The undershirt is the shirt that is not meant to be seen. The undershirt is a private shirt that exists primarily to preserve the outward appearance of the public shirt– the shirt that is worn over the undershirt. The private shirt, the shirt we do not see, is the shirt that does the heavy lifting. The private shirt is the shirt that absorbs the wear and tear of inner life, so that the public shirt, the shirt we do see, does not have to. Because of the shirt that we do not see, the youthful appearance of the shirt that we do see is prolonged, making it significantly harder, if not entirely impossible, to accurately guess the age of the public shirt. In this way the private shirt, the shirt that we do not see, in other words, the undershirt, is not unlike the portrait of Dorian Gray. Though as far as we know no Faustian pacts were involved in its making.
(And yes, it’s true. “Dorian Gray jokes never get old.”)