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Mike from Portland, ME: I love underwear, but I don’t have the body of an underwear model. Are there any undershirts you would recommend that could help me look less doughy? Do compression undershirts help?
The Underwear Expert: Don’t worry about it, Mainer Mike. There are plenty of options for guys who just don’t have the metabolism of a 21 year old athlete. Let me guess: you have a little bit of a paunch and you wish everything was tighter around your waistline. If your undershirts are too big, they look like drapes hanging over your body. If your undershirts are too small, you have skin hanging out in an unattractive way. Almost everyone runs into this problem at some point and you’re ahead of the game by recognizing that compression undershirts can be the solution.
Let’s start with Papi Six Pack ($44-$48), which gives you body-defining compression without reducing your style. We talked to Lucio De Carvalho, the vice president of design for Papi, and he told us, “The pattern is carefully engineered to insure it hugs the body specifically where it needs tuck and lift … The special fabric and expert fit work to hide the unwanted fat areas and keeps the chest area firm while giving the back the support needed.”
That special fabric he’s talking about is 83% cotton and 17% spandex, giving stretch, comfort and lift. It’s a great way to keep your extra bits in check.
Tommy John also has a compression undershirt you could try in its Second Skin collection. The goal of the Crew Neck Stay Tucked Undershirt ($38) is to prevent EFG (excess fabric gut) and BMT (billowy muffin top). The fabric is 90% non-pilling micro modal and 10% spandex, granting comfort and support. The best part? As the name suggests, this shirt won’t come untucked.
If you’re looking for something for the gym instead of the office, Under Armour has a great new option. The Men’s HeatGear Sonic Compression Longsleave ($34.99) keeps everything in place, compresses muscles, and keeps “your recovery time fast.”
Sometimes, however, you just want to stick with the classics. The Cotton Compression Crew ($58) is the most popular men’s shirt from Spanx. Why do so many people use it? Because it works. It’s simple, straight forward and effective.
Finally, there’s the Equmen Core Precision Tank Top. At $89, this shirt is more expensive than some of your other options, but you get what you pay for. It was designed with the help of physiotherapists and ergonomic specialists to improve posture, reduce back pain and provide core support. Good stuff.
Photo Credit: Papi