Should You Wear a Suit Jacket or Blazer with a T-Shirt?

Should You Wear a Suit Jacket or Blazer with a T-Shirt?

Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette!
In today’s video, we’ll discuss whether layering a suit jacket, sport coat, or
blazer on top of a T-shirt is a stylish look or not. In the warmer months
of the year, it’s only natural to try to cut down on the number of layers you’ll
be wearing each day. After all, with fewer garments on your body, you’ll generally
stay cooler. Even so, different situations call for different dress codes. A day at
the beach may be well suited by shorts and a simple shirt but a summer business
meeting at the office is still going to require something more formal and even
within these general frameworks, dressing up a little bit more than others is
still something that can be done. As an example ,wearing a polo shirt, dressier
shorts, and boat shoes to a barbecue will look infinitely more stylish than
simply wearing a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and sandals. That brings us to the topic
at hand today then, in an effort to beat the summer heat while still looking
stylish, can one effectively pair a t-shirt with a jacket or even with a
full suit? Our answer in a nutshell is that we wouldn’t exactly recommend it.
There are a host of other more stylish options out there and we’ll get to those
more toward the end of the video. Still, if you are really dying to pair these
two garments together, there are ways to do it that are better than others.
On that note then, let’s try to tackle the reasoning behind why someone would
conceivably want to pair these two articles of clothing together. Firstly, it
definitely presents a casual vibe in the overall scale of formality, it would
probably rank even below smart casual in full-on casual wear. By the way, if you’re
curious about the scale of formality to which we’re referring you can check
out our dress code primer video here. Secondly and perhaps more practically
speaking, it can get hot during the summer months. Given that a
t-shirt doesn’t often have long sleeves, you’ll be removing that extra bit of
fabric from your frame and thus staying cooler. It should be said, we’re going
into today’s video with the assumption that wherever you’re planning on going, a
jacket of some kind is required, otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be
attempting this combination in the first place and would simply forego a jacket
altogether. With that fairly compelling rationale
out of the way, however, there are a number of reasons why attempting to pair
a t-shirt and a jacket is ill-advised. First and foremost, a t-shirt and a
jacket are at greatly different levels of overall formality and when any
garments of greatly different levels of formality are paired together, the
overall formality of the outfit skews downward, not upward. In other words,
pairing a t-shirt with a jacket doesn’t dress up the t-shirt, it only dresses
down the jacket. The second key reason for not pairing a t-shirt and a jacket
together is that doing so will probably make you look dated and not in a good
way. The height of the trend of wearing
t-shirts and jackets together came in the 1980s as perhaps best exemplified by
the TV show, Miami Vice. Not only were t-shirts worn with jackets and even full
suits but the cut and colors were baggy and bright, respectively. If you do try
wearing a t-shirt with a jacket today even if the fit is more trim and the
colors are more muted, most people’s first associations are still going to be
with the 80s and you’ll have the general effect of looking like a throwback. You
might be wondering how is this any different from the Gentleman’s Gazette’s
frequent praise of early 20th century fashions? Well, the simple answer right
now is that the 1980s are just dated enough that most of their fashions
aren’t in style anymore but still, just current enough that some of those trends
are hanging on. In other words, it’s kind of an uncanny valley in terms of
time right now and being caught in the middle, wearing some of these distinctly
80s fashions is just going to make you look dated
instead of like someone who’s celebrating these stylistic choices of
an earlier era. Finally, there are simply a great number of more stylish
alternatives at your disposal than pairing a t-shirt and a jacket together.
Again, we’ll get to those in a moment. But first, if you simply must pair a
t-shirt and a jacket together, here’s the advice we have on making it look
passable. First, it’s best to choose a crew neck t-shirt over a v-neck. The crew
neck is a little bit more modest and will tamp down some of those 80s vibes.
In terms of fit, the t-shirt shouldn’t be too baggy or too tight. If the t-shirt is
baggy, you’re just going to look sloppy and not very well put together and if
the t-shirt is too tight, you’re just going to look like you have something to
prove or you’re trying to show off your physique. As to the question of how
your jacket should fit, you should check out our video guide on that subject here.
Next, stay away from any flashy colors or patterns on your t-shirt and this should
go without saying but absolutely no graphic tees, period. Solid and muted
colors or perhaps a subtle pattern such as a Breton stripe will help to
formalize the t-shirt just a little bit and bring it slightly more in line with
the formality of the jacket. If you do still want to incorporate some color and
pattern into your outfit, you can do so using your jacket within reason
or better yet using a smaller accessory like a pocket square. In terms of
jacket styles, it’s best to go with a summer weight odd sport coat or blazer
rather than a suit jacket. As we mentioned above, a suit jacket and a
