Thermal shirts have been used for years as a way to keep extra warm in extremely cold climates. They were originally worn as long underwear by men who had to work outside during the harsh days of the winter. The shirts can be made from several different fabrics, including cotton, silk, or wool. Their main purpose is to create a layer of material to trap your body heat and keep it from escaping into the cold air. In recent years, long sleeve thermal shirts have made the shift from undergarments to fashionable outerwear.

Functional Fashion

Even though short sleeve thermal shirts have become more fashionable, they still perform their basic function. The shirts trap heat and wick moisture away from the body. Thermal shirts usually have a basket-weave texture to aid in their moisture collection. Athletes like to wear thermal shirts when they exercise because the shirts help keep them from overheating. If you wear a thermal shirt over another shirt, however, the functional benefits are lost and the shirt is basically just like any other long sleeved shirt. Original thermal shirts were traditionally made in white and red, but today’s thermals are every color imaginable. Many black thermal shirts also have logos or patterns to make them more interesting.

Underwear and Outerwear

It is possible to purchase thermal t shirts that are solely intended to be worn as underwear. These no-frills long sleeved shirts are generally crew necked, and some have two or three buttons at the collar. They are usually made from a soft, thin material. When worn as underwear, thermal tee shirts provide an extra layer of warmth that doesn’t add bulk to your overall look. Outerwear thermal shirts tend to be a little more finished. The collars almost always have button closures, and they usually come in several different colors. Some cotton thermal shirts have a larger stand-up ribbed collar.

Men’s Thermal Shirts

Men’s thermal shirts often have ribbed collars and cuffs, and are very utilitarian. They come in different colors, but tend to stick to mostly primary colors. A recent trend in mens thermal shirts has been to decorate the front with rustic looking designs and rock and roll logos. Most men wear their long sleeved thermal shirts underneath short sleeved t-shirts that are a contrasting color. This creates a casual, layered look that is masculine and youthful.

Women’s Thermal Shirts

Women have a few more options when it comes to the styles an designs of womens thermal shirts. Thermal shirts for women tend to be tapered at the waist, and the collars come in several different types. It is not uncommon to find women’s thermal shirts with v-necks or low scooped necks instead of the stark crew neck that is more common in men’s thermal shirts. Button front thermal shirts are also popular for women because the wearer can choose to create a different look by leaving a certain number of buttons done or undone. Women’s thermal shirts come in many various shades of color, and are usually worn as the outer layer instead of under a t-shirt.

The Evolution of the Thermal Shirt

Colored thermal shirts have evolved quite a lot since their rustic beginnings as work shirts. They are used as fashionable alternatives for runners and bicycle riders, and are available in several different colors and styles. Thermal shirts have become acceptable attire for men and women in most casual situations. Once relegated strictly to underwear, the thermal shirt has become an almost universal symbol of comfort and casual wear. With the added benefit of keeping moisture away from the skin and bringing an extra layer of warmth during cold winter days, the thermal shirt trend will probably last a very long time.


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