The 14 Best Undershirts for Building a Wardrobe Foundation

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Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

Undershirts may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to layering, but they’re a vital element in creating the perfect look. Whether they’re under a dress, sweater, or blouse, undershirts provide cool-girl style and an aspect of interest to any outfit. And even though most of us associate undershirts with cooler temperatures, they are also great in warm weather under sheer tops too.

Since undershirts are the unsung heroes of styling, we enlisted the expertise of stylist Pascia Sangoubadi. She knows what to look for in an undershirt no matter how you’re trying to wear it. 

Meet the Expert

Pascia Sangoubadi is a brand consultant who has worked with publications including V Magazine, Vogue Italia, and brands like Nike and Moda Operandi.

“My favorite way to style undershirts is as layering pieces,” she stated in an email. “There are cool, young brands creating innovative undershirts with all kinds of intricate cuts, textures, and pops of color that add dimension to any look.” 

Given that there are so many options on the market right now, we’ve come up with a list of the best undershirts for any of your sartorial needs.

Best Overall

Nude Barre Camisole Top

Nude Barre Camisole Top

Nude Barre

The Nude Barre Camisole Top combines all of our favorite attributes of undershirts into one piece. This camisole is skin tone inclusive and in 12 shades of nude, and the flexible fabric provides comfort and allows your skin to breathe. At the same time, the undershirt’s close fit makes it a top option when you’re layering a look.

Material: 78% polyamide, 22% elastane | Size Range: S-XL

Best Budget

Old Navy First-Layer Fitted Cami Top for Women

Old Navy First-Layer Fitted Cami Top for Women

Old Navy

Old Navy almost feels like a blast from the past, but let’s not forget that it’s an ideal retailer for basics. And that’s where we found the best undershirt for your budget. The First-Layer Fitted Cami Top is priced at around $6 and is available in a range of sizes. Since the top comes in 10 different colorways, including petite, plus, and tall sizes, it’s no surprise that it has over 6,000 five-star reviews online.

Material: 95% cotton, 5% spandex | Size Range: XXS-4X

Best Shapewear

SKIMS Fits Everybody Long Sleeve T-Shirt

SKIMS Fits Everybody Long Sleeve T-Shirt

SKIMS

No matter how you may feel about reality star turned entrepreneur Kim Kardashian, you can’t deny that she’s built a clothing empire with SKIMS. If you’re looking for an undershirt that not only provides that extra bottom layer but also sculpts your body for smooth lines, then look no further than the Fits Everybody Long Sleeve T-Shirt. Available in a range of colors to match several skin tones with inclusive sizing from XXS to 4X, this undershirt is the perfect option if you need some new shapewear.

Material: 79% nylon, 21% spandex | Size Range: XXS-4X

Best Sweat-Wicking

Numi The Signature Seamless Undershirt

Numi Signature Seamless Undershirt

Wear Numi

The Numi Signature Seamless Undershirt was designed out of the brand founder’s need to stop sweating through her clothes. After researching and finding the perfect manufacturing technique, this undershirt was created in several colors and six sizes. Composed of soft and breathable Tencel that keeps you dry and Lycra for stretch and comfort,  this top provides a seamless fit that’s essential for non-bulky layering under any garment.

Material: 90% TENCEL, 10% Lycra | Size Range: XS-1X

Best Sustainable

Everlane Pima Micro-Rib Funnel-Neck Tank

Everlane Pima Micro-Rib Funnel-Neck Tank

Everlane

It comes as no surprise that Everlane made its way into this roundup for sustainability. The brand with product transparency across categories even has an eco-friendly undershirt in the Pima Micro-Rib Funnel-Neck Tank. Knowing that one of the issues in sustainable fashion is affordability, that’s not a problem with this undershirt with its under-$50 price tag.

Material: 95% Pima cotton, 5% elastane | Size Range: XXS-XL

Best Value

Third Love Comfort Stretch Cami

Third Love Comfort Stretch Cami

Third Love

The comfort stretch cami is the best value undershirt for a few reasons. While the camisole-style undershirt has a seamless design and allows for non-bulky wear under anything, it’s a great value for a top that comes in nude colorways and pretty inclusive sizing from XS to 3X. The undershirt provides comfort and flexibility that’s reminiscent of shapewear.

Material: Nylon and spandex | Size Range: XS-3X

Best Variety Pack

Felina Cotton Modal Stretch Layering Tank Top 3-Pack

Felina Cotton Modal Stretch Layering Tank Top 3-Pack

Felina

Variety packs are a must-have in that they combine value and practicality with your favorite pieces. The three-pack set from Felina does just that for under $60. In this pack, you get three of their cotton-modal blend tank tops with a slim fit and cooling effect in different colorways, including Plum, Vintage Indigo, and Grey.

Material: 55% cotton, 38% modal, 7% spandex | Size Range: S-XL

Best for Workouts

Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Shirt 2.0

Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Shirt 2.0

Lululemon

Wear the Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Shirt 2.0 from Lululemon for all your workouts. This undershirt is a great base layer under a jacket or sweatshirt and is perfect for exercising in colder temperatures. The bodycon fit of the shirt molds to your body for any movement while also working to move sweat away from your body and reduce chafing with its seamless design.

