How To Wear A Sweater Over Dress Shirt

How To Wear A Sweater Over Dress Shirt

Written by Tanya Zhang

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 the best 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 crew neck 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. 

In this guide, we'll go over all your questions in regards to how and when to wear collared shirt under sweater.

When to Wear Collared Shirts Under Sweater

Wearing collared shirt under sweater can be a stylish and versatile option for various occasions. Here are some situations when wearing a sweater over a dress shirt is appropriate:

  1. Casual or Smart Casual Events: Layering a sweater over a dress shirt is perfect for casual or smart casual occasions. It adds an extra layer of style and warmth while maintaining a polished appearance. This combination works well for outings with friends, dinner parties, or casual gatherings.

  2. Business Casual Settings: Many workplaces have a business casual dress code that allows for more relaxed attire. Wearing a sweater over a dress shirt in these settings can help you achieve a professional yet comfortable look. It's suitable for office environments, meetings, or business events that don't require formal attire.

  3. Cool or Transitional Weather: Collar shirt under sweaters are ideal for cool or transitional weather when you need extra warmth. They provide insulation while allowing you to maintain a refined and put-together outfit.

  4. Semi-Formal Events: Depending on the level of formality, wearing a collar shirt under sweaters can be appropriate for certain semi-formal events. For example, a more formal sweater style, such as a cardigan or a shawl collar sweater, can be paired with a dress shirt for an elevated look at a semi-formal dress code.

  5. Layering for Style: Layering a sweater over a dress shirt can be a fashion-forward choice to enhance your overall outfit. It adds texture, depth, and visual interest, allowing you to showcase your personal style and create unique combinations.

It's important to consider the specific occasion, dress code, and weather conditions when deciding whether to wear a collar shirt under sweaters. Always aim to strike a balance between style, appropriateness, and comfort for the given situation.

sweater over dress shirt

How to Layer a Sweater over Dress Shirt

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 dress shirt include:

  1. 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. 
  2. Similarly, get an appropriately sized sweater for your body type. Anything too big or small can look messy. 
  3. 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.
  4. Buy material that holds their shape. Some examples include cashmere, cotton blends, and merino wool.
  5. 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, blue or white dress shirt.

Should Sweater or Collar Shirt Be Tucked in?

The decision to tuck in either the sweater and dress shirt depends on personal style, the length and fit of the garments, and the desired look. 

In most cases, crew neck sweaters are typically worn untucked. The length of the sweater usually falls below the waistline, providing a more casual and relaxed appearance. Tucking in a sweater can create bulkiness and disrupt the intended style. However, if you have a shorter or cropped sweater, tucking it in might work better.

Dress shirts are generally meant to be tucked in. Tucking in the shirt creates a clean and polished look, especially for formal or professional settings. It helps maintain a neat appearance and prevents the shirt from becoming untucked throughout the day. However, if you're going for a more casual and relaxed look, you can leave the dress shirt untucked.

For the dress shirt collar, it should typically be tucked inside the sweater for a clean and polished look. Tucking in the dress shirt collar helps maintain a neat appearance and prevents it from sticking out or bunching up but this rule is less strict so go with what feels right.

Ultimately, the decision to tuck in the sweater and dress shirt depends on your personal preference and the overall style you want to achieve. It's always a good idea to experiment and try different combinations to see what works best for you.

Choose the Right Color and Patterns for Collared Shirts Under Sweater 

collared shirt under sweater

When selecting the right color and patterns for collared shirts to wear under a sweater, here are some tips to consider:

  1. Solid Colors: Solid-colored dress shirts are versatile and pair well with a variety of sweater colors and patterns. Classic options like white, light blue, or pale pink are safe choices that work with most sweaters and dress shirt combo.

  2. Complementary Colors: Consider the color wheel to choose complementary colors for a visually pleasing combination. For example, a navy sweater pairs well with a light blue or white shirt, while a burgundy sweater can be complemented by a light gray or cream shirt.

  3. Contrast: Creating contrast between the sweater and the shirt can add visual interest to your outfit. A darker sweater can be paired with a lighter-colored shirt, or vice versa, to create a noticeable contrast for a great dress shirt combo.

  4. Neutral Palettes: Neutral-colored sweaters, such as black, gray, beige, or camel, provide a versatile base for various shirt colors and patterns. They can be paired with classic white, light blue, or pastel-colored shirts for a clean and sophisticated look.

  5. Patterns: If you want to add some pattern to your outfit, consider the scale and contrast between the sweater and shirt patterns. Pairing a subtle patterned sweater with a solid or lightly patterned shirt is a safe choice. For example, a striped blue dress shirt can work well with a solid-colored sweater. 

