Review: jT Undershirts

Some abhor undershirts, saying they are purely an "American" thing (which I don't get considering I've seen more undershirts overseas than here). Others of us depend on them day in and day out. Some only wear them in winter. Whatever your style of undershirt wearing, it can be a struggle to find one that fits well, performs well, and doesn't cost too much.

I've already covered RibbedTee a couple times, but found out about jT Undershirts through a colleague who also reads The Suits of James Bond. I was struck by the way that there was no collar on them in the traditional sense, which makes it easier to conceal under dress shirts when worn open. They call this the "two button hidden guarantee". I don't wear my shirts quite that open, but was nevertheless intrigued. Some have noted that the undershirts are strikingly similar to a discontinued International Male (now known as Undergear) product called "The Scoop", so is it really an innovation? Regardless of anyone's opinion on that, someone stepped up to the plate and filled a niche. I contacted the proprietor, Jesse T. Szynal, about the undershirts and after a bit we decided trying it for myself would be the best way to go.

To wit, he sent me one jT Original in grey, jT-V, jT Modal, and a three pack of jT Tank, all the rest of which only come in white. All of these performed pretty well (though I don't normally wear tank tops -- I missed the sweat wicking ability of undershirts with sleeves) in my extensive testing. The fit is slim but not form-fitted. For that you'd need to buy one of their Compression models. As promised, there was no collar to ride up and be seen (which can be a bit of a problem with even my best v-necks) and I could even unfasten two buttons without anything showing. With my Ledbury dress shirts which have a lowered second button, it was just teetering on the edge of showing. But those are not too common so I can't exactly fault jT for not thinking of that. Enough of my manly, muscular cleavage is showing anyway.*

The fabric and construction is pretty good for the most part. Only a few loose threads here and there. The fabric, even in the basic model, is buttery soft. It gets even better if you choose the 100% modal version, which not only felt wonderful, but gave a bit of warmth on cold winter days. The only shortcoming was with the jT-V's white jersey fabric, which shrunk much more than expected with just one wash and wear. The second wash and dry (on low/gentle -- which I do for all my underwear) made it shrink so much it could barely be tucked. On the other end of the spectrum, the Modal didn't shrink at all, which is not too surprising. It was almost too long, some could argue, coming past my butt. I'm guessing they used the same pattern as they did for everything else, not taking into account shrinkage allowances.

The only other slight disappointment was that the products were made in China. I don't have anything against Chinese manufacture so long as the workers are paid appropriately and work in good conditions. However, I wish for the asking price that they were made in the US or Canada. In fact, I would be willing to pay a bit more for that.

I actually ended up wearing these under a dress shirt and tie half the time, as my day job at a menswear retailer requires those at minimum. Naturally, they're going to show more under white or other light fabrics. It prompts me to wish they'd make something in the opposite direction -- an undershirt with a classic, high crew neck. Many of today's are a bit low and show awkwardly under one's tie knot.

All in all, these are pretty good undershirts for guys who wear one or two buttons unfastened and pretty comfortable even when wearing a tie. I'd like to see what else they have in store for the future.

DISCLAIMER: Nouveau Vintage received material compensation for this review. However, every effort has been made to remain objective.

*This is a joke. Anyone who has seen me on this blog knows that I'm a pretty slender guy even with regular exercise.


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