t-shirt are so wildly different in levels of formality that they’ll
basically be actively fighting with each other if you try to wear them together.
And on that note, go with odd trousers as well; cotton chinos or slacks in a
neutral color and preferably without a pattern will casualize and ground the
outfit at the same time. Wearing a t-shirt under a matching suit jacket and
trousers is a one-way ticket to 80sVille. Meanwhile, if you’re curious about how to
wear and pair garments in neutral colors effectively you can check out this
recent video here. An additional style tip for wearing a t-shirt under a jacket,
make sure that the t-shirt is tucked in; if it’s untucked, things are just going
to look that much more discordant in terms of formality and they really won’t
work. Okay, there are our recommendations for pairing a t-shirt with a jacket if
you absolutely must, however, as we’ve alluded to several times over the course
of the video, there are a number of more stylish alternatives at your disposal
and we’ll discuss those now. Firstly, just wearing a standard dress shirt with an
open collar under your jacket should still keep you cooler than if you were
wearing a tie and it will look better as the dress shirt and jacket are closer in
terms of overall formality. On that note, you can find our video on wearing
jackets without ties here. Next, if you would prefer to wear a shirt without
long sleeves, go for a polo. Short sleeved dress shirts under jackets or even on
their own can look a bit dorky so they’re best avoided.
Not only should a polo worn under a jacket keep you cooler but also because
it’s well within the realm of smart casual and therefore, closer to something
like a summer weight sport coat or blazer, you can feel free to experiment
to a greater degree with the colors or subtle patterns of your polo so long as
they harmonize with those of your jacket. Just make sure that everything is
working in harmony and of course, be sure also that your polo is tucked in. As a
bonus tip here, long sleeved polos in darker jewel tones can work well under
jackets in the cooler months of the year as well. Whether
short-sleeved or long-sleeved, there is one potential pitfall of pairing a polo
with a jacket and that’s the polo shirt’s more unstructured collar. In order to
make sure things are looking good, give a check every once in a while just to see
that things aren’t bunched up underneath your jacket’s collar. If you do this,
wearing a polo with a jacket should be a look that you can pull off well and it
will come off casually overall. For more information you can check out our guide
to polo shirts here. Finally, if you really are against wearing a shirt with
a collar, a happy middle ground between a standard t-shirt and a polo would be the
Henley shirt. It isn’t quite as easy to pair with a jacket as a polo would be
but it’s slightly easier than a standard t-shirt. Follow the guidelines we gave
for pairing t-shirts and jackets together with your Henleys and you
should end up looking good. So there are our opinions on wearing t-shirts with
jackets. Skip it for full suits as the difference in formality between the
garments is simply going to be too great. If you want to wear a t-shirt with an
odd jacket and trousers, you can do so slightly more easily and one additional
note here, if keeping cool is your main aim, then look into getting jackets
without an interlining in them and in lightweight summer fabrics. For more
information on these kinds of lightweight summer appropriate jackets
stay tuned for an upcoming video on summer suits. Of course we’d like to know
what are your own personal opinions on pairing t-shirts with jackets; we
anticipate that we might have some more varying opinions for this video than
some others but we’ll be curious to read the comments that are coming and as
always don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and to hit that little Bell icon
so videos like these can come straight to your inbox. As you can see I’m wearing
a combination of t-shirt and jacket in today’s video but I’m trying to follow
the guidelines that we laid out so that things are generally
more harmonious than they might otherwise be first of all my t-shirt is
plain gray and isn’t form-fitting or too baggy I’ve got it tucked in as well in
some of these shots you may catch brief glimpses of a logo in the upper left
hand corner of the t-shirt frankly if this was unavoidable for me as I don’t
own any completely plain t-shirts that I would see as being totally suitable for
pairing with jackets this if anything underscores the point we’re trying to
make in this video however given that this was one of the most plain t-shirts
I had and in one of the most neutral colors I wore it to approximate the
advice that we’re giving the jacket I’m wearing over the shirt is a summer
weight jacket in a cotton linen blend and featuring a subtle windowpane
pattern the jacket is blue gray and the pattern on top is beige and brown the
accent of color in the outfit comes from the pocket square which is beige in
color and features edge stitching in blue
thus harmonizing with the jacket meanwhile my trousers are plain charcoal
echoing the gray tones of the shirt as well as those of the jacket another
element of color in today’s outfit comes from my socks which are from Fort
Belvedere they are shadow striped models in blue and the stripe is gray finally I’m
wearing a newer pair of dark oxblood penny loafers replacing the older pair
that you’ve seen in past videos stay tuned for an upcoming video on how my
shoe collection will be growing soon in addition to the shadow striped socks you
can find a wide variety of other accessories in the Fort Belvedere shop

