Tee & Sympathy: The White Crew Under A Buttondown


While working around the house on a weekend afternoon, you may find yourself in a white t-shirt with an old beater oxford over it, perhaps untucked. But you likely wouldn’t throw on a sportcoat — or orphaned suit jacket — over the tee-and-oxford combo and actually go somewhere. Or would you? 

When the above photo first ran here as well as on Ivy’s Facebook page, the comments for and against came fast and furious. English Ivy guys tend to dig the look, while Americans find it rather Richie Cunningham and definitely not prep. Preps wear turtlenecks and polos under oxfords, but not t-shirts. 


So is it cool or lame? Chime in below. 

128 Comments on "Tee & Sympathy: The White Crew Under A Buttondown"

  1. Matthew Watson | June 27, 2013 at 2:49 pm |

    It’s a classic, traditional look that just doesn’t work well aesthetically. It’s practical if you want your oxfords to last longer (less sweat and washing), but I’d avoid it.

  2. Why not a v-neck? It’s the best of both worlds.

  3. BrooklynPrep | June 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

    When its hot, you really need the t-shirt so you are not sweating all over your oxford

  4. Christian | June 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm |

    When it’s hot, you shouldn’t be wearing oxford cloth.

  5. Go v-neck or go home

  6. I tend not to wear any under shirt, however I also do not tend to sweat even in very warm weather.

  7. Back to the Clark Gable scenario for 1934 movie, “It Happened One Night.” Gable disrobed for a night with Claudette Colbert and America saw a real real man didn’t need to embroider his chest with an undershirt.

  8. Joe College | June 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

    Definitely looks better than a bare neck.

  9. Roy R. Platt | June 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm |

    Someone in the UK imagining that dressing like Richie Cunningham would be dressing in “American Ivy” style might be similar to someone in the USA imagining that dressing like Monty Python’s “Upper Class Twits” would be dressing in “Slone Ranger” style…..


  10. In the 60s that was the look in the midwest, especially in winter. Jockey made a tee called the “Captain’s Crew” with a slightly larger and tighter neck band sold in most trad shops. I haven’t purchased a white “underwear” tee since college, that’s over four decades.

    Vee neck tees? Probably would go better with Christian’s Gucci toggle bits, maybe throw in a gold chain for good measure. 😉

  11. Why would anyone think that showing off their underwear looks good?

  12. Beauty and function are in the eye of the beholder I suppose. Lot of shirts where they have adjusted the button stance makes an undershirt not to pleasing to the eye. . .

  13. Woofboxer | June 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

    Even in what passes for summer in England I get far too hot with a tee under a shirt. But in spring and autumn there are days where the combination is just fine and enables me to wear an open neck shirt under a sports coat when a sweater would be too much. I don’t think it’s anything to do with a subconscious desire to imitate some historic TV character. It’s an OK look and is worn quite widely here although the term ‘ivy’ would mean nothing to 99.99% of the population. Of course nobody has any idea what the contributors on Ivy Style dress like, except for Christian of course, and he has got the look sussed (to a tee).

  14. I wonder if these English Ivy enthusiasts realize how strongly loaded with baggage this look is to the average American today. I have a good laugh every time I see it on their WAYWT thread!

  15. Might as well stamp “DORK” on your forehead.

  16. Christian | June 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

    Woofboxer is the only genuine English Ivy guy I’ve ever actually met. I think he was wearing a white tee under a buttondown and tweed jacket when I took him to a lavish dinner.

    I’ve seen pictures of that JFM guy and read his “what are you wearing today” posts and he always seemed to mention a Hanes tee worn under whatever shirt he had on.

    It must come from John Simons. I mean, doesn’t everything over there?

  17. There’s a reason Lewis in Revenge of the Nerds was styled sporting this look.

  18. Christian | June 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm |

    Compare this photo to the guy in the Concord shirt directly below.

  19. Jack Armstrong | June 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |

    I think Simons sells the “Hanes Beefy T” 3 pack for 150 pounds.

