Undershirts

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.

So we’ve assembled the finest moments in Style Icons Wearing Undershirts for you…

James DeanJames Dean

Dustin HoffmanDustin Hoffman

Marlon BrandoMarlon Brando

Paul NewmanPaul Newman

Jon HammJon Hamm

Ryan GoslingRyan Gosling

JFKJohn F. Kennedy

Sean ConnerySean Connery

Steve McQueenSteve McQueen

River PhoenixRiver Phoenix

Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen

Brad PittBrad Pitt

—S.P.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Stephen Praetorius