Dammit. This should be an easy one. Instead it is so simple that it has actually become a problem. No one should own white crewneck undershirts because they look bad under button down shirts. The time for upgrading to gray v-necks is now, don't get left behind.
“Are you telling me that there is a wrong undershirt?”
No, because no one would ever actually ask that question. No one cares. But also yes. If you are reading this then either you own exclusively light gray v neck undershirts or else your undershirts are dumb and you are dumb by proxy.
If you aren’t dumb by proxy, then feel free to read on in smug triumph and send glorious hate vibes at the dumbness around you.
Here is the basic product breakdown:
What an undershirt should do
- Create a barrier between your gross (relatively) torso/armpits and your nice (hopefully) shirt
- Maybe keep you warm in the winter if you like that sort of thing
- Survive many trips through the washing machine
- Fit snug with your body
- Be comfortable I guess
That is pretty much it. If you have undershirts that are doing more for you then I guess I’m impressed and maybe would be willing to reconsider the mean things I said above.
What an undershirt should not do
- Be seen by anyone else in any way ever
- Make you really hot
- Cost a lot
- Require you to make a choice while getting dressed
Got it. So now to the main point where undershirts fail: undershirts should not be seen.
Crew neck undershirts will be visible any time that you unbutton the collar of your shirt. This looks bad in any decade that is not the 90s. White undershirts show clearly through white button down shirts. Conveniently, this looks bad in all decades. Gray v-necks are a simple solution to all of this. Many companies make them, I like Uniqlo's options:
The Uniqlo Men’s Gray V Neck
Uniqlo is constantly changing their product line up so I’m sure that link went dead the minute I posted this. Sorry. But I’m sure they offer some similar variant. Go forth and purchase with confidence.
I can think of four excuses for crew neck apologists:
- “Chill out, who cares, it is just an undershirt showing through” – This usually comes from someone who doesn’t want to look wrong, is afraid of change, or is lazy. You understand that it looks better to wear v-necks so just stop buying crew necks and start buying v-necks. Its fine. No one has to know. Shit, you think that I never wore jean shorts back in the day? We all make mistakes.
- “90s fashion is making a comeback so stop being a baby and embrace change” – ok, fine, this is true and I am being a baby. But for this excuse to work that white crew neck must be nice, in good condition, and likely cost $30-$50 or more. You also have to be happy that it cost that much and have thought to yourself “$50 was actually a good price for the quality of this white crewneck”. Otherwise you are probably trying to sneak by with a cheap hanes undershirt that is a few years old and I hate you for your sneakiness.
- “I never wear button downs or shirts with collars” – Seriously? Never? You have never been to a wedding or anything moderately formal? Actually, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t own white button downs of any sort then think of the opportunity ahead of you. Go buy one. Wear it. Holy shit, you look totally different now, isn’t that cool!
- “I never unbutton my collar ever at all ever unless I’m taking the shirt off and I think it is barbaric” – ok, fine, that is pretty intense, but fine. At least admit that there is no loss in switching to v-necks unless you have an abnormally sweaty upper middle chest.
As for white undershirts showing through white button down shirts I can only think of two excuses:
- “No they don’t” – Yes they do. Google and real life are good proof. Gray undershirts may not be perfectly undetectable but they are a significant improvement for the majority of skin tones.
- “Who cares” – Plenty of people who see you won’t notice. But some will and it will look less polished. If you acknowledge that gray is even a tiny slightly bit better then why would you buy that next pack of tiny slightly inferior white crewnecks?
So that covers one (out of ten) points on the list of what an undershirt should and should not do. I’m sure going into depth on any more points would destroy any hope of me ever having friends again, so feel free to comment if you still disagree.
What is the actual point here? Well, honestly, getting your undershirts right is a pretty easy way to look better and that is cool. But the bigger take away is this: Companies do not make products that are good for people, they make products that people will buy.
Yes, there are companies which are exceptions and there are also often good products that people buy. But it is good to remember that products like smartphone screen “protectors”, black suits, junk food, and white crewneck undershirts are sold every day to people who would be better off without them. Trust no one, question everything, blah blah blah you get the point.