My style Friday question is for the boys. My husband recently had a very important meeting with a Senior VP of his company in the fancy downtown, former headquarters building. On the highest floor of said fancy downtown former headquarters. Very swank.
Anyways, my question. He went to this very important meeting wearing a nice dress shirt and dress pants. My question relates to the undershirt he was wearing under it. He wears regular crew-neck undershirts during the winter and when I looked at him (still in his work clothes) that night at dinner, I realized that the collar of said undershirt was visible. He did not have the top collar buttoned on the shirt (it was a button-down shirt, without tie – his company is ‘business-casual’).
When I told my husband that he should have had the top button of his shirt done up (it was dark green) because his undershirt was visible, he said that he didn’t have to do the top button unless he’s wearing a tie AND that the head of his department wears the same kind of button-down shirt open two buttons with lots of blonde chest hair and wife-beater undershirt visible (wife-beater = tank top type undershirt. *shudder*).
Who’s right? Should I insist on a v-neck undershirt when Mike has to dress up again? Should someone pull Mr.Department head aside and tell him that he looks like Lumbergh from Office Space? Only worse?
Erin should be very proud of Mike; he absolutely made the right choice, and it sounds like he knows his collars. Good work, Mike! His department head, however, needs to have lunch with Clinton Kelley. Grown men should NOT wear tank tops. EVER. Not by themselves, not under dress shirts, not EVER. A tank top doesn’t cover enough, and is always visible through a dress shirt. I’m a little icked out just thinking about it.
No tank tops. EVER.
Undershirts are not only for winter. If you are wearing a dress shirt to work (or anywhere, for that matter), you need an undershirt, regardless of the season. It’s a more polished look. I am a big advocate of the crew-neck undershirt because it protects you from Incidental Chest Hair, which is the male equivalent of Accidental Cleavage, and is not appropriate for work or church or dinner at a swank restaurant. Put an undershirt under a button down or a golf shirt* or a sweater. If you’re not a fan of the visible undershirt, look into v-neck undershirts.
*Unless you’re golfing. Then it’s up to you. But for the office, undershirt!
If you’re not wearing a tie, leave the top button open. Two buttons is too many; it looks sloppy. Buttoned all the way up looks wrong as well, particularly with a button-down shirt. Either wear a tie or leave the top button undone.
Wade wears a dress shirt to work every day, and a tie nearly every day. Recently, he’s been opting for the suit-without-tie look, which I really like; he wears a straight-collar shirt with his suit, with one button open. It’s dressier than slacks and a shirt but not quite as dressy as the suit-and-tie.
But! Always! Undershirt!
If you really dislike the visible undershirt collar, you can do what Erin suggests and look into v-neck undershirts. Wade occasionally wears a polo-collar sweater with a v-neck undershirt. But you’re always in danger of the Incidental Chest Hair with those, so think carefully about that. And again, leave the top button open.
Replace your undershirts regularly, about every three months or whenever the collars start to look sad. Wade likes the Hanes shirts; they are tagless and come in a soft, light-weight cotton that washes and wears really nicely. And they run $11.00 for a pack of five, which you can’t beat.
And because I want to be sure you heard this: NO TANK TOPS FOR MEN. EVER. And for really terrific REAL men’s fashions, check out The Sartorialist. Mike should definitely send his boss here to look around.