Traditionally, undergarments were worn to protect clothes from touching the skin. Since taking a bath was commonly done once a week, you would expect strong odors on your skin which, if touched by expensive garments that weren’t washed, could spoil them.
My grandparents grew up in the 1920s when washing clothes and bathing was not common. Also, buying new clothes was not an option. Many times, clothes were worn from one generation to the other. And in order to keep them in good condition, they were not washed, especially those that were worn for special occasions.
For instance, clothes that were worn to a church were never washed. They put them on just for church, and religiously changed right after church.
Undergarments were very practical to keep the outer layer of clothes in good condition and clean since the outer layer was usually the more expensive one.
Ever since Adam and Eve, garments were used to cover the sense of shame. When they sinned against God, the Bible says, they were aware that they were naked and therefore covered up in large fig leaves.
So the purpose of undergarments serves various purposes, from covering our sense of shame to holding our private parts in place to preventing expensive outer clothes to be spoiled.
But Why Do Men Wear Undershirts? History Of Undershirts
There is not a known history behind the undershirts. However, Roman soldiers used a lightweight fabric under their military uniforms. That could have been the starting point.
Hundreds of years later, the well-known union suits were released and became a trendy fashion for men. As time went by, undershirts, like we know them today, were released.
After WWII, the undershirt became very popular, even to the point that it was worn in public without an extra shirt on top. At first, this was not well accepted, but after public figures started doing it, it became widely popular. From there, today’s t-shirt has become a daily garment for millions of people.
Undershirts serve a few good purposes:
1) Protect clothes. We men sweat a lot every single day, especially those that are physically active outside or that are working physically. These men tend to sweat even more than those that work in an office setting or the ones that have more intellectual jobs.
Our outer layer of clothes easily gets worn off if we do not use undershirts. And we all know that our shirts get very gross if they are exposed to sweat all the time without protection.
2) Hairs poking out. On certain types of fabrics, thick body hair and commonly breast hair often poke through the surface, if we do not wear undershirts. Although body hair is natural, it does not look nice when it comes poking out of our shirts.
3) Provide an extra layer of warmth. Undershirts certainly provide an extra layer of protection during the colder months of the year. Instead of wearing thick jackets or even multiple jackets, an undershirt comes in handy and it does give protection.
I have been using undershirts for many years and I think I can safely say that they even provide an extra layer of protection against the heat.
4) Chafed skin. Some shirts and their fabrics are stiff, which is why they can cause chafed skin. Ideally, men wear an undershirt when wearing these types of fabrics, for example, fronted evening shirts with tie or bow.
5) Prevent stains. After deodorants became popular in the 1950s, the need to use undershirts to protect shirts from yellow stains has become inevitable. Although stains do not only come from deodorants but from sweat as well, wearing an undershirt gives at least some sort of protection.
Heavy sweaters know exactly how often they have to exchange their dress shirts because they become so gross after a few uses.
Should Men Wear Undershirts? The Do’s And Don’ts Of Wearing Undershirts
Historically, elegant and noblemen did not use undershirts. It was only later with the union suits that it became widely popular and accepted.
Wearing undershirts is a must! I outlined a few purposes that undershirts serve for above. Because of these purposes and others, men should always wear an undershirt. However, there are a few things to do and a few things not to do when wearing undershirts.
1) Wear an undershirt. If you wear an undershirt, make sure that it is an undershirt and not a t-shirt. T-shirts come in different colors and the fabric is slightly heavier, which does not make it a good option for an undershirt.
Undershirts should be comfortable and not be constricting movements, therefore, chose lightweight undershirts.
2) Wear fitted undershirts. If you wear a loosely fitting undershirt, you will most likely not be comfortable with another or even multiple layers over the undershirt. Moving around in a layer of loosely fitting undershirts can become a hassle, so I highly recommend that you buy a fitted undershirt.
3) Buy deep v-neck cut undershirts. When I first started wearing undershirts, I had the problem that only found crew necks in my size, so I did not like to wear undershirts because highly visible undershirts are not cool.
A v-neck is not enough either in some cases. Depending on how you wide you like your button-down shirts open, you will choose v-neck or the deep v-neck.
4) Choose the color wisely. A few years ago, I bought a package of black undershirts. That was never an option for me. You need to wear very heavy clothing on the outer layer, or a very dark color if it is not to be seen.
I found black only appropriate when wearing a suit and tie. Else, black is not the best color. White is not the best option either. When wearing a white shirt, the areas that are not covered by the undershirt will be more visible, like your biceps and around the collar.
The best colors are nude or a light gray. What you want to achieve, is to get a color undershirt that is very close to the color of your skin. So if you are very dark, you would look for something darker, if you are very light, you will ideally buy something lighter.
5) Wear sleeved undershirts. There are so many sleeveless options on the market, but they literally don’t help. If you want to protect your outer layer of clothes, you need to wear something over your armpits, because that is exactly where stains will be formed.
Also, sleeveless undershirts do not look nice, because they easily show. You want to look for something that is close to invisible, especially if you wear a light shirt.
6) Choose comfortable fabrics. The undershirt industry has produced many great options from cotton to micro modal to poly blends to the ones with spandex and many others. Make sure that you choose a durable, super comfortable and practical undershirt.
Should Men Wear Undershirts If They Sweat Excessively?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that around 3% of the population suffers, with numbers probably underestimated. Individuals with this condition sweat around 6 times the required amount to regulate body temperature.
Although there is no known cause for this condition, people suffering from it usually have huge sweat marks on their clothes, specifically in their armpits. This condition can take away their confidence and hinder their social life.
If you suffer from this condition, you should absolutely wear a sweat proof undershirt daily. Did you know that there are special undershirts that catch up all your sweat before it ever sees your outer layer of clothes?
Indeed, there are awesome undershirts that have thick pads in the armpits, which gives you day-long protection. They prevent sweat leaks and yellow sweat stains on your shirts because the makers of these shirts know how embarrassing those huge sweat marks can be.
There are multiple options of sweat proof undershirts, which are not only for people suffering from hyperhidrosis, but also for the ones that sweat moderately, and for the ones living in humid and hot climates who would like to stay dray over extended periods.
I have sweat excessively for around 2 decades already and I remember the day I found sweat proof undershirts. It was such a relief when I first put it on, and my dress shirt stayed completely dry the whole day.
Concluding, why do men wear undershirts? Men wear undershirts because they provide protection against sweat marks and sweat stains, prevent them from the chafed skin, because they are comfortable, and lastly because they offer an extra layer of warmth.
If you have not used undershirts until today, you must know that men should wear them every single day. The points given in this article will help you make an informed decision as to what kind of undershirt to buy and which ones are not good options.
Do you wear an undershirt daily or not? Which ones are your favorites? Please feel free to share your experiences below in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.
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Get yourself a great undershirt today,