We here at Paul Evans love Kickstarter. As a backer, you get to discover and support new brands, ideas and ventures. As a project starter, you get financial backing, pre-sales and customer loyalty. Win-win(-win). Though we came across this project after it had been fully funded (and then some), Mr. Davis undershirts caught our eye.
The standard undershirt is a necessary evil for many working men. It keeps (some of) the sweat away from our dress shirts. Unfortunately, the time you most need to wear an undershirt is the time you least want to wear one: summer. In the winter, the undershirt provides an extra layer of warmth, but even then, it can look silly because it’s clearly visible through lighter shirts. Not to mention the bunching at the waist band as the day wears on or possibly riding into our armpits. Undergarments should be like offensive linemen: they did their job best if you never hear about them.
Enter Mr. Davis. He feels the same way about the undershirt as most of us, but unlike the rest of us who complain while still putting on the same storebrand undershirt each morning, he decided to fix it.
We’ve decided to go through each of Mr. Davis’ claims for why they are (and we agree with them) the best undershirt out there.
Mr. Davis says: “Our shirts are impossibly soft. They stretch in all directions so you never feel constrained. Crafted from 96% sustainable bamboo and 4% spandex they are cooler in Summer and warmer in Winter.”
We say: We can’t validate winter claim yet, but there’s no doubt this undershirt feels cooler to and from the office in sticky, New York City heat. The light breeze that the standard white undershirt can often stifle flows right through to the skin with Mr. Davis. The material, even with a snug fit, hardly feels there.
Mr. Davis says: “Our ultra-thin bamboo fabric stretches omni-directionally. Combined with great details in the cut, our shirts are snug without being tight. Our shirts are longer in the back than in the front for example, keeping them tucked in, even when you’re active.”
We say: The fabric definitely stretches in every direction and it sure fits snug. The sleeve seams have a lower profile and cut higher in the shoulder (all the way to the collar) and lower in the armpit, keeping the seam from bothering your armpit. The snug fit does result in the tighter sleeves riding up a bit, similar to those sweat-wicking, compression shirts from Nike and Under Armour, but it’s certainly more comfortable in that region than a standard undershirt. Waist area of the shirt is tighter than the top, keeping it tucked in and snug under a buttondown and belt. Mr. Davis claims on the site that the shirt run slightly large, and he’s correct. But given the stretchiness, if you slot in between sizes, you would be fine with either.
Mr. Davis says: “We tested dozens of colors and developed the perfect shade for an undershirt - we call it Tone - that virtually disappears even under light, thin shirts.“
We say: Mr. Davis wasn’t lying. Also, with a low slung V-neck, the undershirt hides just below that crucial second button. Perfect for letting loose after work.
Value: A Mr. Davis undershirt won’t run you much more than an average t-shirt these days, $24 for a single shirt, with discounts as you order the 2-pack or 5-pack. They also have a user-friendly program whereby you get a new undershirt each month for $21, with the option to decline or cancel a “VIP membership” at any time. While it’s certainly on the pricier side for an undergarment, you will absolutely get more wear out of this shirt than a similarly-priced t-shirt from J Crew.
TBD: Long-term wear. Given this is our first wear, we are curious how this looks and feels after going through the laundry a few times.
Final opinion: Mr. Davis hits all the high bars it set. One downside for some could be it’s not meant for wear by itself, it truly is an undergarment. The color, cut and v-neck are engineered to sit under a dress shirt, sacrificing aesthetics to achieve its workingmen goals. Mr. Davis is on the higher price end for an undershirt, but I dare you to buy one of these and not be sad on days you have to rotate in your Hanes or Calvin Klein shirt. Those mornings alone will send you back to mrdavis.com for the 5-pack.