How to Wear a Sweater and Dress Shirt/Tie

When you think of high fashion, typically it is a runway filled with outfits that seem fun but lack that relatability that comes with casual and even formal fashion choices. As a matter of fact, some might be outright weird to look at, and would not really be something that people would want to wear when they go out. Fashion can be weird like that, but men’s fashion is quite a bit more lenient when it comes to choices. It’s kind of strange since men’s fashion has this casual and practical air about it — but it can still seem quite stand-offish and odd all the same.

With men’s fashion, you don’t have to worry too much about what others think of the outfit. Typically, it’s up to you whether or not you want a look to work. It has more to do with being confident than anything — which could also explain why the runway models wearing ridiculous garb still look good in their own right. It has to do with loving what you wear and being confident with your stride.

That said, there are some combos that can seem a little strange at first, but work when you get used to the idea. For example, collared shirts under sweaters (which is the main topic of this article) has a distinct look that not everyone really goes for. However, to understand why collared shirts under sweaters are considered to be one of the more important parts of men’s fashion (really), the first thing to do would be to understand how men’s fashion grew to be the way it is.

The Primary Goal of Men’s Fashion

It might come as a surprise, but the upper echelons of fashion — at least when it comes to guys — is still quite relatable more often than not. It is a far cry from the runway not just with how it is presented, but with the overall price. What’s the first thing you think of when you consider the very top of male fashion choices? The suit, right? No, it’s not because I’m a psychic, it’s because the answer just seems obvious to just about every guy out there. The suit is the one thing that transforms a guy into something of an enigma — especially one that typically does not get into men’s fashion.

Wearing a suit will make you look many times better than you usually look, especially if the fit is just right. People who use suits regularly often receive preferential treatment because it’s just that iconic. However, you can’t count out those who don’t use suits regularly. When they do don their suit, all eyes are on them because they aren’t always seen in that suit. It’s like the girl in class that often wears casual outfits, only to wow everyone by wearing a classy red dress to prom. The suit is the man’s dress — which sounds weird, but the effect is the same.

Why are we talking about suits?

Honestly, that’s a very good question. When we talk about men’s fashion, as stated above, the suit’s probably the first thing that comes to mind. It embodies men’s fashion in many ways, and the best way to understand the way the fashion industry works would be to understand the way the suit works! Most people know the suit is great, but not everyone fully understands why the suit is great. That understanding will help most see why sweaters with dress shirts are such a fantastic combination, especially since the dress shirt and tie is typically part of the suit. Let’s get started, shall we?

  • Suits are the embodiment of versatility. Being versatile means being able to adapt to various situations, which is not something many outfits are known to do. Typically, there’s the ideal way to use an outfit, and that would be that. When it comes to the suit, you can wear them practically anywhere you want and still get benefits. While some might argue that suits are best used for formal events, there is nothing stopping you from wearing a suit anywhere you deem it necessary, and you’ll still win out.
  • Suits can be modified in a variety of ways. The suit has plenty of variations that don’t even include all of the various colors and designs. The lapel can be modified however you want, whether notched, peaked, wide or narrow. It can be quite easy to modify the way you want it, and you can express yourself quite easily with a suit. The only people who think that a suit is stuffy are those who haven’t yet experienced its full potential.
  • There are many ways you can wear a suit - Of all the different benefits, this is likely the one that takes the cake for the suit. For example, say you want to impress in a formal or public speaking event. The use of a three-piece suit would be recommended, as the added vest can be a great addition. Let’s say you’re finished with the speech and the party’s a bit less formal now. Remove the jacket, roll up the sleeves, and suddenly you have the perfect look for the situation. The suit is quite simply that versatile.

Of the benefits above, it can be easy to note that the suit is classy, versatile, and can be worn in various ways. There are also different color combinations to consider, though the last bit about removing the jacket and leaving just the dress shirt or the shirt and vest combo is particularly interesting.

What happens if you replace the blazer?

While it’s quite obvious to note what happens when you remove the jacket or blazer, the more interesting question would be what if you replaced the blazer with something else? Perhaps maybe, sweaters over collared shirts? I say collared shirts since dress shirts aren’t the only things that work in a suit. You can wear a collared shirt and still somehow pull off the look. After all, losing the tie is something of a fashion statement, though the interesting thing about replacing the blazer with the sweater is that you can keep the tie. 