  20. Woofboxer | June 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

    @Christian – we could well visiting NYC again during the Christmas holiday so there may be another opportunity to soak up some more of your bountiful hospitality!.

  21. Jack Armstrong | June 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm |

    You’ve stirred up a hornets nest over there Christian. So far those progressive open minded thinkers have implied that you’re homosexual twice, but it’s early. The usual suspects have pulled out their go to “he’s a fag” insult as usual. Those two appear to have serious sexual identity issues as they use this every time.

  22. NaturalShoulder | June 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

    Not a fan of the look myself. I actually think oxford cloth can be better in the heat than broadcloth or pinpoint because it doesn’t show perspiration as much as the others.

  23. I try not to show off my underwear.

  24. Looks better with a white t-shirt under than without.

  25. I keep both V and Crew Necks around. V when open collar, Round when with a tie.

  26. cpd – Samesies. You have to wear an undershirt for the sake of prolonging the life of your button-downs, but I’ll select between my V and crew-neck undershirts strictly based on if I’m wearing a tie or not.

  27. I have seen this look work with a dark tee (navy, pine green, etc.), not white.

  28. Negatory big bear!! A man who wears a t-Shirt under a dress shirt is the same guy who wears suspenders (braces) with a belt!! Gotta feel secure I suspect. Same guy that wears pajamas to bed.

  29. Much more acceptable in the South IME. Not wearing a t-shirt means pit stains. Wearing a v-neck is tantamount to being a disco dancer or, worse, a hipster.

  30. French Ivy | June 28, 2013 at 12:13 am |

    As long as the crew-neck undershirt has a wide band and doesn’t sag, it looks great under an OCBD. It has been the typical American look in Europe since the 1950s. When I’m wearing a crew neck undershirt with an OCBD shirt, I choose an undershirt that is one size too small so that the neck sits high up on my neck.

  31. J.I. Rodale | June 28, 2013 at 12:23 am |

    @M Arthur

    Once the neck is open, it’s no longer a dress shirt. The white crewneck tee (or undershirt) complements the look. V-necks? Gigolo stuff.

  32. I work in nyc most of us at the office wear them, pit stains, chest hairs are a no no in the office. It’s a cool American look.

  33. Battersea Boy | June 28, 2013 at 5:18 am |

    I think this look came to “Europe” via GIs stationed in Western Europe .England is only a small part of this continent and indeed only one part of the UK. There are another three countries believe it or not? You may have heard of them Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. .
    I am not sure if anyone remembers but on 6th June 1944 young men from both our nations along with our Allies saved democray in this part of the world. There has been a US Military presence ever since.

  34. Philly Trad | June 28, 2013 at 5:50 am |

    I would go even further than J.I. Rodale, and argue that with an open-necked OCBD shirt, a white crewneck tee is not just acceptable, but compulsory.

  35. Jack Armstrong | June 28, 2013 at 7:39 am |

    Never mind the undershirt, what about the rise on those hipster jeans?

  36. Fading Fast | June 28, 2013 at 8:47 am |

    I understand that the look has a long history in the trad / prep world, but it is one that has always confused me. It seems like a problem with a solution – a v-neck t-shirt – but many people don’t use the solution. Recognizing up front that this is all opinion, I just don’t get this look. The white t-shirt looks like underwear unintentionally peaking out of an otherwise nice outfit. In the picture at the top, the t-shirt is jarring and undoes the work of putting together an otherwise nice outfit.

  37. Gornergrat | June 28, 2013 at 8:57 am |

    this looks frumpy.

  38. I’m amazed there is even a semblance of a debate about this. If it’s warm and you’re concerned about sweating, wear a v neck t shirt. V neck t shirts – when worn under another shirt – are not “hipster”…they’ve been around for decades…..for just this purpose. People on here are suggesting colored t shirts an an option? That it may work because some dudes in the UK wear it? Really?!

    Now, if I had hands the size of 747s, like the guy in the pic, I’d wear whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted just so I could bi*ch slap anyone who looked at me sideways….

  39. +1 on the v-neck undershirt. Problem solved.
    V-neck outershirt on the other hand, welcome to 2006.

