A Few Rules For Wearing A T-Shirt With A Blazer

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Avoid bright colors, overly bold patterns, graphic or ironic t-shirts. Play it safe with a solid color or thin stripe.

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Keep it on the looser side. We're not talking baggy, but you want it to appear effortless, easy and cool.

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Give the neckline a little tug for more of a casual edge.

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Tuck it in.

So you don’t look like a 1980s throwback

Wearing a t-shirt under a blazer can be a contentious issue. While it may not spawn a debate as full of vitriol as going “sockless” or whether or not the rules of style are made to be broken, it nonetheless does divide the community of sharply dressed men.

We happen to be in the camp that says there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t wear a t-shirt with a blazer. However, there are definitely some guidelines to follow to make sure you don’t look like a 1980s throwback. Let’s get right to it.

blazer t shirt combination

Before diving in, it’s worth discussing why one would substitute a t-shirt for a traditional button-up under a blazer. I personally like the combination for a few reasons. First, it’s casual – an even more casual take on sharp casual. Sure, a button-up with an extra button unbuttoned looks casual and relaxed, but a t-shirt has a completely different kind of relaxed vibe. It’s a bit sportier.

Second, it’s hot during the summer. A t-shirt’s short sleeves remove a layer of fabric on your arms, which makes donning a blazer that much easier. Now, you might ask why wear a blazer in the first place if it’s so hot? It may be required to be dressed appropriately for a particular restaurant or bar. You could certainly try just wearing a button-up, but for me, a button-up without a blazer doesn’t look as put together. And if the vibe seems to be casual but not too casual, opting for a jacket is the best choice.

blazer t shirt combination

| WEARING | Suitsupply blazer, All Saints t-shirt, Saks Fifth Avenue pants, Ermengildo Zegna pocket square, Garrett Leight sunglasses, Common Projects sneakers | PHOTOGRAPHY | by Rob McIver Photo

Now let’s talk about how to do it right. If the goal is to look put together, choose a crew neck over a v-neck. You’ll look more respectable and a lot less douchey. Give the neck of your t-shirt a little tug to stretch it out and give it more of a casual edge.

Fit. Keep it loose. I’m not talking baggy, but make sure it’s not form-fitting. The goal for this combination is for it to look cool and easy. A tight tee will appear as though you’re trying too hard and too eager to show your gains at the gym, which again will make you look like a douchebag. Nobody likes a showoff.

When it comes to style, it’s almost more instructive to talk about what to avoid. Stay away from bright colors. Same goes for overly bold patterns. And, of course, don’t even think about a graphic or ironic t-shirt. Play it safe with a solid or thin stripe.

blazer t shirt combination

Finally, when is a blazer and t-shirt combination appropriate to wear? As a summertime-only combo, here are several situations that this would be a great look: a weekend brunch, early evening drinks or dinner al fresco, a casual second or third date, on vacation for a meal at your resort, airport travel.

blazer t shirt combination

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Chime In

  • OldManJoe

    Excellent guidelines. My problem has been finding the *right* T-shirt: classy and well stitched with good quality fabric, yet not hundreds of dollars. In theory, you should pay less for a T than for a button down, but no idea so far what supplier can fill the bill. I’ve looked at Brooks Brothers but they are too expensive. I looked at All-Saints and frankly they didn’t look that great to me in the pictures. Suggestions?

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      That’s a tough one. To be honest, I’m not totally up on who’s making great t-shirts these days. I have one from J.Crew that is probably 10 years old. Fraying at the edges but still one of my favorites for hanging around the apartment. All Saints tend to be on the longer side, which isn’t a problem if you’re tucking them in. Sorry I can’t be of more help here!

      • Tom B

        Following up on Brian I was going to mention the J. Crew Pima shirts. Soft, well put together, comfy… But I’m not seeing them on their website, don’t know if they still make the Pimas. I guess it’s time to go to there store. I tend to pick up 4-5 of them whenever they are on sale and they last for years.

  • http://www.vipbachelorclub.com W. ADAM MANDELBAUM

    Better for a younger man. Senior types may not be right for this look.

    • Tom B

      Adam, seriously?

      • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

        Nice look.

      • http://www.vipbachelorclub.com W. ADAM MANDELBAUM

        My definition of senior is about 20 years older than your example who does look fine.

        • Tom B

          It’s all relative :) Amazingly, 10 years ago folks were saying “40 is the new 30.” Now, it looks like “50 is the new 30,” which is just in time for me as I’ve hit that milestone. At this rate, by the time I hit 70 – “70 is the new 30!” One can only hope….

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      I think it depends on the man. Like all matters of style, this look is not for everyone.

  • https://dreamingofpink.wordpress.com Kris

    Wow, this is such a cool look. I’ve never seen it on the streets but I love the concept!

    xx Kris

    https://dreamingofpink.wordpress.com

  • http://www.shoppinglinks.com Shopping Links

    very smart and cool look… love it!