How To Wear A Blazer With A T-shirt: 16 Ways To Get It Right In 2024
You don't have to wear a dress shirt with your blazer these days. For a cooler, more relaxed look, try a T-shirt.
Smart-casual dressing can be a knotty thing to get your head around. On the surface it sounds like a messy clash of dress codes, full of rules and pitfalls – and it can be that. But it can also be as simple as taking one formal garment, and pairing it with something casual. Wearing a blazer with a T-shirt is the perfect example.
Simple to do, easy to wear and classy as hell, bringing a T-shirt into the smart end of your wardrobe makes it easier to get more wear from tailored jackets that don’t get out as much as they ought to. And while this includes wearing tees with two-piece suits, there are even more options available when you pair them with standalone blazers worn with separates, jeans or even shorts.
The mood board for this kind of look is eclectic, too. There’s Miami Vice-style 80s sleaze, or a preppy combo of jeans with a plus-size tweed blazer. You can go tonal and minimalist by matching your tee to your jacket or do the opposite and subvert a formal blazer with a punky printed tee underneath.
The point is, whatever your style, there’s a way to combine your T-shirts with your blazers. Here are the rules, regulations and the right ways to do it.
When to wear a T-shirt with a blazer
When not to wear a T-shirt with a blazer? In the right context and the right company, a T-shirt under a formal jacket isn’t just acceptable, it’s preferable to a more traditional shirt and tie. And that can include weddings, funerals and job interviews, depending on whose big day it is or who you’re trying to honour or impress.
Casual summer weddings are becoming increasingly popular with couples who don’t want to spend a fortune on their nuptials. With the lower budget tends to come a more relaxed approach to everything, the dress code included. On those occasions, a crisp T-shirt teamed with separates or a linen suit might be the perfect thing to wear.
The same goes for job interviews in creative or more casual industries: showing up with a double windsor knot to a job as a creative designer might be more likely to mark you out as someone who doesn’t fit the bill.
Of course, you have to use your judgement on these things, but in today’s casual climate, wearing a luxury T-shirt with a blazer marks you out as someone whose dress is current and considered. That’s why the combo also works for dates, days in the office, family dinners and more.
The type of blazer to wear with a T-shirt
We’re talking about a casual way to wear tailoring, so guess what? The best type of blazer to wear with a T-shirt is a casual one. That usually (but not always) means something unlined, unstructured, slightly looser fitting and made from a more casual material. But it’s also true that you can subvert expectations by pairing a dressier blazer with a T-shirt.
Let’s start with construction. Unstructured blazers work well with tees because they’re lightweight, softer at the shoulders and usually come with other casual details such as patch pockets. It’s a naturally slouchier look, but you can go with something smarter, too.
Wearing a tee with a dressy blazer is all about fit and styling. If the jacket is big and boxy (a roomy double-breasted number, perhaps), make sure the trousers and T-shirt are, too. Go the other way if it’s a slim-fitting jacket.
With fabrics, there’s often a broader selection at the casual end of the spectrum. From wool and tweed to lightweight twills and cotton blends, you’ll find more materials that softly on the shoulders and drape down the body. These are all perfect for wearing with a tee.
You might also get away with a more adventurous colour. Browns, creams and greens can be a little daunting as a full suit. As separates, they feel less peacocky and are easier to style.
The type of T-shirts to wear with a blazer
Picking out a T-shirt to wear with a blazer is easy. Go for your best ones. Anything that’s been hit with spaghetti or accompanied you on a few trips to the gym can stay in the wardrobe. With a blazer you need simple crew neck tees that fit well and are long enough in the body to tuck (and stay tucked) into your trousers.
The right printed or patterned tee can work with clever styling, but it’s much easier to go for a block colour. Choose something from the same corner of the colour wheel as your blazer or trousers for a cool tonal look, or go for staple black, white or navy that goes with practically anything.
T-shirt with a blazer outfits
White T-shirt and khaki cotton blazer outfit
Blazers can be used as casual layers when the design is right and it’s worn in the correct way. This one is lightweight and unstructured, fitting like a cardigan or worker jacket, and that’s exactly how it’s styled, too.
The sneakers ground everything, making the pleated trousers and a knitted crew neck look like simple everyday dress. And the jacket itself is a cross between a traditional blazer and a chore jacket, helping it fit in with the mash-up of styles.
Light blue T-shirt with navy blazer outfit
Here’s the other end of the spectrum, a blazer cut like a slim-fit suit jacket but styled with separates in a smart summer outfit. The navy jacket has just enough texture to work with the off-white jeans, while the light petrol blue crew neck brings together a cool, Mediterranean palette.
A navy jacket and off-white trousers is a classic way to dress smartly for hot weather, and the dark brown loafers fit the aesthetic perfectly.
