Dress shirts are fine on their own for the office, but what are you supposed to do when the weather is freezing or your office doesn’t know how to turn down the air conditioning? You can wear blazers or suits, but maybe it just isn’t your style or perhaps you don’t want to look too “over the top.”
For these occasions, consider wearing a sweater over your dress shirt. They are convenient, versatile, and easy to wear on their own. While this might give you college professor or even dad vibes, with the right items this can be a stylish and comfortable look. We want to walk you through how to wear a sweater over a dress shirt so you could look good and feel good.
How to Style and Layer your Sweater
If you ever look at the models in a fashion catalog sporting this look, you might recognize how effortless this style looks. While it may seem like a lot of layers, it isn’t a bulky feel. What is important here are the details, since these are the things that make all the difference.
Depending on the type of sweater you get, there are different ways to style it. Some standard advice that applies to wearing a sweater over a dress shirt include:
- Tuck in your dress shirt if it is significantly longer than the sweater. Though you may see some models showing off the flaps at the bottom, what matters here is the ratio. A peek of the dress shirt is fine, but too much will look sloppy or give the impression that the sweater has shrunk.
- Similarly, get an appropriately sized sweater for your body type. Anything too big or small can look messy.
- Keep in mind what the occasion is. If you want to look more formal, then you can match your look with a tie and blazer. If you have a more business casual or just a casual workplace, you can experiment with different types of sweaters and cardigans.
- Keep the tips of your collar tucked in.
- Buy material that holds their shape. Some examples include cashmere, cotton blends, and merino wool.
- Buy colors that are easy to mix and match. Not only will this allow you to optimize your closet, but you can also make it look like you own dozens of more outfits. Some colors we recommend include beige, gray, white, and different shades of blue.
Types of Sweaters
Crew Neck Sweater
Here is an example of what a crew neck sweater looks like. The reason for the price you may ask. It is because it is made from cashmere. You can find much more affordable options at other stores that are made of great materials like cotton. We know some people have preferences for v-necks, but we think this is a good place to start if you are looking to do something simple. It is difficult to show off your tie if you plan to wear a crew neck, so you usually won’t find models sporting a tie with this sweater.
This is best suited for a workplace that has a more casual vibe and would even look good if you are going out on a date. Another great thing about this sweater is that you can wear them by themselves at home. Again, keeping our previous tips in mind, you want a fitted sweater that compliments your body type, and make sure to tuck in your dress shirt. Lastly, when it comes to the collar, you want to tuck the tips inside the sweater. Again, this creates a clean look and your collar won’t be in the way of your work.
V-neck sweaters allow for more experimentation and give room for a more formal look. We recommend trying out v-necks if you want to show off a tie and match it with a blazer. We want to stress the dos and don’ts with this look as there is more room for errors.
- Use a tie in a formal setting
- Tuck in the flaps of your collar
- Layer up if you feel cold. You can do this with a blazer.
- Tuck in the bottom of your dress shirt
Though some of the tips are the same, people may feel compelled to show off their collar or chest with a v-neck because there is more room. There is more leeway, but you should still follow these guidelines for a stylish look.
- Wear this with a crew neck shirt. The v-neck is meant to show off more of your undergarment, and it's just a waste of space to wear a regular crew neck tee underneath
- Wear it without a shirt. That is just completely informal. If you really want to show off your pecs, we suggest on a weekend when you don’t have work
- Wear with your collar sticking out.
- Wear it with a polo.
So how exactly would you wear this? A nice example could be like this model who is wearing a v-neck sweater with a simple dress shirt and a nice coat on top. Though he is showing off an expensive coat, this is merely for inspiration.
Lastly, we have the cardigan sweaters. There are several different types of cardigans, but we can stick to the basics. Just like the v-neck sweaters, these are also quite versatile but are less formal than the v-neck look with a dress shirt and tie. This looks more like a professor or scholarly choice first than it does a business professional look. The good thing is that it is much more forgiving in what you wear under. Though we still have a high preference for a nice dress shirt and tie, you can incorporate turtlenecks or crew neck long sleeves underneath.
