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W ith the relaxation of dress codes becoming more prevalent, the desire to dress a suit without a tie is becoming increasingly more common. In this detailed guide, we cover how to wear a suit without a tie – allowing you to stand out by, as always, paying attention to the details that matter most.

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The occasion you are dressing up for is paramount importance. After all, it could require a suit and tie, in which case, well, your damn out of luck! In the event that you are allowed to dress business casual or wear items other than a full fledged suit, the type of event you are dressing for and seasonal considerations should be paid attention to.



A formal, navy suit without a tie is best worn with a plain white shirt. Opt for a premium shirting fabrics such as a 100’s 2-ply that will provide your look with ore elegance. Occasionally, when you come across a shirt at a major retailer, you will see a label along the lines of “100’s Two Ply Cotton”. So what does this mean?

Yarn Number – Describes the thickness of the yarn. Lower yarn numbers indicate a thicker yarn, whereas higher yar numbers are indicative of slimmer, finer yarns. Because these thinner yarns can only be created from the smoothest, longest cotton fibers, shirts made from these yarns are generally more expensive.

Ply – refers to the number of yarns used in the weaving process. Two Ply indicates the twisting of two yarns together to form a single yarn before weaving. Fabrics made from two ply yarn are of a higher quality than those composed of single yarn. Because fabric is woven using yarns in two directions (‘weft’ for horizontal and ‘warp’ for vertical), the following designations are often used:

  • 2 x 2: Two ply for both warp and weft
  • 2 x 1: Two ply for one direction and single ply for the other
  • 1 x 1: single ply in both directions


While a casual suit without a tie sounds easy, paying attention to fabric composition can help create a balanced look. Balance your lighter linen or cotton suit with a poplin shirt, so as ensure that your shirting fabrics don’t clash. Lighter colored shirts will work best with your less structured, slimmer, notch suit jacket lapels. Or if you’re really looking to go casual without the tie, opt for a polo.


Looking to make a statement sans tie? How about dressing up all the way, without the actual tie. You guessed it. Full suit, with a buttoned up shirt. This look is ideal for making a statement in a more casual capacity – whether it be a relaxed wedding venue or dressing up for an evening out! This particular look is best pulled off with slim tailoring and a slightly cropped leg. It therefore suit a slimmer body profile.

Looking to really make a statement by contrasting the formalness of the suit with something more casual? Swap out the leather oxford or derby shoes for something more relaxed and casual- loafers or even sneakers.


Without the center piece of the suit, the tie, all attention turns to the shirt, and as a corollary, the collar (try saying that last past real fast, over and over!). Without a necktie, the collar is what frames your face. A flimsy collar will detract from your overall look and make you appear sloppy. So how do we counter this prevalent issue that plagues many a gentleman?

A key way to give your collar some heft is to use a collar stay. Collar Stays, commonly referred to as ‘collar tabs’ or ‘collar stiffeners’ are flat, rigid pieces of metal or plastic that are inserted into pockets on the underside of your dress shirt collars. The purpose of a collar stay is to give the collar sufficient weight and crispness, so as to keep the dress shirt collar in place. Collar stays give your shirt collars the right amount of weight, so that it lays flat against your collar bone.


A well coordinated, higher quality tie can momentarily distract from poor fit. Or maybe even slightly longer. Take away the tie, and well, you’re exposed buddy. A poorly fitted suit will have dapper gents of yesteryear rolling in their graves. Make sure that your suit and dress shirt fit. Avoid the pant break.


This holds especially true if you are opting for suit sans tie in a setting outside of work, where you can feel free to experiment. Going on a date night, an evening out or a cocktail party? How about introducing some fancier patterned dress shirts. The more professional your suit and shirt look sans tie, the more a missing tie looks inappropriate (outside of stricter environments, such as the workplace).


Hold on tiger. We’re bucking conventional wisdom? Yes, every now and then, circumstances provided, conventional wisdom can be eschewed for something more daring. A darker shirt with a tie just won’t provide the same visual interest as a lighter shirt pattern, as its all about contrast. While contrast levels between jacket and shirt are important, throwing in a darker dress shirt every now and then won’t hurt too much, especially if you can contrast it with a lighter colored pocket square (more on that below).

A black shirt beneath a grey suit, or a grey shirt beneath a blue suit both tend to look completely smooth without a tie.


Strutting a patterned suit with a tie is tricky business. Despite the plethora of style suggestions out there, most gents prefer to opt with one pattern and two solids, or two solids and a pattern. Three patterned items (shirt, jacket and tie), in most instances, are about as automatic a no as an NFL team trading for Tebow for a starting QB.

Forego the tie however, and louder suit patterns suddenly become an option. Larger pinstripes, windowpane suits and sharp solids can all add a seamless stylishness to a shirt without a tie.


The drop, known as the difference between your clothing’s chest and waist measurements, are what creates a perceived V shape. Without a tie, feel free to accentuate the drop by unbuttoning the top two jacket buttons (if it’s a three button jacket) so that only the last jacket button is fastened. This will create the perception of a larger chest dropping down to a smaller waist, hence accentuating your ‘V-shape’, all while making your outfit look more relaxed. It’s a win win!

The more buttons that your jacket has, the tighter its going to squeeze your shirt, while the jacket lapels coming closer together. This results in a more formal look. Unbuttoning of jacket buttons will make the opening of the shirt wider, and hence create a more casual look.



Undershirts are important because they can do the following:

  • Provide insulation
  • Protect your overshirt from body oils
  • Help smoothen out your torso for a better fitting shirt.

Conventional wisdom for an undershirt is that it should not be seen. Wearing the wrong type of undershirt can crowd the neck and increase perceived bulkiness. Hence, opt for a v-neck undershirt. The drop of the collar on a v-neck undershirt is perfect for maintaining that polished look.



With the centerpiece of the suit gone, it’s time to pay attention to your other accessories. Kind of like when Baker Mayfield steps out and others are allowed to shine – ok, terrible analogy. The Browns suck regardless.

So what accessories can we use to spruce up our outfits? Pocket Squares allow you to add a dash of color and pattern to your tie-less suit. Silk will provide sheen, and is appropriate for puff folds, while linen provides textural variation and is ideal when using more complex folds that showcase edges and corners of the pocket square.

Looking to make a statement with your attire that can be more subtle, depending on how much leg your looking to strut? Colorful socks can instantly elevate your style game, and bring attention to your attire without having to wear a tie.

Finally, bracelets are an ideal way to add visual interest to your clothing. Whether you are opting for leather bracelets, beaded bracelets or both, this accessory will add detail to your attire, while also being an instant conversation starter.