Don Johnson rocked our fashion worlds when he wore t-shirts and blazers on Miami Vice. No buttons? No collar? Is this man insane? Nope. Just fashion forward. And he set a trend that’s lived on into the 21st century. You know that wearing a t-shirt with a blazer can be a hip, casual look. That one’s easy. The harder one is knowing when it’s appropriate to wear the two together.
Wearing a t-shirt with a blazer is definitely not appropriate for a job interview. Even if the job interview is such that you can go business casual, it’s still a no-no. The look has a rogue, devil-may-care air about it that doesn’t necessarily shout out “hire me!”
Work – it can go either way
Whether or not you can wear a blazer with a t-shirt to work depends on the atmosphere of your workplace. If you work with a bunch of buttoned-up corporate execs, then it’s a no. But if you work at a trendy clothing store or a hip consulting firm, then go for it.
Those who own their own businesses get to set their own dress code. Freelance photographers or architects might find that pairing a t-shirt with a blazer makes them look down-to-earth but still well put together when meeting with clients.
Date nights and get-togethers
On a casual date, say catching a movie or going out for drinks, the blazer/t-shirt look will work. It’s a step up from jeans and a t-shirt and shows your date that you’ve got a bit of fashion sense. You can also wear a blazer with a t-shirt when you get together with friends for a night on the town or a dinner party. In fact, the t-shirt and blazer combo will work for just about any casual or informal party.
On the flipside, if you’re taking your date to an upscale restaurant or a play, wearing a t-shirt with your blazer isn’t appropriate. It’s likewise inappropriate for upscale cocktail parties, particularly if your boss will be there.
Women, t-shirts, and blazers
Women, on the other hand, can wear a t-shirt under a blazer just about any day of the week. A fitted, color cotton tee under a camel-colored blazer paired with dressed-up jeans is a can’t miss look. It can even be work-appropriate if you wear matching dress slacks. A t-shirt with a blazer looks sophisticated and is a great way to dress up without going the frilly, girly route.
How to wear a t-shirt with a blazer
It probably goes without saying that you should never pair a pastel tee and a white blazer with rolled up sleeves unless you’re the legendary Mr. Johnson. To pull off this look, you’ve got to pick a casual t-shirt. And no, that doesn’t mean a holey pit-stained Hooter’s shirt. Go for something sharp, designer-inspired and in a darker tone. Also, always go with a round collar; no v-necks.
The Rule of Thumb
When in doubt about wearing a t-shirt with a blazer, just remember this rule: Wearing a t-shirt with a blazer is NEVER, EVER a substitute for a suit.