The suit is easy to wear. T-shirts are easy to wear. But wearing a suit with a T-shirt? This is another matter.
I’ll make it clear from the start: You absolutely can wear a suit with a t-shirt, You just need to know how to do it correctly.
Many people think that they can pair any t-shirt with any suit and look sleek and trendy. Wrong! Get your outfit wrong, and you’re going to the office looking tasteless and awkward. People will notice – trust me.
I’m here to keep you guys on track and looking as stylish as possible. That’s why I’ve put together some top tips to consider when sporting your next T-shirt and suit combo.
In today’s article, we will cover:
- Can you wear a T-shirt to the office?
- What color t-shirt works with a suit?
- What style of T-shirt works with a suit?
- When should you not wear a T-shirt with a suit?
- What can you wear instead of T-shirt and suit?
#1 Can you wear a T-shirt to the office?
As with many smart-casual styles, your ability to wear a suit with a T-shirt to the office depends entirely on your professional circumstances.
Some professions will allow T-shirts to be worn as part of your everyday workwear, while others will not even entertain T-shirts over dress-downs on Fridays. To answer this question, You will need to take a good look at your own office environment and make the final decision for yourself.
That being said, there are some specific work environments I could go through that might help you decide. Read these different scenarios carefully and try to match them with your workplace environment.
Do you have an arcade machine in the break room in your office? Do you develop apps for a living or work on the latest and greatest gadget releases?
If the answer is yes, chances are you can wear a suit with a t-shirt to work.
Most modern tech companies promote a more comfortable office environment. In fact, no company where creativity is involved requires a shirt and tie in the office – after all, how can people be creative when they are governed by a shirt and tie?
In short, if you see your coworkers stopping by for a cold coffee or taking a mindfulness break to promote good mental health, chances are a T-shirt, and suit combo won’t be a problem.
If you work in the heart of a city’s financial district, I can guarantee that the suit and T-shirt combination won’t be a good fit for your office environment.
Often big companies that have been around for a while get stuck in their path. Big city financial and law firms are notorious for – The dress code is strictly business suit… no if not, but no.
That’s not a bad thing—I’m always talking about the timeless quality of a well-tailored suit. If you work for a large company where shirts, ties and suits are mandatory, this is the perfect environment to stretch those sartorial muscles and wear your most sophisticated tailoring 5 days a week.
I think it’s all about maintaining a professional image. If you’re a lawyer who needs to meet high-profile clients or an investment banker who handles tens of thousands of dollars worth of stocks, a quirky T-shirt isn’t going to show you trustworthy with a business case.
It’s an interesting point – should a teacher wear a suit and tie to look professional, or wear a T-shirt and suit so that he can relate more to his students?
in my opinion, A teacher needs to be able to connect with her students, and in a lot of schools, wearing a full suit, shirt, and tie is a sure way to look full. and out of reach.
Inner-city schools are a great example of this. To get the best out of the city kids, an approachable t-shirt and blazer combo is ideal. It says, ‘I have authority, but I am still a person like you!’ Your students are more likely to respect you with that kind of attitude toward authority.
However, in some cases, a suit and tie are more appropriate. If you are the principal or head of a department, a more professional look is more appropriate. Along with the increased responsibility of this position comes an expectation that you will prepare the part.
When a suit is needed, I think it’s best to find a middle ground. Choose a shirt but lose the tie – that way, you’ll stand out from the crowd without looking overly formal.
#2 What color t-shirts work with a suit?
In a professional environment, regardless of the formality, I would always choose monochrome colors for T-shirts.
Wearing a suit with a T-shirt is like wearing sneakers with a suit. It’s a great way to put some personality into a formal outfit, but going overboard can make you look ridiculous.
I always recommend wearing white, black or brown shoes when it comes to wearing sneakers with a suit so that the dress shoes match the minimalist style and color. It’s the same story when it comes to wearing a T-shirt instead of a button-down.
In an office, most people would wear a white button-down, Some people may opt for a light blue shirt, and occasionally, you will see a gray or black shirt. The reason for this is simple – they don’t make a huge statement and stand out from the crowd.