100 Replies to “Should You Wear a Suit Jacket or Blazer with a T-Shirt?”

  1. While I am not a fan of the look myself, the key to pulling it off seems to be to breach the formality intentionally. One could wear a full slim fit blue suit with a crisp white t-shirt and equally white but rather basic sneakers.

    Richard Ayoade pulls a t-shirt with a suit off, by mostly following what you suggested: summer suit fabrics with a breton striped t-shirt for instance.

  2. The key I've found is definitely casual, summer jacket with plain tee shirt and dress shoes. Sneakers look immature and jackets that are too formal clash. Also definitely a more tapered jacket otherwise it looks like you didnt layer your outfit enough

  3. I recall in the early 2000’s, some of my colleagues, at a Wall Street based global ibank, would wear this same look – these gentlemen were, to a person, from the southeast and southwest regions, whereas we were alway meeting in NYC, London, or similar financial centre locations…. kinda funny that my wife would always point out their fashion faux pas

  4. The t shirt and suit jacket look is amazing. It's not formal, the suit jacket has to fit amazing. Sure it was a trend in the 80's, but it has become a timeless look.

  5. For the hottest days of summer, I need to stay cool but I also still need the pockets of a jacket to carry my phone, wallet, etc. My solution is a very thin, casual, deconstructed blazer in indigo with a checked pattern. When I pair it with a t-shirt like the video describes and jeans, I dunno, it seems to work.

  6. This falls right in the range of " should you wear sneakers with a suit " and I think it's all about choosing your clothing right. The first step in any wardrobe. Casual or formal , just keep it neat , bold and subtle

  7. OMG!!!!… he has an old soul… men are not allowed to show off their assets….after hour sweating in the gym…why not…. he should have given the thumbs gesture instead when posing with that blazer, btw it looks 2 size bigger for you. My thumb of rule, when it fits the event/situation and I feel comfy and confidence with what I wear, I'll go with it.

  8. Wearing a suit jacket/blazer/sports jacket with a t-shirt might be the biggest "no no" when trying to go for a more stylish and formal look in the summer. (My opinion)

  9. I think it's worth noting that the whole point of this look is dressing down the jacket so it can be utilized OUTSIDE of the normal circumstances. A lot of guys are sick of the way men's fashion standards hem them into boxes and "formality levels". Women's clothing is more fluid, and in some cases just the addition/subtraction of one minor piece can make a woman's outfit transcend boundaries. The question men are now asking is "why can't I do that?" The answer is that our clothing has been idealized and stereotyped quite heavily over the years, and we haven't been nearly as active in challenging those previously set stereotypes/expectations (i'm talking us everyday guys, not male fashion models). It may have started ion the 80's, but I think now is a perfect storm of us beginning to play more with our style options (especially thanks to all these very helpful style youtubers, even if I don't always agree with their "rules")

    It seems to me you're coming from the wrong place in this video. You've tucked in the t-shirt (to try and turn its formality up to be in the ballpark of the jacket), your sportcoat is buttoned (this further hides the shirt) and while peak lapels can be really cool, I think trying to pair a tee shirt with a peaked lapel coat is almost always going to look bad. Having a less structured blazer or even a coat that has less formal features will make the look much less jarring. Its not about making the tee shirt more formal, its about making the jacket a seamless and even useful addition to a casual look.

