Basics Instincts – A Guide to Undershirts


Marlon Brando made them cool in the 1950s but for most guys undershirts really do belong underneath another top because they are such plain and basic garments. However, like so many other apparel items, numerous undershirts are now offered in new shapes, feature technical or luxurious fabrics and come in more than just standard white. Here’s a look at ten brands that make modern, innovative undershirts, some of which are so sleek and comfortable it’s a shame to cover them up at all….


This longstanding innerwear brand, founded in 1991, is currently pushing slimming undershirt models, which are available in white or black. Its 100 percent cotton Form Slimming Tank ($45) features the brand’s signature square neckline and trims the waist thanks to a bit of spandex. Meanwhile, its Pima Deep V-Neck ($28) employs luxuriously soft Pima cotton and has an extra-deep collar so it won’t show under a button-up.


Arguably one of the most famous and ubiquitous underwear brands, Jockey launched StayNew Technology in July, which helps the shirt retain its crispness and whiteness after each washing. It also reduces pilling, shrinking and fading. The brand’s iconic white crew neck undershirt (about $10) has a reinforced collar that stays flat and extra length so it stays tucked in.


A brand that’s obviously known more for its denim than underwear, Levi’s nonetheless has a thriving accessories offering. It just launched its Basics Linen Series that combines cotton and breathable linen to stay cool in the heat. The new collection comes in different colors (black, white, ensign blue and faded denim) and has briefs and trunks to match its V-necks and tanks. The items retail for $20-$26.50 are sold at


This men’s basics brand is committed to making high-quality pieces that are slim-fitting, stay tucked in and have a deep V-neck that stays out of sight. Its 18 Hour supersoft undershirt models are made from a combination of cotton, Modal and Lycra and are $32 each (crew or V-neck).


This innovative company offers a Silver model ($54) that combines pure silver with nylon threads in a fabric called X-Static that helps the wearer stay cool and naturally helps repel odors and germs. There are also Luxury Micromodal options ($59 each) that are slimming and silky soft.


Formerly just a swimwear label, Onia has recently moved into the activewear game as well. Its Joey tee ($65) comes in six colors and is 92 percent cotton/ 8 percent spandex to create a flattering slim fit. And it looks good enough to be worn solo.


Created by a guy who was sick of wearing ill-fitting undershirts, RibbedTee sells a wide variety of shirts. Its most popular models include the Retro Fit Tri-Blend V-Neck ($18) in stretch jersey, a Cool Wear Supima cotton V-neck ($18) and a 50 percent cotton/ 50 percent polyester Retro Fit Crew Neck ($30 for a pack of two). The site also has an undershirt buying and sizing guide that can be requested for free here.


A cult luxury basics brands from Sweden, The White Briefs currently sells this Oak V-Neck ($57) in organic pima cotton in three colors: white, black or gray.


With its cooling Air models made from nylon mesh and spandex at $62 each and its supersoft Second Skin ones from micro Modal and spandex at $40, Tommy John is not a label for guys on a tight budget. But you get what you pay for: Its fits are amazing and its fabrics state-of-the-art.


The Japanese retail chain, which continues to expand rapidly across North America, makes all kinds of undershirts. Its long sleeve HeatTech models ($19.90) help retain warmth while its more standard 100 percent Packaged Dry Undershirts are a steal at $7.90 each. There are also Supima cotton options.