  6. Keep it Balanced: Consider the overall balance of your dress shirt under sweater outfit. If your sweater is bold or has a complex pattern, opt for a simpler, solid-colored shirt to avoid clashing. Conversely, if your sweater is more neutral or subdued, you can experiment with bolder patterns or colors in your dress shirt.


Personal style and individual preferences play a significant role in choosing colors and patterns for a great dress shirt under sweater look . These guidelines can serve as a starting point, but feel free to experiment and find combinations that reflect your unique taste and personality.

How to Prevent Collar Shirt Under Sweaters From Bunching Up

Preventing a collar shirt from bunching up under a sweater can help you maintain a neat and polished appearance. Here are some tips to avoid collared shirt under sweater bunching:

  1. Proper Fit: Ensure that both the collar shirt and the sweater fit well. A well-fitted collar shirt will have a collar that sits comfortably around your neck without being too tight or too loose. Likewise, the sweater should have an appropriate fit that isn't too tight or too baggy, as excessive fabric can contribute to bunching.

  2. Choose Thinner Fabrics: Opt for collar shirts made from thinner and smoother fabrics, such as poplin or broadcloth for a white dress shirt. These materials are less likely to create excess bulk or bunch up when layered under a sweater. 

  3. Smooth Out the Collar: Before putting on the sweater, make sure the collar of the shirt is properly smoothed out. Use your hands to flatten any wrinkles or folds in the collar area to ensure a clean and even appearance. We also have a guide on how to fold shirts to prevent wrinkles for traveling.

  4. Use Collar Stays: Collar stays are small, removable inserts that can be placed inside the collar of a dress shirt to help maintain its shape and prevent it from bunching up. They provide structure and stability to the collar, keeping it in place under the sweater. Nimble Made has these great metal and engraved collar stays. Make sure your dress shirt has collar stay slots for you to insert them into. If not, all of Nimble Made dress shirts do.

    collar stays for mens dress shirts


  5. Layer with a Sweater Vest or Cardigan Sweater: If you find that collar shirt bunching is a persistent issue, consider layering with a sweater vest or a cardigan sweater instead of a full sweater. These garments often have a more open front, allowing for better visibility and control over the collar shirt. More about your sweater options below.

  6. Adjust Throughout the Day: Check your collar periodically throughout the day and readjust if necessary. Sometimes, the collar may shift or fold slightly due to movement, and a quick readjustment can help maintain a clean appearance.
By paying attention to fit, fabric choices, and making minor adjustments, you can prevent or minimize collar shirt bunching when wearing a sweater!

    mens sweater over dress shirt

    Types of Sweaters to Wear Over a Dress Shirt

    There are various sweater options that you can wear over a dress shirt, depending on your personal style and the desired look. Here are some common sweater options:

    1. V-Neck Sweater: V neck sweaters are a popular choice for layering over dress shirts. A v neck sweater can create a classic and polished look, allowing the collar and tie of the dress shirt to be more visible.

    2. Crew Neck Sweater: Crew neck sweaters are another versatile option that works well with dress shirts. They have a rounded neckline and provide a more casual and relaxed look compared to V-neck sweaters.

    3. Cardigan Swaeter: A cardigan is a button-up sweater that can be worn over a dress shirt for a more sophisticated and preppy style. It can be fully buttoned up or left open, depending on the desired look.

    A turtleneck sweater wouldn't work in this case but there are another sweaters like a vest sweater that could also work.

     

    The Best Collar Shirts Under Sweaters

    mens dress shirt gingham

    Now that you have a better idea of how to style this, you may be thinking about where to buy nice collar shirts. Whether it's a long sleeve or short sleeve dress shirt, we recommend checking out Nimble Made.

    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 a oxford dress shirt 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.

     nimble made dress shirt collection

    Nimble Made is our go-to when it comes to putting together your dress shirt outfit. 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.  

    Pros:

    • High-quality clothing
    • Fashionable ties and accessories 
    • Slim fit and tailored feel makes it a great choice for slimmer men

     

    Frequently asked questions about wearing a sweater over dress shirt

    Is it professional to wear a sweater over a dress shirt?

    Yes, wearing a sweater over a dress shirt can be professional, particularly in business casual or semi-formal settings.

     

    Is a sweater over a dress shirt business casual?

    Yes, wearing a sweater over a dress shirt is a common and appropriate choice for business casual attire. It combines the polished look of a dress shirt with the added comfort and warmth of a sweater, striking a balance between professionalism and a relaxed dress code.

     

    What kind of sweater to wear over a dress shirt?

    The choice of sweater to wear over a dress shirt can vary depending on personal style and the desired look, but options such as V-neck, crew neck, cardigan, and sweater vest are popular choices.

     

    Can you wear a hoodie over a dress shirt?

    While it's generally not recommended to wear a hoodie over a dress shirt in formal or professional settings, it can work in certain casual or relaxed environments where the dress code allows for a more casual and comfortable style.