Five essential tops that will take your whole look to the next level.
In the conversation about selecting and styling suits, there’s an element that often gets overlooked: the underpinning, a.k.a the shirt you wear underneath your blazer. It’s easy to make your underpinning an afterthought (after all, the blazer is the real star of the show), but being intentional about the shirt you select can mean the difference between a so-so outfit and a show-stopping ensemble.
Whether you’re wearing a blazer as part of a complete suit or using one to dress up your shirts and jeans, it’s worth paying attention to what’s underneath it all. Below, discover five of our favorite types of tops to wear under a blazer and see for yourself how the underpinning you choose can transform your entire outfit.
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What to Wear Under a Blazer
For a Cozy Look
A Silk-Jersey Turtleneck
Just because you’re wearing a power suit doesn’t mean you can’t look (and feel) cozy. Instead of your usual underpinning, try a sleek black turtleneck like the Elizabeth. Made from buttery soft silk jersey from Japan, this style offers the look and feel of a sweater, but it’s thin enough to be worn under a blazer. Try it with the wool-twill Yiyan blazer and Smith pants in black for a chic, monochromatic look. Alternatively, go for a fashion-forward jardigan (a piece with the structure of a jacket and the stretch of a cardigan) like the Yuwei, which feels like wearing an oversized sweater but looks incredibly sharp. The stretchy Harlem skirt, heeled knit booties, and earrings complete the look. (Plus, check out 10 more ways to style a turtleneck.)
For a Casual Look
A Luxe Cotton Tank Top
The great thing about M.M.’s pima-cotton tops is that they have the laid-back look you want from your tees, but thanks to high-quality cotton and thoughtfully designed silhouettes, they never appear sloppy. If you want to style your jacket or blazer in a casual outfit, try a ribbed tank top like the Paige. A crew neck and wide straps give this tank a far more elevated look than the cami you throw on under your sweaters, and the subtle ribbed texture gives the whole outfit a more dynamic feel. Try pairing this solid-colored style with the O’Hara blazer and Mejia pants in windowpane plaid for a full suit with an unexpected twist. Alternatively, play with proportions by wearing the Paige with a short skirt, a long blazer, and thigh-high boots.
For a Fashion-Forward Look
An Animal-Print Button-Down
Button-down shirts are the most classic underpinnings for blazers. But sometimes you want to try a fashion-forward spin on the look. To switch things up, choose a button-down in a fun animal print, like the Tatum top in Sahara. Made from 100% machine-washable silk, the long-sleeved Tatum represents a beautiful marriage of form and function: It has all the elegance of a silk shirt but none of the high-maintenance care instructions (not to mention the dry-cleaning bills). To complete your head-turning ensemble, wear the Tatum with jewel-toned suiting separates, like the Yiyan blazer and Smith pants in Shiraz. Alternatively, go for a Power Casual outfit by swapping the trousers for stretchy jeans. From there, just add white sneakers and sparkly earrings, and you’re ready to head out the door.
For a Pop of Color
A Bold Knit Top
Wearing a knit top is an easy way to instantly elevate any outfit. And if it’s gorgeously vibrant like the mock-neck, short-sleeve Montean top? Even better. Complement the undertones of our delicious caramel color with warm-neutral styles like the Janette jacket and Jordan trousers in ash; opt for an eye-catching contrast by selecting a navy suit; or introduce some brightness with cream-colored pieces like the Hockley jeans (more on those here) and Jolie jardigan. If you’re not looking to wear a full matching set, tuck the Montean into the Milo jeans, then finish the outfit with the Janette jacket and hoop earrings. Come warmer weather, you can also go jacket-free to show off the top’s intricately knit chevron pattern and extended short sleeves.
For a Classic Look
A White Button-Down
Last but certainly not least: There’s no underpinning option more classic than a crisp white button-down shirt. We believe everyone should have (at least) one of them in their wardrobe—but not just any white button-down shirt will do the trick. For a staple item you’ll wear over and over throughout your life, it’s worth investing in comfort, quality, and durability. Our top pick is the Lagarde shirt in Eco Soft Wave, which has just about every functional feature you could dream of: It’s machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, and odor-resistant, and it even has an extra hidden button at the bustline to prevent gaping. The best part? Despite all its high-performance elements, it looks like an effortless silk top. When you’re not wearing it with your Yiyan blazer and Horton pants, try it tucked into jeans, unbuttoned and layered over a T-shirt or turtleneck, or with some vegan leather leggings—you really can’t go wrong.