  40. So, if you wear the zipper on your dress pants unzipped and reveal your boxers, does that make them casual pants? Christian, I think we’re ready for the survey on how many men on Prep tuck their shirts into their boxers versus their pants? Scary thought, but they are out there with compelling rationale

  41. Bruce Dickinson | June 28, 2013 at 11:25 am |

    @M Arthur

    following your rationale they are casual pants if you wear them unzipped with no underwear on.

  42. Is that a suit jacket?

  43. The white tee looks great. Wearing an undershirt is more hygienic, but most importantly it prevents disgusting chest hair from showing beneath the open collar. Then again maybe WASPs don’t have hair in the chest, I certainly do being from a Mediterranean country.

  44. Main Line Philly | June 28, 2013 at 11:47 am |

    I’m amazed that there’s even a debate about this matter. The white tee with an open-neck OCBD shirt is an American classic. The only trick is making sure–as French Ivy stated–that the neck band of the tee is sufficiently wide and that it doesn’t sag.

  45. I’m with the commenters above who point out that v-neck t-shirts are too vile to even be considered as an alternative to the classic look highlighted in the original post.

    The image of the GI with white crewneck shirt under open-necked fatigue shirt screams classic American. Back in the WWII era, soldiers were issued tank tops. But they very much coveted the crewnecked shirts that were issued to sailors and marines. They were trading away cigarettes and other rations to get hold of those navy-style shirts.

  46. V-necks are trashy, period.

    Crew-neck undershirt is an American classic.

  47. It’s the masculine equivalent to a woman showing a little bit of bra strap. Trashy? Yes. Naughty? A little bit.

    Why not? All the girls I know love a little bit of the disreputable in a man.

  48. Now there’s an interesting angle. Show the picture of the guy with the white tee and the guy without in the Concord post below to a group of women and see if they prefer the t-shirted buy because he looks “naughty” and “a bit disreputable.”

  49. Joseph P. Kennedy | June 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

    I like to wear an exposed undershirt when I peddle my bicycle door to door asking for donations.

  50. You actually think women will think a guy looks naughty and a bit disreputable for not wearing an undershirt? LOL.

  51. That outfit looks atrocious for a laundry list of reasons, the least of which is the t-shirt underneath.

  52. J. Johnson | June 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

    There was a time when it was desirable for the edge of your boxer shorts to peek out under your khaki shorts.

  53. I am reminded of middle school boys attending their first dance(sans tie, denim and all). not exactly a look I’d shoot for. I’m going to have to disagree with some folks here, a V neck tee isn’t trashy, its a tool. just as anything else, it has its place. here in the south for instance one must wear an undershirt the majority of the time (cotton wicks sweat away). round collars are for ties, v-necks are for open collar. its underwear, wear it accordingly.

  54. Well, I wore nothing but what this site calls Ivy Style clothing from 1962-1970 and the standard was a white crewneck t-shirt under those OCBD shirts. Back then I never saw anyone wearing those clothes also wearing a v-neck t-shirt ever.
    That being said I now wear only v-neck t-shirts because they are better & now they are quite popular.

  55. In the summer in the American South, it’s too hot and humid to wear an OCBD with an undershirt, in my experience. Broadcloth/pinpoint/poplin with an undershirt keeps one dry and comfortable moving in and out of the AC. Any undershirt but a white crewneck appears somehow poignant to me. The summer OCBD is best worn old, untucked, and near the ocean. Pit-stain worry is most uncavalier. While I’m sure some wear undershirts with linen or madras, they’re probably monitored by the criminal justice system.

  56. Arthur Orton | June 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm |

    I thought “Richard” stopped posting pictures of himself on the Internet.

  57. Interesting. I think of this as a very Southern preppy thing to do — but you really can’t pull it off with a jacket. With khakis and jeans (and no jacket) it’s just fine. It’s also a very young look — works if you’re a college student, but you should probably quit around age 30.

  58. I couldn’t press the “You can’t be serious” vote button quick enough.

    Yes, this is the “Classic American Look” for rubes and people who don’t know how to dress — like teenagers who pull their pants down to expose their boxers.

