What to Wear Under a White Dress Shirt

Some people think that wearing dress clothes can be an uncomfortable affair. They’re used to scratchy shirts, frustrating pant fits, and other unnecessary aspects of traditional business attire. Everything from putting on the right socks to wearing a good tie can take up a lot of mental energy and time as you’re getting ready.

As well, some get hung up on trying to figure out what to wear under a white dress shirt. Because many white dress shirts are made of thin, breathable material, what you wear under the shirt will affect how it looks when you put it on.

So what's the most appropriate thing to wear? You have more than one option here; ultimately, it’ll be up to you to choose what you find the most comfortable.

Undershirt or No Undershirt?

One of the most common debates in men’s clothing is whether or not it's appropriate or necessary to wear an undershirt under white dress shirts. Before we talk about what to wear under white shirt, we must address this point of contention.

If possible, most people will agree that wearing no undershirt is the best option. However, others will also agree that wearing no undershirt isn’t always a feasible option!

Many men are used to wearing undershirts; others find that they sweat too much to go without an undershirt. Finally, there’s the problem of thin material, practically see-through dress shirts.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you and what you feel most comfortable in. If you do decide that you prefer to wear a men's undershirt, the following tips and information will help you to choose the right one for when you’re wearing a white dress shirt!

What to Wear Under a White Dress Shirt

The following are tried-and-tested tips and tricks that would guarantee you a look that is clean and professional. After all, that’s what you’re going for when wearing a white dress shirt.

What Color Undershirt To Wear With A White Shirt?

Avoid White T-Shirts Under Dress Shirts

The thing that most men are inclined to reach for when they need an undershirt is a basic white t-shirt. While we understand that this is likely the most accessible and convenient choice for most, we also fully believe it's one of the worst options!

When you wear a white t-shirt underneath a white dress shirt, the sleeves, neckline, and other aspects of the t-shirt are all painfully obvious. Sure, it’s not a big deal for people to know that you’re wearing more than one layer, but it can look somewhat unprofessional to dress this way.

Choose a Tank Top Shade Similar to Your Skin Tone

Choosing a men's white undershirt, because it matches the color of the shirt seems like an obvious choice to many people. However, when you do this, you’re going to cause the undershirt to stand out even more rather than less.

White undershirts might match the color of the dress shirt, but they usually don't match the color of your skin. When your skin shows through the white undershirt, it will make it appear darker and cause it to stand out even more from underneath of the dress shirt.

Rather than choosing white for your undershirt, choose one that's similar to your skin tone:

  • Light greys and light beiges blend very well with white and light tan skin
  • Browns, tans, and medium greys blend well with darker skin

The key is to choose whichever shade seems to blend the best with your natural skin tone. When you select a shirt with this type of shade range, you're helping to disguise the fact that you're wearing an undershirt at all.

While white shirts will pop when you layer them, these skin-blending colors will match what's going on underneath your dress shirt and help you to look sleek, clean, and professional.

Buy Quality Dress Shirts For Men

Another thing you can do to help make sure you know what to wear under your dress shirt is to buy quality dress shirts that aren’t as see-through. If you have a lot of trouble finding what works even when you choose something that's skin-toned, you’re likely working with a shirt that’s just too sheer.

While higher quality shirts can also be see-through, you’ll notice a difference when you layer up with a thicker shirt. White shirts, in particular, can be very see-through, so try to pick a more substantial fabric, especially in winter months when the added heat won’t be uncomfortable for you to wear.

Go Fitted and Lightweight

Finally, we recommend that you get a fitted and lightweight tank top when choosing what to layer with. It can be tempting to choose something thicker, especially in winter months, but the thicker your undershirt is, the harder it will be to disguise.

Lightweight and fitted shirts hug your body so they'll blend in better. White shirts will show off a lot of what you have going on under the dress shirt, so having this form-fitting tank top on will work better than a bulky t-shirt for most people.

Of course, you don’t have to choose something incredibly snug. Just consider how close to your body the shirt will sit once you layer your tops to ensure that you won’t have any unprofessional bumps sticking out.

Get a Clean, Professional Look

There’s nothing wrong with wearing an undershirt under your white dress shirt, but you need to think about what to wear under a white dress shirt to keep your look clean, sleek, and professional. Even though many in the business world have faced the same struggle about figuring out what to wear under a formal shirt, that doesn’t mean that you should stop trying.

People who understand the clothing struggle will still find themselves distracted by bumps on your shirt. And you want people to focus on you and not on figuring out what’s going on under your shirt!

Keep it smart; keep it simple. Choose a form-fitting, lightweight tank top in a color that matches your skin tone for the cleanest, discreet finish possible when wearing a white dress shirt to your next event or meeting!

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