Here’s a little history lesson for you: plain white T-shirts first appeared in the late 19th century, when some manufacturer decided to split the union suit into separates. And originally, they were meant to protect one’s finer outer layers from the perils of, well, sweat.
Like boxers for your chest.
But the rules have changed in the past century. The undershirt has, on occasion, been called to take sartorial center stage. Like before bed. Or between takes on set. Or during takes, for that matter. And throughout it all, some brave, overtly stylish men have succeeded in proving that these baser layers can be worth way more than their thread count.
He was having such a good day last Monday—getting his star on the Walk of Fame, for God’s sake—but somehow, inevitably, he ended up looking like a schlub.
Maybe it was the undershirt, one of the most easily avoided sartorial sins in the book. Or maybe it was that his pants are at least two sizes too large. Or maybe, and we’re getting into deep water here, it was the schlubby resignation of it all—the sour feeling that this was as good as he would ever look, and there was no point in even showing his suit to a tailor.
As we reach the hottest days of the year, the standard cotton undershirt becomes both a lot less comfortable and, if you’re the sweating kind, a lot more necessary. It’s quite a catch-22, but we’ve got a fix.
Sunspel is a solid undershirt outfit in any season, but for summer you can find their shirts in “cellular” versions—which is a fancy way of saying “full of holes.” The mesh makes for some of the most breathable shirts you’ve ever worn, but still dense enough to keep your dress shirt dry. They’re missing from Sunspel’s e-comm site for some reason, but you can find them at shops like this one if you do a little digging.
Around this time of year, a two-wheeled jaunt through the city starts to look pretty good—provided you can do it without looking like a bike messenger. To help you face down the considerable challenge of looking good on a bike, we sat down with Aldan Shank of Seattle’s Hub and Bespoke—a combination bike shop and boutique—for a primer on sophisticated bike style.
The silk undershirt is a deep-winter staple, but we aren’t too committed to the material itself. And we’re always ready for something new.
Bumboo is reinventing the underlayer with a fabric that’s 70% bamboo, resulting in an equally comfortable shirt that’s a little more heavyweight. We aren’t quite sure how it wears—we’re bloggers, not models, after all—but we’re more excited about adding bamboo to the fabric pallet. Once it goes mainstream, who knows what we’ll be able to do. We might even see it in a suit in not too many years.