    OCBD shirts should almost always be worn with a tie, or without one if you’re taking the dog for an early morning trot (when no one will see you).

    Ever see those photos of President Kennedy on the beach and on the Honey Fitz in an OCBD?

    No undershirt visible.

    Underwear should be underwear and not a sign of bad taste.

  59. Crew neck undershirt, and open shirt collar, NO WAY.

  60. EuropeanIvyFan | June 28, 2013 at 10:16 pm |

    This is an All American look that got fashionable in the 1960s in Europe because of all the GIs wearing it. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys.. nothing to do with John
    Simons. The poster shown there does come from another country btw. He isn’t from the UK as FNB is an international forum with posters even from the US…

  61. Reggie Mantle | June 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm |

    @GROTON75 and Wriggles

    Poppycock! Showing one’s bare neck (or even worse, one’s chest hair) is unconscionable. If you don’t like the t-shirt look, wear an ascot.

  62. @Reggie Unconscionable for who? Where did you get that rule? Sounds like bourgeois prudery to me.

  63. @Reggie

    How dare you, Sir. Thou art insulting. Only kidding — think whatever you like.

    But those who like their white t-shirts showing should just skip the OCBD entirely,and run around in them. Why just show the top of this “American Classic,” show the whole thing. You know, a three-piece business suit and a white t-shirt. I’m sure Wall Street will love the look.

  64. the lesser of 2 evils?
    which is worse:

    -chest hair, sweaty pits on a hot day, pit stains over time, accelerating the demise of a nice shirt
    -a white crew neck showing

    those of you who refer to it as “showing your underwear” are buffoons. I doubt you go thru great lengths to hide your socks.

  65. I think this is just a personal preference, besides some are cold blooded, some sweat a lot, some just grew up wearing under tees. It’s like the boxers, briefs or both question, there is really no right answer. i would suggest that those that do wear under shirts to take a lead from the military, especially with the whippy neck bands on most tees on the market, to purchase the equivalent of the old Jockey “Captain Crews”, the “moc crew”.


    FYI, using anti-perspirant, a laundry dryer or even wearing a Rolex will destroy one’s shirts faster than not wearing tee shirts.

  66. Continental Trad | June 29, 2013 at 10:10 am |


    I have come to the conclusion that American laundry detergents, washing machines, and dryers have been designed to destroy shirts. I’m quite serious about this. Here in Europe, I have never had a shirt fray at the cuffs or collar, despite frequent laundering. Never. After many years, the collars may become too tight due to shrinkage. That’s all.

  67. The sad thing is that we now see celebrities and others sporting suits with t shirts. I saw the old movie “Rain Man” the other day. A good movie, but the Las Vegas scene with the boys wearing suits with just a collar buttoned and no tie shows no class. Without a tie, those expensive suits looked ho hum.

    I recall when I was in the US Army in 1972, the crew neck showed under not only fatigues, but on class A khakis. I think the military wanted to keep tabs on guys wearing clean underwear. Some guys wore the olive drab t shirts, that looked worse.

  68. @MAC

    wearing a tee shirt protects your OCBD from the anti-perspirant, thats why you wear the tee-shirt, or at least, why I wear one…

    I do not believe that wearing an undershirt is harder on your OCBD than not wearing one, I don’t believe that for an instant…

  69. Robert
    I never said undershirts are hard on dress shirts. I also stated, that a tee under a OCBD was the look in the 60s in an earlier post, I wore them. I stopped out of college, when I started wearing a suit everyday in climate controlled environs. I only occasionally wear tees now if wearing a crewneck sweater without BD and the tee most likely is sporting a Norton or Triumph logo. 😉

    Anti-perspirant is hard on the body and clothing.

  70. William Henry | June 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm |

    I live in the South, and I think the peeking undershirt looks blue-collar. If you have sweaty armpits, try shaving them and wearing antiperspirant.

  71. @Groton75-amen!

