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Article: What Is An Undershirt: The History Of Undershirts

What Is An Undershirt: The History Of Undershirts

What Is An Undershirt: The History Of Undershirts

If you've ever worn a button-down shirt or a sweater, chances are you've also worn an undershirt. But do you know why undershirts are so popular? In this comprehensive guide, we explore the history of undershirts, shedding light on their practicality, comfort, and style. From their early days as an undergarment for men to their modern-day status as a fashion statement, discover the fascinating story of the undershirt and how it has shaped our clothing choices.

The History and Origins of Undershirts

Undershirts have a long and fascinating history that dates back centuries. While the exact origins of undershirts are difficult to trace, their existence can be found in various cultures and periods throughout history.

One of the earliest forms of undershirts can be seen in ancient Rome, where men wore a garment called a "subucula" underneath their tunics. This linen undershirt provides an additional layer of protection and comfort. Similarly, in ancient Egypt, men wore a linen garment known as a "kalasiris" as an undergarment.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and undershirts continued to be worn as a practical layer of clothing. During this time, undershirts were typically made of linen or wool and were worn by both men and women. They served as a barrier between the body and outer garments, helping to absorb sweat and protect the more expensive outer clothing from stains and odors.

In the 19th century, undershirts began to evolve into a more recognizable form. In the United States, men started wearing "union suits," which were one-piece undergarments that covered the entire body, including the arms and legs. These union suits provided warmth and protection during the colder months.

The early 20th century marked a turning point for undershirts, as F. Jacob Golomb, a Polish immigrant in New York City, sought to improve the comfort and practicality of undergarments worn beneath men's dress shirts. In 1910, Golomb founded Everlast Sporting Goods, where he unveiled the first modern undershirt. These innovative undershirts, crafted from lightweight cotton, provided a breathable and absorbent layer that significantly enhanced comfort and hygiene, setting a new standard for undergarments.

Since then, undershirts have become a staple in men's and women's wardrobes alike. They have evolved in terms of style, fabric, and design, catering to different preferences and needs. Undershirts now come in various sleeve lengths, necklines, and materials, offering options for different climates, activities, and fashion choices.

Who Invented Undershirts?

  1. Jacob Golomb, a Polish immigrant residing in New York City, is the mastermind behind the invention of undershirts. In the early 20th century, Golomb recognized the need for a comfortable and absorbent undergarment to be worn beneath men's dress shirts. This realization led him to establish Everlast Sporting Goods in 1910, where he introduced the world to the first modern undershirt. Golomb's groundbreaking design not only revolutionized men's fashion but also provided a practical and stylish solution for maintaining personal hygiene and comfort. Undershirts have since become an indispensable part of many wardrobes, a testament to the visionary thinking of F. Jacob Golomb.

Why Are Undershirts Popular?

Practicality: Enhancing Your Clothing Experience

Undershirts have gained popularity due to their practicality and the numerous benefits they offer. One of the key advantages of wearing an undershirt is its ability to absorb sweat and prevent it from reaching your outer garments. This helps to keep your clothes fresher for longer, reducing the need for frequent washing or dry cleaning. Undershirts also act as a protective layer, preventing body oils and deodorant stains from directly contacting your clothing. By extending the lifespan of your garments, undershirts can save you money in the long run.

Comfort: Adding an Extra Layer of Softness

Undershirts are designed with comfort in mind. They provide an additional layer of warmth and softness against your skin, creating a barrier between your body and potentially rough or itchy fabrics. The right undershirt can offer a cozy and snug fit, providing a sense of security and support throughout the day. Additionally, undershirts made from breathable materials, such as cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics, help to regulate body temperature and keep you feeling cool and dry, even in warm weather or high-intensity activities.

Style: Elevating Your Look with Versatility

Undershirts have evolved beyond their practical benefits and have become a stylish addition to any outfit. They come in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles, allowing you to express your taste and complement your overall look. Undershirts can be worn as an invisible layer beneath dress shirts, providing a polished and professional appearance. They can also be worn on their own as a casual top or as a base layer for layering during colder months. With their versatility, undershirts offer endless possibilities to enhance your style and create different outfit combinations.

Are Undershirts Only Worn By Men or Do Women Also Wear Them?

