I tried wearing one, and it was way to constrictive. I felt like I had a sock on around my upper body.

  39. you need a better back ground. White's kinda lame and boring. You don't have a reading room to record in?

  40. always wore a t-shirt as a small kid,in my late 20s i saw a movie on cable with alan ladd called CHINA 1943 and he wore a A-SHIRT and i thought that looked cool,been wearing dockers A-SHIRTs OR WIFE BEATER ever since.,

  41. I wear the white tank top undershirts to school under my white t shirt(even though they are undershirts as well)I wear them under my normal tanktops too. I also wear them swimming. And I wear them under my white suit for special occasions. I dont feel stressed without them. When I wear the the white tank top undershirt as a normal shirt I'll even put another one on because I'm so used to it.

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