  72. Scooter Boy | June 30, 2013 at 12:37 pm |

    The white crewneck helps us spot each other in the clubs.

  73. Scooter Boy | June 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm |

    Never liked that Cunningham boy… never liked the gingers.

    On the other hand, Anthony Perkins is a man I’d love to smoke a fag with.

  74. IMO, there is no rule concerning this t-shirt issue. Why attempt to make a rule where one doesn’t exist?

    I just took a look through Take Ivy (remember that slim volume?) and I see white crew neck t-shirts with OCBDs and I see OCBDs with either a v-neck t-shirt or no t-shirt.

    This topic is a non-starter. (Well, at least it should but, again, too many try to create a rule where none exists.)

  75. Straight Arrow | June 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

    The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Phillips Academy (Andover), Yale, wearing an OCBD shirt with a solid-color (navy, no doubt) ascot:


  76. L.A. Trad | July 1, 2013 at 12:52 am |

    Since I do like the neat, finished apperance of a tee masking the open neck of an OCBD, but don’t want people to think that I’m carelessly showing my underwear, I use a navy or locker room grey tee shirt, rather than a white one.

  77. Good enough or Anthony Perkins, good enough for Christian a while back…:


  78. L.A. Trad
    So, your look is late 70’s, Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”/”Manhattan” look? Ralph L, I believe. 😉


  79. fred astaire | July 1, 2013 at 10:00 am |

    I have zero problem with the T shirt.

    As for those jeans, egads.

  80. Christian | July 1, 2013 at 10:19 am |

    @Euro Fag

    I don’t know what you mean by “good enough,” however, I’ll point out that simply because there’s historical precedent for something doesn’t mean it’s stylish. There’s also precedent for saddle shoes.

  81. Seems a question best answered by personal preference and — perhaps more importantly — biological and meteorological necessity. Pit stains suck but you can usually OxyClean those. Wet armpits, however, can ruin even a perfectly crafted outfit. Makes you look slovenly and unkempt. And sometimes anti-perspirant fails. Really spoils your day when you can’t raise your arms.

    In that case, wear that undershirt. Perhaps it’s not perfectly prep, but it’s the lesser of two evils.

  82. L.A. Trad | July 1, 2013 at 11:12 am |


    Woody Allen, yes, but I wouldn’t have anything to do with RL.

  83. V neck for me. don’t like to see it.

  84. The preference for the exposed white tee today betrays the prole origins of the wearer. English youth cults come from the working class. Enough said.

  85. Melvin,

    Those fellows in the Take Ivy photos are working class British youth? Please expound!

    (If those youths are Brit “proles,” then you’re a hooplehead.)

  86. Christian | July 2, 2013 at 8:28 am |

    So yesterday evening I get out of the shower after the driving range, which I’d biked to in a thunder storm because I just had to make little white balls fly into the air, and throw on a white t-shirt. Then the girlfriend calls and says there are noodles on the stove. It’s still muggy outside but with a bit of a breeze. Even the lightest sweater would be too much, so while dashing out the door I grab a shirt. A blue OCBD.

    As I’m hopping on the bike I realize I’m wearing an oxford over a white t-shirt.

    Of course, I only did up a few of the buttons, had on shorts, the shirt was untucked, and was also wearing my “frat hat” cap to keep the rain out of the eyes.

    In other words, the closest I’d be to a slob.

    Just a meandering anecdote to say the combination is hardly heresy, but I think it’s a far cry between how I threw the two items together and how the guy in the photo did, deliberately planned, and with tucked shirt and sportcoat. A lot of people, as we’ve seen here, find that dorky or gauche.

    I was surprised, though, to see the combo several times in “Take Ivy,” as one commenter mentioned. I was already thinking this is a post WW II/Korean War thing, and now I think the campus connection is clearer. It was a GI Bill look.

    Though some claim the look is timeless and classic, I think it strikes many today as simply old-fashioned (which helps explain why the English retro guys go for it).

  87. This takes Ivy into iGent territory, showing one’s ignorance of the world today and how one is viewed. Some old looks are classic and can be worn well today. Others are not. A good costume to wear to a party at John Simons, perhaps.

