Whether you call it a singlet, a sleeveless shirt or an A shirt, when to wear these garments is a subject of much discussion. Their purpose is often much the same as their short sleeved counterparts, the undershirt. They do have clear benefits though might not be to everyone’s tastes. So when do you wear a singlet?
The underwear question
Perhaps the place to start in answering our question begins with the general purpose of an underwear shirt such as a singlet or undershirt. There are pros and cons to wearing any kind of undershirt and by considering these, you can judge if you need one. The top reason for an undershirt is to soak up sweat and save the finer material of the formal shirt above it. This was why the shirt evolved and is still the most popular reason for wearing them. The singlet can also perform this service and can be useful in its sleevlessness. This is because the arms can end up feeling bulky with a short sleeved shirt. It can also create a line where the sleeves end that are visible when a jacket isn’t being worn. For ultra-formal occasions, when wearing a stiff fronted shirt under black tie, an undershirt can help prevent discomfort. These shirts are known for chafing skin so by adding another layer, this can be prevented. The other classic reason is that people feel the cold and need an extra layer. By adding a singlet or undershirt, this adds a layer that isn’t visible.
Sleeve or sleeveless?
So if you fulfil any of these criteria or just like the idea of wearing an undershirt, the next question is sleeve or sleeveless? Both have their benefits and issues. In favour of the singlet, or sleeveless undershirt, is the fact that there is no sleeve line, as mentioned earlier. This means you don’t have to worry about taking off a jacket and your undershirt being visible mid-way down the arm. It also means that if you wear a shirt with a slightly tighter arm size, there isn’t extra bulk underneath. The downside of a singlet can be if you don’t buy one aimed for the purpose but instead a simple sleeveless t-shirt. These often have large armholes and a deep V-neck. Both of these can show up under a formal shirt as different colour areas that looks unsightly. By choosing a singlet designed for the job, it should have the right fit and a normal V-neck or even scoop neck line.
A matter of colour
Finally, think about the colour of the shirt and the undershirt you are considering. White need to have a white underneath - or does it? Many fashion experts now favour what are called invisible undershirts. These tend to be a mid-shade of grey and don’t accent the areas where the undershirt is and isn’t as starkly as white. Under a dark shirt, then a dark undershirt is a good idea, though the grey will still work. Whatever colour you choose, ensure there is no peaking anywhere to spoil your look. So what would be your perfect undershirt?