    We love how jackets make us look, and we are finally saying: "screw it, I'm going to make this something I can wear more than six times a year". While you can't pull this off with every jacket you own (and probably wouldn't want to anyway for reasons mentioned above), having one or two less structured/casual jackets will really open up your options and add some depth to your style.

  10. Your jacket is far too baggy that is why the outfit looks horrible. A well fitting suit, black t shirt, and Lanvin cap toe sneakers look fantastic!

  11. The Miami Vice reference pics are awesome!! 😀 In my opinion they put the combinations really well together at the time… you can't complain about that – highly paid stylist probably did the job. I think a polo shirt has a very defined lower end can also be worn over the jeans and not tucked in. I know you have different video about jackets and jeans which I didn't watch so far… 😀

  12. In my student days, I would wear a band Tshirt under a military jacket with jeans and leather boots, and that always worked well.

    These days, I would still occasionally wear a under a linen/cotton blend jacket, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

  13. No. One should not. (Or wear whatever the bloody hell you want). I still dislike (not that this even matter) the look; looks like trying to hard to be casual and edgy, a forced approach to that italian casualness that everyone seems to get wrongly.

  14. Great video! I wear my shirt collar type t shirt in the summer time with a cotton blazer. In my humble opinion I don’t think this style fits a fine gentleman. But in the end each with their own tastes.

  15. dear Preston. points well made/taken. in one respect, tees w/blazers-sportcoats, can work; i.e. a John Coltrane tee, witha sharkskin, and/or aan Eddie Cochran tee with a western blazer, or a Specials tee, with a mod suit jacket….(this look, works bigtime). Cheers!!!

  16. A blazer/jacket with t-shirt look can TOTALLY be pulled off, but you can't go into it with the mindset of following Ward Cleaver fashion rules. The colors, fabrics, patterns, and accessories have to mesh well to make a statement. Go to Pinterest and search for blazer with t shirt men. One other thing…everyone's office isn't the same-some are more about creativity and expression than others, so if your office is more stodgy than edgy, then yes, tamp it down if that's wise. Lastly…if you have on a truly great and amazing piece of clothing or accessory for that matter, nothing will diminish it's appeal. If you walked down the street in your pajamas and the most outstanding watch ever believe me, people will remember and want that watch

  17. Can we have this young man dress a little more age appropriate? I mean damn, he looks like a grandpa most videos. Great content, but please wear some chukkas amd not this old man loafer

  18. That’s it I’m throwing away my rainbow colored “I love eggs” t shirt. 😭 Great video chaps!

  19. Could you do a video about dressing for the gym please? Amazing channel. Thank you gentlemen. 🎩 👔

  20. I disagree, with the right body you can pull this combo off, especially with a v-neck t-shirt

  21. Preston's tailored clothing doesn't fit. This is one of the most famous menswear channels in the world, and it became such due to the highest quality content and presentation. Now, the host can't even put on a decent, made-to-measure jacket (since off-the-rack, apparently, doesn't fit him well)? I'm not even going to discuss the various details (although, those details ought to be discussed), but at least the basic fit should be good! Please guys!

  22. Could you do one on driving etiquette, whether you have your spouse/potential SO in the car, potential client, or even your boss or vips, thanks.

  23. I feel like I have seen here and there some of the Silicon Valley Tech CEOs wearing t-shirt with blazer or odd jacket.

  24. In my opinion, I think that this look can only be pulled off depending on the suit/jacket material and I also think that a higher V-neck can be worn but polos would definitely be the safe bet. For wimpy collared polos I use the Fashion Anchor and so far I haven't had any issues with it. Still, I really liked the viewpoint, not everyone can pull it off honestly

  25. Lol I break your rules a lot. My office is very casual. Some days I'll throw on a screen print t-shirt with a suit jacket dark wash jeans and driving moc. I never tuck in the t-shirt and I never button the jacket. Most people in the office give a positive response to it. It shows personality and is a good balance between relaxed casual dress and business casual.

  26. Even before Preston said it, I heard Jan Hammer's synthesizer in my head when I saw the thumbnail to this video!

  27. a black jacket paired with a white shirt, a black denim pant and something like a clarks desert boot is the answer for me. Also keep the shirt a bit loose and don’t tug it in. Works especially well for younger boys like me – got lots of compliments!