  88. Christian,

    This is not an either/or (timeless/trendy) issue. It is simply an non-issue. Chalk it up to preference and move on to better concerns.

  89. Christian | July 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm |

    It’s trivial (which is why it’s fun), but hardly a “non-issue.” There are over 90 comments here, another 50 or so on Facebook, and 1,000 people took the trouble to vote.

    And I just got off the phone with a prominent tailor and menswear veteran who more or less said he never comments on web sites but had to weigh in on this particular topic.

  90. Christian,

    By that definition TMZ is reporting on the most important issues of our day.

  91. Christian | July 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm |

    Dissecting minutiae is pretty much what any niche site does. We could try a poll on what trouser cuff is the most “trad,” 1 3/4 or 1 5/8.

  92. Some differences simply don’t matter.

    The key is discerning a difference which makes a difference.

  93. Pale Male | July 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

    “I have seen this look work with a dark tee (navy, pine green, etc.), not white.”

    I’d add red, cobalt, purple, and mid-grey. It works with an OCBD because the OCBD is a sport shirt deemed acceptable for business wear. The idea that an OCBD must be worn with a tie is quite ridiculous, as it is an informal dressing-down element much like the loafer.

  94. Good clean classic 50’s look much better than chest hair or nipples showing.

  95. The look works with blue jeans, but hardly any other way. It also works better for younger men, and men with a tan.

  96. Of course; no-brainer. Always wear the white crew.

  97. It looks WASPy because it’s practical and dowdy.
    It’s not preppy because it’s practical and dowdy.

  98. J.I. Rodale | August 7, 2013 at 11:53 pm |

    WASPY is always preferable to preppy.

  99. white crew is better than a v neck

  100. I wear an A-shirt and the scooped neck means that it does not show if the top two buttons are undone. Using deodorant instead of antiperspirant alleviates the yellow pit stains. While A-shirts do not provide as much coverage in the armpit area, buying ones that fit properly and do not have deep cut armholes provide some protection. Keeping underarm hair trimmed also helps.

  101. I don’t wear it to work or anything, but I wear a white crew under v-neck sweaters, flannels and OCBDs on casual days. I see nothing wrong with it, especially when things are casual.

    I have a drawer that I keep my white undershirts in. I just reach in and grab one, v-neck or crew, I don’t get give it a worry. On Saturday I’m more concerned with breakfast and fixing the shower than the white crew showing under my shirt

  102. My brother and I grew up wearing crew neck undershirts. Our Mom bought us new ones a couple of times a year so the neck bands were white and not sagging or looking dingy. The ones we wore had a wide polyester neckband. My brother and I put one under every shirt. They were not always the most comfortable thing to have on with the close neck band but they looked neat. In our family and at school it would have been considered odd to not wear an undershirt so every guy had one on. No one ever wore anything but white crew neck T shirts.

  103. When I’m wearing them with a open-necked OCBD, I always put on my crew-neck undershirts backwards (front-to-back) so that they ride higher up on my neck and provide a neater appearance.

  104. In the US military, undershirts are part of the uniform. Part of one Navy uniform is a tan open-collared shirt. Almost all the guys wear a crew neck T-shirt under that shirt, but I knew one guy who couldn’t stand how that looked, and always wore a V-neck T-shirt instead.

    As Will of A Suitable Wardrobe observed, “the base of the neck is not the most attractive part of the male anatomy. It is better covered.” He advocates the ascot (day cravat) for those times when one is not wearing a tie, and I agree with him.

    Are ascots Ivy?

  105. Attractive or not (suppose it depends on how old you are), it is where maharajahs hang jewels, tribesmen hang the teeth of sharks or enemies, and where Beau Brummell wore his immaculate cravat that conferred status and distinction.

    If Will wants to advocate antiquated rules and advise men (including those in Bodega Bay and Petaluma) to wear ascots when not wearing a necktie, he’s free to do so and men my heed the advice or not.

    But when he then turns around and suggests that a silk scarf or cravat is useful in keeping a chill off your neck when the mercury dips below 61.3, then I cry foul.