Material: 54% nylon, 40% recycled polyester, 3% elastane, 3% X-static® nylon | Size Range: 0-20

Best Splurge

Marine Serre Second Skin Moon Top

Marine Serre Second Skin Moon Top

Nordstrom

While this top is definitely out of the box, the Marine Serre Second Skin Moon Top is a great option for an undershirt. Even though it’s a splurge item, it proves that it’s versatile in that it can be worn as a layering piece and on its own if you're seeking a snug fit. It’s the perfect piece to peek out from under a sweater vest or your favorite cardigan.

Material: 30% elastane, 70% polyamide | Size Range: XS-XL

Best Camisole

Nubian Skin Naked Camisole

Nubian Skin Naked Camisole

Nubian Skin

Undershirts are taken to the next level with these custom-dyed Italian microfiber camisoles from Nubian Skin. The brand's Naked Camisole is reasonably priced for an undershirt that can be worn while lounging around the house or as a low-profile base layer under any elevated ensemble. And thanks to the nude skin tones available, the camisole is also great under a sheer top or for completing a nude monochrome aesthetic.

Material: 86% polyamide, 14% elastane | Size Range: XS-XXL

Best for Cold Weather

Uniqlo HEATTECH Crew Neck Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

uniqlo-heattech-crew-neck-long-sleeve-tshirt

Uniqlo

A favorite for warm and cozy undergarments is Uniqlo’s HEATTECH capsule, so it makes sense that this T-Shirt would be on this list. Designed to add warmth without adding bulk, this undershirt is composed of stretch fabric that’s insulating, moisture-wicking, moisturizing, and odor-blocking. This is also affordable enough to grab in multiple colors.

Material: 39% polyester, 31% acrylic, 20% rayon, 10% spandex | Size Range: XXS-XXL

Best Color Range

Parade Scoop Tank SuperSoft

Parade Scoop Tank SuperSoft

Parade

If you’re tired of the usual black, white, or skin tone-colored undershirt options, consider the Scoop Tank SuperSoft from Parade. These are great to wear if you want a pop of color to peek out from your top layer or if you simply want to switch your underlayer with some fun, bold hues. "They're thin enough to layer seamlessly, but add cute pops of color and create a 2000s flare,” Sangoubadi said.

Made from the sustainable fabric Tencel, with a little bit of elastane for flexibility, this tank top provides warmth without the extra weight on your skin. Available in sizes XS to 3X, many are sure to find their perfect fit.

Material: TENCEL™ Lyocell | Size Range: XS-3X

Best Cotton

Pact The Frame Tank

pact-the-frame-tank

Pact

If you’re a fan of soft, lightweight cotton, this undershirt is a good option for you. The Pact Softspun V-neck Tee is made with 100 percent organic cotton and comes in five colors, including White, Camel, Storm, Green Moss, and Wisteria. Of course, this T-shirt can be worn as an undershirt or as a stand-alone top.

Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XXS-XXL

Best Turtleneck

Lands’ End Thermaskin Thermal Turtleneck Top

Lands' End Thermaskin Thermal Turtleneck Top

Amazon

If you’re looking for an extra layer of warmth and love the turtleneck style, check out this base layer top from Lands’ End. The lightweight, stretchy fabric layers neatly under any top layers. And the fabric was even designed to generate heat from moisture while also wicking away sweat from the body. Available in petite, regular, and plus-sizes, anyone can stay warm and dry for any adventures in cold weather.

Material: 94% polyester, 6% spandex | Size Range: XS-XL

What to Look for When Buying Undershirts

Sweat-Wicking

If you’re one to easily sweat through your outer layers of clothes, then it’s a good idea to invest in undershirts that are made from sweat-wicking fabrics. Many brands, especially sportswear brands, sell apparel that helps move sweat away from the skin while drying quickly, so it doesn't wet the fabric. And if you’re shopping for cold-weather undershirts, then some sweat-wicking undershirts will use your body’s moisture to help generate heat that’ll keep you warmer for longer. 

Shapewear

Depending on your needs, it may not be necessary to add layers and bulk in the form of shapewear and an undershirt. Many brands now manufacture undershirts that are composed of shapewear technology like stretchy and sculpting yet breathable fabric. You’re likely to find undershirts that are two-in-one products. 

FAQ
  • What are undershirts used for?

    Undershirts are used for a variety of reasons. From adding warm layers to an outfit for braving cold weather to acting as a statement piece in an otherwise understated look, undershirts are no longer the boring undergarments that you may have seen in your dad’s closet. They’re also great for keeping perspiration from getting to your outer clothing. 

  • Are undershirts supposed to be tight?

    While undershirts are supposed to be form-fitting to avoid bulk under your clothing, they shouldn’t be too tight. They should just skim your body, but you should not feel like you’re squeezing yourself into them. Remember, buy clothing that fits your body and shape, not vice versa. 

  • How to wear undershirts

    Since so many brands are making their own unique takes on undershirt styles, they don’t have to sit solely under your clothing. While they’re still great for layering, you can also wear them like any other top, especially when it’s warm outside. 

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Mallori Albright has six years of experience writing fashion and beauty content. When lounging around the house, Mallori enjoys her wool socks in a rainbow of colors from different brands, including Bombas and small business owners on Etsy. You can check out more of Mallori’s work at Marie Claire and NYLON.

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