As a matter of fact, the first image in this article clearly shows someone wearing a dress shirt and tie over a sweater, and over a jacket! Men’s fashion can be pretty amazing at times, since you can mix and match things that might not work such as the collared shirts and sweaters combination yet somehow end up with a fantastic look.

Why bother with the sweater and dress shirt combo?

The question of the day would be why anyone would want to bother going for sweaters with collared shirts when a blazer will already get the job done. It’s an interesting and legitimate question, because a lot of people would probably just prefer to wear a blazer or a jacket and be done with it. To answer the question, personal preference is what wins the day. It doesn’t matter at all if a blazer looks good with a dress shirt, if the individual looking to wear it isn’t impressed. If they want to wear a sweater and its many variants to pull off the dress shirt under sweater look, nothing is stopping you from making it happen.

That said, there are always quite a few reasons why anyone would do something that is outside the realm of “because I want to.” The reason why we have this list is to help those who might not necessarily know the reasons for wearing sweaters and collared shirts. Here’s just a simple list to help give a little push for those who might be at the cusp of giving this a try.

  • The top reason? It’s comfortable. Generally, anything knitted has that special quality of being a bit more comfortable to wear than the usual. It’s the reason why the knitwear is slowly but surely making waves again because most people want to be comfortable wherever they are. For example, you might not be so eager to wear something formal like a suit at home, but even the most casual outfits will have a sweater thrown in just because it might be cold and the sweater is comfortable. Going for a sweater with dress shirt? Why not, right?
  • Who cares about wrinkles? Well, to be fair, a lot of people care about wrinkles. However, when it comes to sweaters, wrinkles aren’t really that big a deal. In fact, here’s a life hack for you — if the dress shirt is looking a little too wrinkled to wear on its own, wear a sweater over it. The dress shirt and sweater is always pleasing to the eyes, and it will also hide the wrinkly clothing.
  • Knitwear is becoming more and more low maintenance. One of the reasons why people have a tendency to avoid wearing knit sweaters and various other knitwear pieces is the fact that it can be more challenging to clean than the usual lineup. These days, there are plenty of machine washable sweaters out there that make it much easier for people to pull off the look without having to worry about maintenance.
  • It’s easy to pack. Another primary reason why knitwear is one of the ideal things to have is the fact that it’s easy to pack in any bag. Considering that wrinkles are a non-issue, it’s incredibly easy to pack various knitted pieces compared to maybe packing a suit for a trip.

You’ll find that many of the reasons above are not just for the sweater over collared shirt, but for sweaters and knitwear in general. In a lot of ways, enjoying sweaters and other knitted pieces is not just for those who are interested in the sweater over button up. Sometimes, it’s nice just to have the sweater, and the idea that you can pair it with a dress shirt and a tie is just another amazing fact to add to the list of amazing facts about men’s fashion.

You mentioned something about ties...

Yup, the sweater with tie combination exists, and the effect can be extremely pleasing. After all, you can’t just go with a dress shirt with sweater and expect the tie to not be a part of the fun, right? That said, there are a few do’s and don’ts (though the do’s take precedence) when it comes to wearing ties alongside the sweater over dress shirt.

In a lot of ways, the type of tie you wear can help the rest of the look pop, and you can look into various excellent examples of two-piece or three-piece suits with ties to figure out the best colors. For example, wearing mostly dark and neutral colors means that there is an opportunity to create a contrast with a tie. For example, you can wear a neutral color for the sweater such as dark brown, then perhaps a navy blue dress shirt. In such cases, it might come as a surprise just how much a golden tie will help that look pop.  It also helps that thanks to the iconic Mr. Rogers, the combination of a dress shirt and tie bring about feelings of general comfort.

There isn’t anything to worry about when it comes to trying to pair ties with a sweater. You can go for just about any type of sweater (excluding those that cover the tie entirely such as the turtleneck), and make it look comfortable.

A Look That Stands the Test of Time

Similar to how the suit brought about a kind of renaissance for men’s fashion, the combination of the sweater and dress shirt/tie offers a classic look that is both practical and comforting. To put things a little simpler, the classic suit can be used to exude confidence, while replacing the jacket with the sweater can elicit feelings of comfort. At the end of the day, they all work to provide a unique and personalized look that is entirely yours.

You could even layer it up and wear the jacket over the sweater, provided the knitwear is thin enough that it doesn’t become too tight or stuffy. It undoubtedly stands the test of time, and anyone who wants to mix the professional and classy look of suits with the added comfort of a sweater has plenty to enjoy overall.

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