    Just say it’s a formality thing or say it’s a style gesture, but don’t try to cloak peacockery in the guise of practicality.

    We wear scarves here in New York because they really do help, especially when there’s a face-ripping wind and you need it to cover your mouth and nose.

    No one in California wears a silk scarf or ascot to keep warm.

  106. Except for me. I am in the People’s Republic of California, and I wear silk scarves and silk ascots to keep warm. Then again, it never gets particularly cold around here, and when I travel to places that do get cold, I might wear an ascot indoors, or under a sweater when outdoors, but for warmth, you’re absolutely right: it takes wool (or cashmere, as the case might be).

    Brummell concealed his neck (as did some maharajas), which is Will’s point: the base of the neck looks better when it can’t be seen. Interesting that it’s a near-universal focal point.

    Having said that, Will is a bit of a peacock, and was trying to sell ascots in that post I linked. While I’m sure that his wares are very nice, they’re awfully expensive.

  107. Will’s not a dandy—he’s a fop! 😉

    I, on the other hand, am merely dapper. It’s the most frequent compliment I get. That probably makes me a dandy in some books.

  108. Having said that, I admire Will for building a successful business out of his vanity blog, and am sad to see the blog get incorporated into the business. I never did understand the animosity generated by the name; I suspect there may be a bit of reverse classism (i.e., Marxism) involved.

  109. The white T under the OCBD discussion is interesting, but who would wear a sport coat over anything to the laundromat in the summer?

  110. Cuff Shooter | October 11, 2019 at 7:29 am |

    One more vote for white crewneck T. Dad always wore the big U-neck that dips down out of sight when your collar is unbuttoned, and I’ve got a few of those as well, but military experience has made the white crewneck my go-to.

  111. Women hate the undershirt look especially when the outer shirt comes off. The ascot is a nice option.

  112. Hate this look

  113. Ivy men have their thumbs showing, their fingers in their pockets. Downscale hides their thumbs. Thumbs hidden is like a NASCAR emblem on a Jaguar car.

  114. whiskeydent | July 13, 2021 at 3:11 pm |

    Put me down as opposed to the visible crewneck with an OCBD. It’s great when it’s part of a military uniform, but otherwise it’s just showing your underwear. Wear a v-neck that’s hidden if you have to wear a tee shirt.

    Also put me down as opposed to tee shirts to fight sweat-through. I’ve worn a coat and tie in 100+ temps a lot and know that the last thing you want is another layer of clothing. Tee or no tee, you’re going to get sweat on your shirt and you’re not going to get a second wearing out of it. Washing shirts in cold water and air-drying them will drastically cut down on wear and tear.

    The best way to stay comfortable in the heat is 1) wear breathable fabrics like linen and seersucker and avoid OCBD’s, tightly woven broadcloths, and heavy wool, 2) wear lighter colors if possible, 3) reducing the jacket lining to the shoulders will drastically improve air flow, 4) consider a Panama hat, and 5) wear your jacket only when you actually need it and carry it on your arm otherwise.

  115. More disgusting than the white tee are the blue jeans.

  116. Too Much Johnson | July 13, 2021 at 3:55 pm |

    That look up there is unspeakable.

    Wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a visible white crew under any shirt that I’d wear with a jacket – going tee-less or with a tie, turtleneck, ascot, or even a popped collar mesh polo are the only acceptable options as far as I am concerned.

    Now with a beat-to-hell OCDB worn with equally beat-to-hell khakis and rancid deck shoes or holey loafers – why not?

    I must confess, however, to missing the heavy pocket tees of the ’90s – particularly those in heather gray. Perfect for layering under polos and OCBDs and a decent place to stash ID, cc, and cash when slumming it wherever pickpockets might lurk.

    Now if one is young and in a retro-prep sort of mood, I just might condone layering a gray tee over a white one under an OCDB and a tweed jacket. When paired with five-pocket, pin-whale cords and camp mocs this was once considered a faily decent look.

