Undershirt Etiquette

by Ron Augustine ; Updated September 28, 2017

Can you wear just any old shirt underneath a dress shirt? Is there undershirt etiquette? The following article will answer these questions and provide details on how to wear an undershirt.


Wear an undershirt to keep your dress shirt cleaner. Your skin sweats, and if an expensive dress shirt is against your oily body for hours, your shirt may become damp and uncomfortable. An undershirt is a comfortable alternative to the single-layer dress shirt.


Most undershirts are plain white t-shirts because they are the most difficult to see through a dress shirt. Some undershirts are black and gray, but these should only be worn with dark dress shirts. Some other undershirts are sleeveless.


Make a habit of tucking in your undershirt. Seeing an undershirt sticking out the bottom below your dress shirt looks tacky. As a general rule, your undershirt should not be visible. If you're wearing a short-sleeve collared shirt, your undershirt should not stick out from the sleeve area. Don't wear just any t-shirt, either. A graphic tee might be visible through a dress shirt, and that's anything but classy. Stick to a tucked in, plain white t-shirt that fits, and you'll have the most successful undershirt experience possible.


Don't wear an undershirt that's wider than your dress shirt. This may cause bunching underneath your dress shirt. Bunching will make you look lumpy and generally unattractive.


The proper undershirt shouldn't fit too loose or too tight. Check for a few inches of space between the bottom of the shirt and your waist. You don't want the undershirt to hug your waist, nor do you want it to be a foot wider than your torso.


A v-neck undershirt is the preferred option of undershirt if you are trying to stay cooler. For example, if you are at an outdoor wedding where you aren't wearing a tie and you have a few of the top buttons of your shirt undone to keep cool, then don't wear a crew-neck undershirt; go with the v-neck. Remember the general rule, the undershirt should never be visible. Treat it like underwear.


Photo Credits

  • Shauna Hundeby/Demand Media

About the Author

Ron Augustine is a rookie freelance writer and producer who has worked primarily in radio and print media for Chicago Public Radio's Sound Opinions, Relevant Magazine, WMBI Chicago and the Burnside Writers Collective. He graduated Moody College in 2007 with a degree in Communications.