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Are You a Suit and T-Shirt Guy?

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What if you could wear a suit without dressing up? That’s what the suit and T-shirt look does for you. Here’s how to wear a suit with a T-shirt.


Want the confidence boost you get when wearing your custom tailored clothes without people constantly asking you “what are you all dressed up for?” Replace the dress shirt and tie with a luxe T-shirt and you’ll be well on your way to silencing the crowd.

We flipped the script and interviewed the editor of The Compass (and all-around style maven), Garry Mendez to get the skinny on who can pull off this look and how to do it.


Who can wear T-shirts with their suits?


You can’t really tell if you’re a T-shirt and suit guy until you try it. Some guys don’t feel comfortable breaking with tradition and wearing a suit without a dress shirt and tie.

“The T-shirt and suit look can be intimidating,” says Compass editor Garry Mendez. “I’ll admit that even I didn’t try it until recently. I didn’t want it to look forced and I was nervous I’d be self-conscious.”


A T-shirt: The Chillest Way to Rock The Suit Without Tie Look

A-T-shirt--The-Chillest-Way-to-Rock-The-Suit-Without-Tie-Look

Garry Mendez (right) rocks the all black suit and T-shirt look with Compass designer, Howard Kyong.

If a guy whose job is to advise men on dressing well is not sure he’s cool enough to pull it off, how are you supposed to get behind this idea?

Mendez reports that he was self-conscious at first, but that faded quickly.

“I was going to a party, on a hot, humid summer evening. I walked outside and a breeze kicked up and I went from wondering if I was cool enough to wear this outfit to enjoying how literally cool I was feeling.”


Suit + T-shirt = Summer Style

Suit-T-shirt-Summer-Style

A T-shirt and suit can be too cool for school, so it’s perfect for summer, especially when you wear it with immaculate white kicks and a bit of swashbuckling swagger like this guy.

Mendez, who grew up in hot and humid East Coast cities is used to fighting sweat at every turn.

“I’m mostly a suit and tie guy, so I thought I would feel a little naked with just a T-shirt on, but I was so comfortable I couldn’t help but chill out about how people would look at me.”


Pair a T-shirt and Blazer for Dressed Up Casual

Pair-a-T-shirt-and-Blazer-for-Dressed-Up-Casual

Wearing a T-shirt and blazer requires restraint. Don’t introduce a new color to your outfit or you may end up overdoing it. Here we kept it simple with a heather blue T-shirt under a blue windowpane jacket.

So it comes back to our favorite piece of menswear: confidence. Mendez got out of his own head, stopped worrying about what people thought and what was the response?

“I actually don’t know,” says Mendez. ”I went to the party, had a good time, a few people asked me where I got my suit, but I’m used to that,” he adds with a smile, “I didn’t really pay attention to what people were thinking of my T-shirt and suit look.”

So was the difference between a T-shirt and a dress shirt all in his head?

“I did notice how I wasn’t soaked in sweat at the end of the night thanks to my T-shirt. Turns out, I’m more self-conscious about sweat than whether I’m cool enough to pull off a fashion-forward outfit.”


Wondering how you’ll wear a suit with a T-shirt? Start here.

Just about any suit goes with a T-shirt if you’ve got the moxie to pull it off. But be warned, some are easier to pair than others, so we put together a top ten list of suits to wear casually with a T-shirt. Ready to tee it up? Check out the recommendations.

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2 thoughts on “Are You a Suit and T-Shirt Guy?”

  1. Jovan Gauthier says:

    Be careful doing this too often! As a friend wrote, “… it allows the jacket to be soiled by touching skin on the neck and wrists. A proper shirt’s collar and cuffs extend above the jacket’s collar and beyond the jacket’s cuffs, respectively. This places the soiling and wear on the easily cleaned and replaced shirt rather than on the jacket, which is more expensive to clean and to replace.”

    1. Black Lapel says:

      To paraphrase Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, with great style, and with fewer layers between you and your suit, comes great responsibility. OK, so we kind of butchered the quote, but you get the point. Wearing a suit in a more relaxed style doesn’t mean throwing all caution to the wind. Avoiding strenuous activity that will have you sweating and potentially dirtying the suit is a good practice all the time and goes double when you’re in a T-shirt or polo.

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