How to Wear A Shirt Over T-Shirt?

How to Wear a Shirt Over T-Shirt: The Best Combinations

by jacky chou
Updated on

There’s something so casual and sexy about a man in a shirt over t-shirt combination. Although this combination has been around for a while, knowing how to ace it is a skill you must master.

Luckily, you don’t have to do the whole trial and error thing because we did that for you. We’ve tried several combinations and have come up with the ones you can’t go wrong with. 

The shirt over t-shirt combination offers a quick and stylish solution, especially when you don’t want to wear a blazer. Therefore, the next time you want to go out to a party or vacation and don’t know what to wear, you can turn to these shirt over t-shirt combos for inspiration.

Shirt Over T-shirt Combinations

1. Checkered Shirt Over T-Shirt Combination

Here’s a street style you don’t want to miss out on. We found that pairing a checkered shirt with a white t-shirt works best, especially when it's a bright checkered shirt.

For example, a red checkered shirt and a white t-shirt combo give you a cool contemporary style that you can rock no matter the season. Pair this with some blue denim jeans, and you’ll look like a celebrity walking down the street. 

Another cool thing about this checkered shirt and t-shirt combination is that it pairs well with most bottom options. So we were not disappointed when we paired this combo with some skinny jeans. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even pair the skinny jeans with some cowboy boots and take on the winter or autumn in style. 

We don’t recommend layering the checkered shirt over a busy t-shirt as this can be too much to the eye. For example, avoid combining a checkered shirt with a t-shirt full of prints or one with multiple colors. 

Therefore, next time you go shopping, consider getting a couple of checkered shirts and plain white t-shirts to pair with for a casual look. It’ll save you time and energy the next time you want a casual look.

2. Cargo Shirt Over T-Shirt Combination

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Cargo shirts look amazing when they’re unbuttoned. We love the bad boy confident look we get when pairing cargo shirts with white t-shirts. 

Cargo shirts on their own have an elegant and stylish look even though the color options are limited. Therefore, pairing them with light-toned t-shirts adds to your style while providing cozy comfort. 

You can even pair them with some white pants if you want to brighten up the look. Check out our guide for what shoes to pair white pants with if you’re unsure about your options. 

The combination of cargo shirts and light-toned t-shirts makes perfect winter outfits.

3. Light Shirt Over T-Shirt Combination

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So far, we've focused on dark-toned shirts for the shirt over t-shirt combination.

However, we find that even light shirts go well with t-shirts. In fact, you can get some good denim shirts to pair with plain white t-shirts. Again, think of summer evenings and outdoor activities.

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The good thing about light-toned shirts is that they pair well with light-toned and dark-toned t-shirts. So if you want a darker look, consider wearing a dark-toned t-shirt. On the other hand, consider a light-toned t-shirt if you want a brighter look. 

We went with the lighter look for an evening barbeque, and we loved it. 

4. Printed Shirt Over T-Shirt Combination

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There wouldn't be a party without some cool prints involved. Think evening wear or summer party outfits.

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The only rule we have with printed shirts is not pairing them with other printed t-shirts. This combination would make your look way too busy. Therefore, consider a plain white t-shirt when thinking of printed shirts.

Now that we've looked at some good combinations to try when choosing to wear shirts over t-shirts, let's talk about some factors to consider when going with this style.

Considerations When Layering Shirt Over T-Shirt

Here are some things to note when layering a shirt over a t-shirt.

1. Only Suitable for A Casual Look 

We love this look! The shirt over t-shirt look is a classic that will be around for ages. However, just because the outfit screams confident, contemporary, and casual doesn’t mean it's fit for every occasion. 

There are instances that you shouldn’t wear this outfit. This includes instances where the dress code should be formal, smart-casual, or business casual. 

So, where can you rock this outfit?

Occasions like going out to a movie, barbeque, or a friend’s place are appropriate. Any occasion that allows you to dress casually works great. 

Other than that, avoid combining a shirt and t-shirt to avoid being underdressed. After all, first impressions matter. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on an opportunity because you were dressed inappropriately. 

2. Avoid Dress Shirts 

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So, not all shirts are appropriate for combining with t-shirts, and dress shirts fall under this category. Why? Because dress shirts are traditionally formal, we’re going for a casual look with this combination. Therefore, pairing an unbuttoned formal shirt with a dress shirt can create an awkward vibe.

In addition, the long hems of dress shirts are meant to be tucked in, and leaving them hanging low can spoil your entire look.

So, how can you tell which kind of shirt is a dress shirt? Dress shirts don’t wrinkle easily and often have a sheen to them. You’ll find them in neutral colors such as white or blue, and the formal feel will contrast with the casual feel of the t-shirt.

Therefore, if you can avoid combining a dress shirt with a t-shirt, that would be great. 

3. Favor Light-Toned T-Shirts

We choose to stick to white t-shirts when going with this combination. To be honest, having a couple of plain white tees in a wardrobe is a hack you should embrace. You’ll always have a t-shirt handy to go with this combination, no matter the shirt you choose.

4. Choose Lightweight and Breathable T-Shirts 

The good thing about t-shirts is that your choices are limitless. For example, when it comes to necklines, there’s really no limit. You can go with round necks, V-necks, scoop necks, and crew necks. 

However, the weight of the fabric of the t-shirt you choose matters. This is because the weight of the t-shirt can affect your outfit's overall look and feel. We recommend t-shirts made of light fabrics because they won’t make you sweat too much or look bulky under your shirt. 

This applies whether the t-shirt is white or any other color. You also want the fabric of the t-shirt to be breathable to keep you feeling fresh whether the sun is out or not. We found that light cotton and a cotton-polyester blend seem to work best for fabrics.

5. Play with Color Contrast 

Remember how we said you should stock up on white t-shirts? Here’s another place where they come in. 

When choosing a shirt and t-shirt to combine, contrast can be a good thing, especially when the colors complement each other. We found that choosing a shirt with a more striking color or pattern than the shirt works best. 

For example, you can pair a red checkered shirt with a white t-shirt. You can also opt for any other neutral-colored t-shirt if you don’t like white. Nonetheless, ensure that the colors complement each other even as they contrast each other in terms of loudness. 

Some popular neutral-colored t-shirts you can try in place of white include light blue, light gray, beige, and off-white. 

You can even try to pair your outfit with some orange shoes for extra contrast. Just ensure that the shoes go well with the colors of your shirt and t-shirt.

6. Unbutton the Whole Shirt 

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This goes without saying, but we thought we’d reiterate. You may be tempted to leave some buttons closed when pairing a shirt with a t-shirt for whatever reason.

For example, you may want to create a business-casual look and decide only to unbutton it halfway. We greatly advise against this as it will create an awkward look and leave you looking unsure of yourself. 

Therefore, always ensure that you unbutton all the way down for that confident, casual look that this combination brings.

Take Away

The shirt over t-shirt combination has been around for ages and still continues to top the list of casual looks. If you're unsure what combination to go for, always wear a white t-shirt underneath.

The advantage of the white t-shirt is that it goes with any type and color of shirt you choose. The most popular combinations we loved are:

  • The checkered shirt and t-shirt.
  • Cargo shirt and t-shirt.
  • Light shirt and t-shirt.
  • Printed shirt and t-shirt.

Whatever combination you go for, ensure that the shirt and t-shirt contrast in color and that the colours complement each other. We found that wearing a striking and neutral-colored t-shirt is always a good way to go.

Remember to stock up on your white t-shirts if you plan on making this look a regular style choice in your life.

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jacky chou


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