How To Stop Nipples And Undershirts From Showing Through A White Dress Shirt

How To Stop Nipples And Undershirts From Showing Through A White Dress Shirt
If your nipples are permanently set to “stun”, read on.

Pop quiz: what do your wisdom teeth, tonsils, and tailbone have in common? Answer: they’re all vestigial features, relics of our evolutionary or developmental history that no longer serve a purpose. Most of them are fairly harmless (although the tonsils in particular only seem to exist to get infected). But one vestigial structure is notorious for being embarrassing, even inappropriate for the workplace: your nipples.

Although men’s nipples don’t have a biological function, at least going topless at the park or the beach isn’t a big deal. But nobody really wants to be known for showing up to a presentation with their high beams on. So how do you prevent your nipples from showing through your shirt?

Think Thick, Not Thin (Shirts, That Is)

If your nipples tend to be more prominent, wear a dress shirt that’s made from a thicker material and is darker in color. Thin, light colored shirts will naturally appear more translucent, and will show off what you’d rather hide.

That said, there are times when a white dress shirt is the best choice for the occasion. Luckily, there are a few ways to rock a white dress shirt confidently, without worrying you might poke someone’s eye out.

Layer Up

The secret to stop nipples from showing through a white dress shirt seems obvious: wear an undershirt. But not just any undershirt will do. Most men go with a basic white crew or V-neck, thinking the additional material will solve the problem. But choosing this classic style causes a secondary problem: your average white undershirt will be visible underneath a light colored dress shirt.

It may seem counterintuitive, but think about it for a moment: no matter how pale you are, you’re not “white T-shirt” pale. If you took a photo of any guy and rendered it in black and white, his skin would show up as a shade of gray. So when you wear a white undershirt, the bright white cotton contrasts with your skin.

gray undershirt under white dress shirt

Go Gray or Go Home

The solution to not seeing your undershirt through your dress shirt: wear a gray undershirt. The darker tone stops your nipples from showing through a white dress shirt, without advising its presence. It’s a simple answer, too. More (unnecessarily) complicated options exist, like skin-tone undershirts, but just because something’s available doesn’t mean it’s necessary. While there’s something a little odd about wearing a shirt the same color as your skin, you can always wear a gray T-shirt under a hoodie or sweater, or on its own, without attracting any dubious glances.

Some men swear by band-aids as impromptu nipple shields, but that also seems more awkward than convenient. Not to mention wasteful, potentially more visible, plus…chest hair. Unless you’re running an endurance race, stick to a simple gray undershirt, and trust that your vestigial nipples are no more obvious than your tonsils.

Have any other style problems you’d like us to solve? Let us know in the comments.

More style hacks:

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Ali grew up in New York and currently lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a copywriter. She enjoys cooking, playing the guitar, and powerlifting, and has a brown belt in Krav Maga. You can find her collected articles on health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics at Instagram: @alibzagat


  • Reply March 18, 2019


    uniqlo airism undershirts are a life saver as they are also moisture wicking and come in a nude color too

    • Reply April 17, 2019


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  • Reply March 18, 2019

    Ryan N

    So simple, but so effective. Lots of performance wicking grey v-necks out there too, if that’s your jam.

  • Reply March 18, 2019


    Hilarious and informative. Thanks for this!

  • Reply March 22, 2019


    Wouldn’t a grey undershirt show up more prominently than a white one under a white button up? We know that for most of the season white long sleeves are not an option also.

    • Reply March 23, 2019

      Jack Burton

      No. I’ve always avoided white dress shirts because of the nipple/tattoos/white undershirt see-through dilemma. I found some very light grey v-neck t-shirts from Wal-Mart (cheap too), and you can NOT see them through the white dress shirt. Only the faint outline of the v-neck (but that would happen with any color).

    • Reply March 27, 2019


      No, due to the fact that people, regardless of how pale someone is, is not as light or lighter than a white undershirt. We’re all closer to a shade of gray, a gray undershirt makes the contrast harder to see.

      I’m not sure what you mean that white long sleeves are not an option for most of the season.

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