Navy T-shirt and brown wool blazer outfit
A great example of how to wear jeans with a blazer, town and country come together in this look, inspired by late 80s and early 90s menswear. The slim jeans and polished loafers are smart enough for the micro-check jacket while the navy jersey tee matches the tone of jeans to let the blazer do all the talking.
Like a lot of the looks on this page, the tee is tucked into the trousers, letting the jacket’s proportions sing.
Grey T-shirt and white blazer outfit
This ice-cold tonal look shows how to wear a blazer with a T-shirt in a limited palette of colours.
The important thing is that no one piece is the exact same shade as any of the others; the ivory jacket, light grey pants and heather grey top creating a harmony of lighter shades.
These colours won’t complement a fair skin tone, but it’s a statement look for anyone with the pigment for it.
White T-shirt and navy double-breasted blazer outfit
On paper, this 80s-inspired look would be a hard sell, but the details are impeccable so it works. The navy double-breasted jacket contrasts hard with the light wash jeans and plain white tee, and that’s the point.
But the wide fit and high waist of the jeans lets the drape of the jacket show off, while the chocolate-brown loafers and woven belt add just enough luxe to bring the whole outfit together.
Black T-shirt and dark green blazer outfit
Another example of off-white jeans providing the perfect foil to a blazer-and-tee combination, this summer get-up is a masterclass in neutral, masculine colours.
But it’s the jersey-style jacket that brings it all together. Soft and lightweight with just enough stretch, it shows how dress-down tailoring can still look sharp and considered.
The dark grey tee deepens the green of the jacket, creating an impactful contrast between top and bottom.
Navy T-shirt and white double-breasted knitted blazer outfit
A white double-breasted blazer is always going to be a smart and eye-catching piece so even when you wear it with a T-shirt, you’re still look sharp.
Here, the tee matches the rich navy of the trousers, creating a bold contrast with the jacket, but notice how the buttons of the jacket and the suede tassel loafers not only match, but soften the whole look.
Details matter, gents.
Tan T-shirt and light brown blazer outfit
As we’ve said before, tonal dressing isn’t necessarily about wearing the same colour in every piece you wear. Here, the muted yellow tee bridges off-white trousers and a light brown jacket.
The combination is so sophisticated that the drawstring waist isn’t even a distraction.
White T-shirt and light blue blazer outfit
If you thought that wearing a T-shirt with a blazer was hard work, trying styling one with shorts. To do this well, look straight to the North Atlantic island of Bermuda, where traditional Bermuda shorts, worn with blazers, were adopted by British Army officers stationed there during World War I.
To maintain some formality, the shorts have to be tailored, and the T-shirt has to be pristine, while loafers are the perfect warm-weather footwear option.
Dark brown T-shirt and camel double-breasted blazer outfit
Wearing a blazer with a T-shirt lets you put together tonal outfits more easily than you could with a traditional shirt. This outfit is a good example why: a tee gives you more options for a base colour.
Finding a dress shirt this colour of chocolate brown would be a hard ask. But it’s the perfect shade to bring together the cream and tan of the pants and jacket.
Notice also how the loose proportions of the double-breasted blazer are matched in both the tee and the trousers.
White T-shirt and olive green cotton blazer outfit
Not for the first time on this page, here we see a blazer in a contrast colour to the T-shirt and trousers it sits over.
It’s a statement look, especially when the base layers are white, but the informal style of the olive green jacket grounds the outfit.
Unlined and generously fitted, it’s also a perfect shade for summer. Shoutout to the matching belt and loafers for adding some depth to the look, too.
White T-shirt and light grey blazer outfit
There aren’t many things that a crisp white T-shirt can’t be worn with. Here, it’s a clever linking piece between the classic separates combination of navy chinos and a grey blazer.
Sockless suede Derby shoes help to land the outfit dead centre on the smart-casual spectrum, while the generous fit of the blazer keeps things louche.
White striped T-shirt and double-breasted blazer outfit
If Wes Anderson did traditional nautical tailoring it might look something like this. The ivory double-breasted jacket looks better with the red Breton-stripe tee than it would with any kind of formal shirt, and the luxe sneakers help to land the outfit at the casual end of tailoring.
For extra marks, note how the slim pleated trousers contrast with the oversized lapels to create some subtle drama in the look.
White T-shirt and black blazer outfit
Black, grey and white can be a severe combination but anything works with the right styling. Here, the important details include the high waist and relaxed fit of the trousers, lending the look some traditional, Italian flair.
The white tee and matching minimalist sneakers is also a clever touch.
Cream T-shirt and off-white double-breasted blazer outfit
Fifty shades of beige: it sounds boring but done right it’s anything but. This creamy combo is luxe and sophisticated, a perfectly tailored look for chilled summer weddings.
As we’ve seen elsewhere on the page, you need to have subtle variations in colour between top and bottom, or the jacket and the tee. Here, the T-shirt matches the jacket almost perfectly, while the contrast comes from the lower half, the suede Derbies in particular.