So, while choosing your office t-shirt, Choose the same color you wear when sporting button-downs. White always works, black sometimes works (avoid wearing a navy jacket), and light blue should only be worn when wearing a gray suit.
In short, keep it simple. No pattern, no band logo – just a simple T in monochrome/muted colorway.
#3 What style of T-shirt works with a suit?
You can wear most styles of T-shirts with suits. The trick is knowing what type of T-shirt suits what formal situation.
The neckline of a T-shirt has a significant impact on how it looks and where men can wear it. Crew necks look very different from V-necks, which look completely different from Henley-style T-shirts.
It all goes back to formality. each t-shirt style Has a different level of formality and will work in different formal environments. trick is Know what to wear and when you don’t look inappropriately dressed and out of place.
Thankfully, it’s easy to learn which T-shirt style you should wear with your suit of choice:
- Crew neck t-shirt suits the office environment. When replacing a work button-down with a T-shirt, opt for a crew neck. They won’t expose your chest and provide an informal collar that sits in the same position as a button-down shirt.
- V-neck t-shirt is suitable for formal events outside of work. The V-neck tee is excellent for evening wedding ceremonies and nights out on the town. For most people, it enhances the look of the shoulders and collar bone and can help slim down a large figure. Wear a black V-neck with a suit for a sleek and trendy take on sewing.
- Henley T-shirts can look quite rugged when worn with a suit. In my opinion, you should wear a Henley T-shirt with a blazer and jeans, not a full suit. Assuming you wear your henley without buttons, it will achieve the same flattering effect as a V-neck T-shirt. However, the buttonless look is more casual and would be better suited for a family BBQ situation than a wedding.
#4 When not to wear a T-shirt with a suit?
If a dress code calls for business formal, black tie or white tie… don’t wear a T-shirt!
There are many occasions when wearing a t-shirt with a suit can be a great look. Although, There are many situations where wearing a T-shirt would make you look ridiculous.
Business formal opportunities include working in a traditional office environment, any kind of job interview regardless of company culture (better than underdressed in this example), and any meetings that you would consider ‘in person’. Will not agree In these cases, wear a full suit with a button-down shirt and tie—no exception.
Black tie events go one further and require at least a full suit and waistcoat, if not a tux. Wearing a T-shirt with a tuxedo would be disastrous – I can’t stress that enough. Never wear a tuxedo and t-shirt!
Examples that call for this dress code include wedding ceremonies, business dinners, charity galas and high-end social events at upscale restaurants.
White tie means one thing – the top hat and tail. I don’t need to go into detail here as it should be obvious – wearing a top hat, tail-end dinner jacket, and your favorite band t-shirt would be a silly idea. just do not.
#5 What could you wear instead of a T-shirt and suit?
Sometimes, a t-shirt will do too informal for an event, but shirts can be too much. In this instance, you have plenty of middle ground options to choose from, which will maintain some formality without putting you at risk of looking overdressed.
In order of formality:
Polo shirt: An excellent choice when you want to play it safe. A dark colored polo shirt with a structured collar is the perfect companion to a suit in the ‘dress down’ situation. Pair with a pair of clean, white sneakers for a casual-tailored look that’s unbeatable in the smart-casual style world. This can be a great option for creatives or teachers who want to balance their personality and professionalism.
patterned shirt: To dilute the formality of a button-down, try wearing one with a different pattern and color combination. Choose a bold design and make a statement without contrasting the color of your suit – paisley or stripes are great for this! It should work and match well with your suit but stand as the main focus of your outfit. Great for client meetings in a creative work environment.
Oxford Shirts: A plain white oxford shirt is far more formal than a t-shirt. However, it is less formal than the classic white poplin shirt. Wearing a simple white oxford shirt with buttoned collar and no tie is a great way to dilute the formality of a suit without seeming unconventional or too casual. It’s a great choice for hot days at the office, dress-down Fridays, or outdoor wedding ceremonies in the summer.
Wearing a polo shirt and suit is a great idea, isn’t it? Check out a more detailed guide to help you achieve this style here.