Women also wear undershirts; they are not only worn by men. While undershirts are commonly associated with menswear fashion, women have embraced the comfort and practicality of undershirts in their wardrobes. Women's undershirts, often referred to as "tank tops" or "camisoles," offer a similar layering effect and provide additional coverage under sheer or low-cut tops. The main difference between men's and women's undershirts lies in the design and fit, with women's undershirts typically tailored to accommodate the female body shape. So, whether it's for added warmth, modesty, or simply as a fashion choice, undershirts have become a versatile and essential component of both men's and women's wardrobes.

What Are The Different Types Of Undershirts?

  1. Crew Neck Undershirts: These are the most common type of undershirts, featuring a round neckline that sits at the base of the neck. Crew-neck undershirts are versatile and can be worn with various types of outerwear.
  2. V-Neck Undershirts: V-neck undershirts have a V-shaped neckline that dips lower than crew neck undershirts. This design is ideal for wearing shirts that have an open collar or a few buttons undone, as the undershirt remains hidden.
  3. Tank Top Undershirts: Tank top undershirts, also known as camisoles, have no open armholes, no sleeves, and provide coverage for the torso. They are popular among women and can be worn as an undergarment or as a standalone top in warm weather.
  4. Sleeveless Undershirts: Sleeveless undershirts are similar to tank tops but have wider shoulder straps. They offer coverage for the torso while allowing for more freedom of movement in the arms.
  5. Thermal Undershirts: Thermal undershirts are designed with insulating properties to provide extra warmth in colder temperatures. They are typically made from thicker materials, such as waffle-knit or fleece, and are ideal for layering during the winter months.
  6. Compression Undershirts: Compression undershirts are form-fitting garments that provide support and compression to the upper body. They are often worn during athletic activities to enhance performance and aid in muscle recovery.
  7. Moisture-Wicking Undershirts: These undershirts are made from specialized fabrics that wick away moisture from the body, keeping you dry and comfortable. They are particularly popular for active individuals or those who tend to sweat more.
  8. Seamless Undershirts: Seamless undershirts are designed without any visible seams, providing a smooth and streamlined look. They are a great option for wearing under-fitted or sheer clothing, as they minimize lines and create a seamless appearance.
  9. Shapewear Undershirts: Shapewear undershirts are designed to provide slimming and shaping effects to the torso. They are made from stretchy materials that help to smooth out any bulges or create a more streamlined silhouette.

These are just a few examples of the different types of undershirts available, each offering unique features and benefits to suit various preferences and occasions.


Are Undershirts Short Sleeves or Long Sleeves?

Undershirts come in both short sleeves and long sleeves, offering options to suit different preferences and needs. Short-sleeved or sleeveless undershirts are popular for warmer weather or when you want to layer without adding extra bulk to your arms. They provide coverage for the torso and absorb sweat, helping to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the day. Long-sleeved undershirts, on the other hand, are ideal for cooler temperatures or when you want added warmth with the rest of your outerwear. They offer extended coverage and the same sweat absorption benefits, ensuring that you stay dry and cozy. Whether you choose short sleeves or long sleeves, undershirts are designed to enhance your clothing experience by providing an extra layer of comfort and sweat absorbency.


Undershirts have a rich history that spans across cultures and periods, evolving from simple undergarments to versatile wardrobe essentials. From their practicality in absorbing sweat and protecting outer garments to the comfort they provide with an extra layer of softness, undershirts have become a staple in both men's and women's fashion. With various styles, such as crew neck, V-neck, tank tops, and thermal options, undershirts cater to different needs and preferences. Whether you're looking for added warmth, sweat absorption, or a seamless look, undershirts offer a solution. As fashion continues to evolve, undershirts remain a reliable choice for enhancing comfort, style, and overall clothing experience. So, next time you reach for your favorite shirt, remember the humble undershirt that has played a significant role in shaping our fashion choices and providing practicality and comfort throughout history.

Final Thoughts

Say goodbye to uncomfortable underwear and hello to a new level of comfort with Obviously Apparel. Our innovative range of underwear styles, including boxer briefs, jockstraps, trunks, and undershirts, are meticulously designed to prioritize your comfort and support. Crafted with premium materials and attention to detail, each piece offers a luxurious feel against your skin. Upgrade your underwear collection and redefine what comfort means to you with Obviously Apparel.