How to Wear Your Suit Without a Dress Shirt

This Monday we discussed the topic of how to wear a suit every day, and I thought why the hell we don’t get on the topic of how to wear it without a dress shirt.

It’s a really under-discussed topic and one that is quite trendy and I can say that I actually like this trend. We’ve also discussed on how to wear your suit with sneakers.
I once heard that the idea was to look like your grandpa, stylish but careless, sprezzatura if I can say. I am known for not going with the crowd when it comes to trends because most of them I don’t like. However I feel like the sneakers and swapping the dress shirt for something more casual is going to stick around for quite a time.

  • How to Wear a Suit With Sneakers

However before swapping the button-up you need the right suit.

The Suit

When choosing the suit you have to be careful. Shiny suits made for formal occasions like weddings and dinners won’t work. They are just too formal and won’t look good. What you should be looking for is maybe a linen suit, or linen and cotton blend. If you’d like you can go with wider notch lapels or even peak lapels, and why not a double breasted.

Even though the double breasted is more formal, the linen makes it look more casual, a suit made for warmer weather. The linen also gives a more textured look making it seem less formal. But if it was me I’d go for the linen-cotton blend because it gets fewer wrinkles and it’s also more durable.

The Color of the Suit

Colors are tricky. Here sticking to the basic black, navy and gray simply does not cut it. Instead of navy, you should try something close to sky blue. Lighter colors are key. Beige, light blue, light gray and even white are the colors that will work best for you. There are some occasions that a navy suit can work, but I’d be careful. Make sure the suit is not too formal.

The Fit

The fit is what most men just completely mess up. Buying an off the rack suit is the most common thing people do and often do it wrong. It’s very often that an off the rack suit will have some type of imperfection, simply because of your body and that’s completely fine. If you are looking for the perfect fit you should definitely visit a tailor or at least buy a tailored fit suit.

 The Trousers

The fit of the trousers is also very important. If your pants are too big you’ll look shorter than you actually are and if you are rocking too much of the mankle you’ll look like you are wearing a suit you bought 10 years ago. So ideally you should be looking for trousers with no break. I get more in depth in one of the older articles. With the no-brake you achieve this slimmer silhouette and sportier look, making it the perfect cut for a more casual look.

Now, let’s get to the real topic of this post.

What should we substitute the dress shirt with?

There are three basic shirts you would want to start with. The basic v-neck t-shirt, the striped v-neck t-shirt, and the henley.

The basic v-neck

It’s probably the easiest garment to pair that you own. The fit should be nice and I wouldn’t recommend wearing it tucked in, it’s just not going to work. You can also go with a crew neck but the v-neck is way more flattering and better looking.

The polo shirt

If you don’t own any yet, it’s time to go buy one. The polo shirt is a man staple garment that has been present in the wardrobe of men since the dawn of time. However to look good in it you have to nail the fit. The polo shirt is more square rather than fit like other t-shirts. Most often if the shirt fits you well in the arms it’s going to be perfect trough the bottom.

The henley shirt

I won’t get in details for the henley shirt. It’s better if the shirt features three to five buttons no less, no more. If you want to know more about the henley shirt like fit, types etc. you can go and read this article:

  • The Three Button Henley


The color of the shirt is key. Go with a shirt that has a bad color and you’ll ruin the whole outfit. Great colors to use are the solid ones:

  • White
  • Black
  • Gray
  • Navy
  • Light blue
  • Dark green

If you are like to experiment you can also use stripes. Both vertical and horizontal stripes work well and the best colors are:

  • Navy and White
  • Light blue and White
  • Black and White [but be careful, if the stripes are too wide you’ll look like a prisoner from a 60’s movie]

3 Best Looks



  • Evgeni Asenov
Evgeni Asenov

For the last 4 years I've been enthusiastic about men's style, lifestyle and fashion. Trough trial and error I've learned some things in this area and now I'm here to share with everyone who might be interested.

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