  28. To all those thinking that this look doesn’t work, just take style cues from GQ and Esquire. No need to be afraid! Being fashion forward is better than being boring. Don’t listen to all the old farts making asinine comments such as “only real men wear…” or “that’s juvenile, unrefined…” It’s possible to be stylish and not a snob as well.

  29. Out here in the western US its pretty popular for bullriders, cowboys, and ramchers out on the town to rock this look with blue jeans and even cowboy boots sometimes and of course the iconic hats. I rock the look too, kind of enveloped by the culture around me. I think thats an important part about this idea too, to look at the environment around you.

  30. I'm SO glad you gave an overall thumbs down to the t-shirt and sport coat combo. That style always lacked something visually. I lived through the 80's and I can tell you that the Miami Vice clothing trend died before the show was even off the air. If you would have worn anything resembling the Sonny Crocket look any time after 1986, you'd be laughed out of the club. No woman would want to be on a date with a guy dressed like Tubbs. By 1990, you'd see people occasionally wear the Miami Vice style as a Halloween costume. Thank you for not recommending to your viewers.

  31. Dressed like Don Johnson in the 80's, gave up the look by 1988 and never went back

  32. Polo shirts are the worst Boomeresque garment and shouldn't be worn outside of a polo ground.

  33. It's a great look but the problem is the collar gets dirty.Suits and T-shirts don't mix, as a one off it's OK.

  34. I really disagree: if you google "t-shirt and jacket" you see so many outfits and color combinations that just look great.
    Yeah it's hipstery, but so what?

  35. Ugh, if you want to wear a tshirt and suit coat use darker colors. Black jacket, black shirt. Looks clean on a taller person myself (6'11) and still (depending on fabric of the shirt) look presentable.

  36. I have a Victorinox black polyester nylon looking sport coat. I wear it with a t shirt. Is that acceptable as it’s more of a rain coat?

  37. Living in Central Florida island or tropical wear is the most common, though I wear a suit a min of twice per weak. Excellent comment in the video that, a T just brings down the look of a jacket. I always wear a long sleeve shirt with an undershirt to dissipate perspiration and keep skin tones beneath from ruining the look of my dress shirt. High heat and humidity can leave you looking wet in about 15 seconds during this time of year. To be seen in this climate wearing a suit means you are attending an event, function or meeting requiring such. Wearing a jacket with a T shirt here would just make the wearer look confused. Thanks for the great video.

  38. When I saw the title of this video my mind went right to Miami vice. Hearing that from you made me laugh.

  39. The coat would fit much better if it wasn’t over a tee shirt…. that’s literally one of the reasons not to wear this look that they talked about…

  40. To the people saying that Preston suit is too large, no. It is a summer look and it not supposed to fit as a glove. I am sure Preston knew this and did it with this intention. He is not making a beginners mistake. Thank you Preston for showing us that some mistakes aren't and that we should think twice before passing judgment.

  41. In the the U.K. This year T-Shirts with a jacket or s suits is the In look for men. I don’t like the look at all. It just looks weird. Like wearing jeans with a suit jacket. Looks half dressed to me.

  42. It’s not what I would wear in a formal situation. But – probably not your typical audience – men not older than mid 30 can easily wear t-Shirt plus jacket when going to a bar with friends or a club. Does – in contrast to your statement – increase the style level of the t-Shirt rather than downgrading the jacket. It also gives you more flexibility to react on temperature. I sometimes go for that when going out

  43. Peter capaldi is the best person wearing suits and t shirts he’s like the cool old rock star uncle but it’s my opinion

  44. What do you think about the way Luca Rubinacci does it? He pulls it of very nicely and elegant.

  45. Wearing a blazer or sports jacket with jeans and a t-shirt is different from doing so with a suit jacket.
    I wouldn't be taking fashion advice from someone who wears double breasted suits.

  46. Where i live most people would think t-shirt and blazer is a very very modern and deffenetly not dated😂
    The rules of his style are that wear a t-shirt that have a high neck (can be v neck or o neck), no texts or styff like that just a neutral colour like grey, black or white. Wear the t-shirt untucked. Wear the WELL FITTING blazer unbuttoned.
    Wear jeans in blue or black or wear chinos in a nice colour that match up with your blazer. One of them can be with a strong colour but only one..

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