Shetland & a Long Sleeve T-Shirt

The world keeps getting more casual while us trad’s try to remain the same. I’ve always struggled with casual outfits. When I say casual I don’t mean business casual. I am talking about Saturday type casual. I’ve had some success with switching out my chinos for green fatigue styled pants, wearing flannel shirts, and by leaving my shirts untucked. Lately I decided to branch out even further.

The trad’s instinct is to always wear an OCBD under a sweater. This is a great instinct because the shirt keeps wool off your skin and the OCBD collar gently protruding from under the sweater just looks fantastic. The problem is that this is my go to office look so it doesn’t look all that casual when I do it. Even if I swap my penny loafers for blucher mocs it doesn’t quite get there. Sneakers help, but this has been my casual Friday look. My current solution has been wearing a long sleeve t-shirt under my sweaters.

As I was writing this post I realized that this is a look that I have done done in the past. However back then I typically used a turtleneck. This is a nice way to dress this look up a touch and it still looks more casual than wearing an OCBD underneath. I am currently a big fan of the long sleeve-t though. It’s even more casual looking especially when paired with jeans, fatigues, or even our beloved chinos.

I can’t leave without mentioning how this look really helps with one specific type of sweater. The tennis sweaters or cricket sweater (depending on which side of the pond you live on) can have some 80’s movie spoiled/evil rich kid baggage. The t-shirt underneath seems to help kill a lot of that vibe. I hope this helps any of you that are struggling with those weekend casual looks. Before you ask, I just wear Hanes or Fruit of Loom long sleeve t’s!

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

13 Comments on "Shetland & a Long Sleeve T-Shirt"

  1. Charles Dana says:

    You look fine (as always), but there’s a practical problem one runs into when wearing a collarless shirt underneath a sweater, especially a relatively expensive sweater like a Shetland. And that problem is neck grime at the back of the sweater’s neck opening. Ring-around-the-collar is no big deal on a shirt collar, because people generally wash their shirts after each wearing. And there are a multitude of pre-treatment sprays to help clean away such grime. Wear once, pre-treat, then wash….wear once, pre-treat, then wash. No big deal. But do you get your sweaters dry cleaned after every wearing? I doubt it. Which means the next time you put on your sweater, you’re putting on the neck gunk that’s accumulated from the times that you wore it with a collarless shirt. (This is why wearing just a T-shirt under a sport coat or suit jacket has never made sense to me.)

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Interesting point. I haven’t really thought about that. I have had people ask if the sweater bothers my neck to which I have replied that it doesn’t touch my neck that often because of the undershirt. I do think that with a lot of wears it could get a little dirty. However, I typically wear my older and well worn shetlands like this, but I didn’t point that out in my post. I am going to be paying a lot of attention to how often the sweater comes in contact with skin going forward.

  2. Alex says:

    I’ve also been concerned about grime on the sweater, so I wear mock-neck shirts from Lands End or LL Bean underneath my sweaters (when I don’t wear a buttoned shirt underneath). I currently have one in navy and one in charcoal but I have considered getting less staid colors too. Another thing I have done to look casual is keep the OCBD underneath but swap out the outer-layer sweater for a rugby shirt with all of the throat buttons undone. I saw a middle-aged man in Princeton do this once and he looked good so I copied it.

  3. Tie Clip says:

    Nice post Ox! I sometimes do this look with a Uniqlo merino crew neck since it’s a bit softer then Shetland if it touches the skin.
    Charles Dana is right, this look will discolor your light and even some mid toned sweaters if you do it too often. With dark toned ones it’s fine however, especially if they have a bit of grey in them, or they’re an earth tone which can disguise the discoloration better.
    I also do the turtleneck base layer style move. Very under rated.

    P.S. I also sometimes wear light grey shirts on the weekends. I think you’d really like them. They’re softer in tone then a white shirts, less corporate or imperial looking then a light blue shirt, and smarter then a mid blue shirt. They’re somewhat rare, but very under utilized by most men. They slot into a Trad wardrobe really easily, and are easy to wear since they’re just a shirt that purely uses tone without the need to really consider colour. One thing they do is pick up other grey tones in an outfit. e.g. beige or stone chinos will have their grey tones emphasized. Light grey shirts also pick up the fleck in a melange charcoal or mid grey sweater/coat, which gives off a subtle urbane look. I would suggest trying one as a upgrade from your mid grey T-shirts. You’ll never look back!

    • Tie Clip says:

      Hi Ox, forgot to ask but what are your thoughts on my suggestion? Would you consider trying out a light grey shirt at some point?

      • oxford cloth button down says:

        Tie Clip, You laid out a good argument, but I think as close as I might come to is the grey/blue Brooks Brothers OCBD. I did consider a grey flannel shirt once, but opted for navy. I love my grey-t’s btw!

  4. Magnus says:

    Where is the beige Shetland from? Great colour

  5. AndrewK247 says:

    What about a long-sleeved polo shirt? More casual than OCBD but covers the neck in back. I also like to have something sticking out of the neck of a sweater, so the long-sleeve polo covers that base also.

    As far as long-sleeve tee shirts I have had a great experience with Lands End “Super-T’s”.

  6. John Smith says:

    “… Switching out my chinos for green fatigue styled pants …” I’m very much interested in this, but I have trouble as a fellow shorter fellow with a proportionate waist (27/28) to find green fatigues (that fit). Wondering if I could get an ID on the pair in this Insta post of yours:

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      John, as a 29 waist I feel your pain! These are J.Crew Wallace & Barnes. I checked, but there is no model listed.

  7. jamison brosseau says:

    i wear shetlands with just a short sleeve t shirt all the time. over the years I have gotten used to the feel of the wool against my skin. I only have medium and darker toned shetlands, but I have never noticed an issue with discoloration and I only clean my sweaters 1 time per year max. Personally I have never developed discoloration on the neck of my t shirts, it is only something that happens to my shirts with collars.

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