To give you an example of how you can wear a cardigan with a turtleneck, check out this model from H&M wearing one with a shawl collar cardigan. Different types of cardigans include:
- Shawl collar and shawl pullover
- Heavy knit/ cable knit
- Half-zip/ mock neck
Where to Find the Best Dress Shirts
Now that you have a better idea of how to style this, you may be thinking about where to buy nice dress shirts. We wanted to give you some options of the best places to find dress shirts. After all, a comfortable dress shirt is the basis of this style, since it’s the material that is closest to your body.
You typically want to find a breathable material that keeps its shape while adjusting to your movements. 100% cotton or cotton-blend dress shirts will keep you cool and comfortable. Other materials include flannel and chambray, which are more casual but can still be dressed up or down depending on the situation.
Besides cotton dress shirts, you can look into oxford dress shirts for a different texture. We chose one budget-friendly store and one high-quality store. Our first pick is for those who don’t want to put a dent in their wallet.
UNIQLO - Best Budget Pick for Dress Shirts
UNIQLO’s online website has a great selection of dress shirts at a fraction of the price. They also offer oxford dress shirts for those who want to change up their wardrobe. It’s not a bad idea to add different textures to your dress shirts, so we appreciate the versatility and selection of this store.
We focus on the types of sweaters assuming a regular dress shirt would do, but an oxford shirt is another choice if you are in a work environment that needs you to be on the move. You can choose many different options like slim, regular, or stretch fit. Here are just one of many great selections from the store.
- Variety of clothing including dress shirts, pants, and sweaters
- Affordable options and great sales
- Japanese inspired fashion
- Various sizes for short and tall men
- Lack of representation in models
- Not the highest quality of clothing
Nimble Made - Best Quality Dress Shirts
Nimble Made is our go-to when it comes to dress shirts - after all they’re our shirts. The quality, value, and missions are all things to admire when you look into this store. We founded the company with the mission of creating clothing for slimmer men who did not fit the typical standard of clothing for the “average” guy. We all know that the fashion scene shows off very tall men, but that is not how most guys look.
So if you are looking for a slim-fit dress shirt and nice, versatile ties to compliment them, then you need to check out our store. Here is one item from their shop made of 100 percent cotton and a tie to complement it. This is definitely a nice dress shirt to wear underneath a sweater.
- High-quality clothing
- Fashionable ties and accessories
- Slim fit and tailored feel makes it a great choice for slimmer men
Where to Find the Best Sweater
Now that we have gone through some places to find the basic wear, let’s jump into where you can find some awesome sweaters. There are many types of sweaters as we listed before and if you have a preference, you are sure to find that preference from one of these stores. Just how we did it with the dress shirts, we have a store that keeps their prices low and one store for those who want something higher quality. First, let’s start with a budget-friendly pick.
H&M - Best Budget Sweater
Most of our readers have probably heard of this store and for very good reasons. They have a wide selection like UNIQLO and are more driven by the European fashion scene. You can find clothes for all body types and all types of occasions. The color of this shawl collar cardigan is unique, fun, and appropriate for work. We like this store because you can find clothes fitting for business formal attire to casual weekend clothing. If you have a lifestyle that is a mix of the two or you want a nice deal on your next sweater, this is definitely the store to check out.
- Wide selection
- Great for all sizes
- Convenient, has many locations
- Not long-lasting if not given proper care
Banana Republic - Best Quality Sweater
Banana Republic has a great selection of sweaters and makes it easy to navigate their website. If you are looking for a specific type of sweater, you have the option to choose from styles like crew-necks, v-necks, shawl collar cardigan, half zip, etc. They also separate them by materials like cashmere, merino wool, and cotton.
This is another shawl collar cardigan made of 100 percent chunky cotton yarn. It’s a great selection matched with a dress shirt from Nimble Made or any other store’s dress shirts you like. Besides the great filtering system of their website, we love the diversity in their model.
- High-quality clothing
- Easy to navigate website
- Diverse models
- Associated with other stores that are more affordable
- Not budget-friendly
- Their ties are pricey, can find them elsewhere
We hope you found some new ways to style your dress shirts and found some great brands along the way. Men’s fashion isn’t just pants and a shirt, there are so many opportunities to style and fluff it up. Whether it’s for work or a nice day out, a sweater above a dress shirt adds a new dimension to your wardrobe and is great for keeping warm. Happy styling.