  117. Make no mistake, cool is in the wearer. A white T under an oxford under a jacket won’t kill your personal cool, it will merely inspire those who are uncertain.

    Pretty cool, huh?

  118. I almost always wear a t-shirt under an untucked sport-shirt (and I consider an OCBD to be a sport-shirt). I tend, however, to favor light gray over stark white t-shirts.

  119. Alfred Morgan | July 13, 2021 at 11:01 pm |

    As long as the neck of the white t-shirt doesn’t sag, it’s a classic American look and quite acceptable.

  120. Phil Siffington | July 13, 2021 at 11:04 pm |

    Beats me why anyone would choose to wear bluejeans when khakis/chinos are readily available.

  121. Lots and lots of opinions here. When I was a teenager I read somewhere that Clark Gable singlehandedly killed the undershirt industry. Naturally I decided then and there that I would never again wear a visible t-shirt under any kind of button-up shirt, (excepting flannels or chambrays when it was cold and there were outdoorsy things happening). It’s been 25 years and I’ve held to that.

  122. Is this like wearing braces with a belt? Feel more secure?

  123. Michael Powell | July 14, 2021 at 3:15 am |

    I’ll wear a navy tee shirt (or green or red or yellow) with a blue OCBD. Top two buttons undone. Untucked. Sleeves rolled up to mid-forearm. With chinos or jeans. White tee shirts are underwear. I’m not going out in public showing the world my underwear.

  124. Michael Brady | July 14, 2021 at 7:44 am |

    The t-shirt is no worse than any of the other components of that outfit.

  125. Unrelated-Cornell course teaches that black holes in space are linked to “racial blackness”.

    We are living in a clown world.


  126. Preps don’t wear t-shirts under oxfords? That was quite common in prep school, which is, by definition, preppy. I think that doing that quickly died out in college, and almost nobody did it after graduation. Because of that single data point, I associate the look with being a teenager. But a single data point certainly can’t be generalized in any meaningful way.

  127. Poison Ivy Leaguer | July 14, 2021 at 1:21 pm |

    If you want a t-shirt to show under an open collar OCBD wear a ringer t-shirt. If not, wear a v neck or a “wife beater.”

  128. RaleighPrep | August 17, 2022 at 8:22 am |

    I’m really late to the party here, but…Isn’t this an objective matter of personal preference?

    Count me as a 53 year old fan of the T-shirt under OCBD look, at least half the time. I wear a white, light gray, and occasionally navy, crewneck under an OCBD all the time in colder months. I don’t consider white T-shirts to be underwear, not appropriate for “peeking out” of the shirt; I consider it another layer or the outfit itself. A lot of Preps/Trads in my corner of the country would totally agree. And we make it look fab. Matter of fact, I’d argue that it’s MORE Trad or Prep to wear a T-shirt under an Oxford. Multiple layers are Prep. T-shirts included. The look is also very post-WW II, thus very Trad.

    That said, If I’m sporting a blazer with OCBD, more than likely I’d also be wearing a V-Neck Merino wool sweater, and will forgo the T-shirt layer. Conversely, if wearing a blazer and Merino V, I might forgo the OCBD entirely, wearing a white or gray T-shirt under the sweater.

    Oxford cloth button downs are generally too hot for Summer in the South anyway, with or without a T-shirt. And no way would I wear a T-shirt under a Polo shirt, or a linen or madras button down. (That wound be pretty dorky.)

    But in Fall or Winter? Hell yeah to the T-shirt under OCBD or sweater! The key is getting T’s with a thick crew neck that don’t stretch out after a few washings, and they’re relatively hard to find. Once the neck stretches out, they get turned into dust rags.

    The original post implied, maybe satirically, that Preps only wear polos or turtlenecks under a polo. Occasionally still true, but both of those are a little TOO 1980s. Ditto anything with a popped collar—other than a leather bomber jacket. Especially a popped polo collar … (**shudder**)

    *** Sounds like this crowd is evenly split between yeah and nay for T’s under OCBDs…but does anyone in the “yea” crowd have recommendations for inexpensive T’s that fit the bill?

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