Blazers are fabulous, but wearing a suitable top underneath a blazer can be tricky, especially when tops with bell, fluted and lantern sleeves are all the trendy rage. 

Here are 13 types of tops to layer under blazers. Some are ultra feminine, and others read the opposite. You’re generally not after a top that is oversized and chunky unless the blazer is roomy too. In most cases blazers are tailored or a fluid fit, so you’re after a body-con, tailored or fluid fit top. Wear them untucked, semi-tucked or tucked. 

The effect of the layering top can be subtle, simple, complicated or bold. It can take on a variety of silhouettes, create a low or high contrast, look tonal, or fably texture-rich. Choose solids, patterns, knits or wovens. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

1. Sleeveless Tops

Sleeveless tops, like simple shell tops, are popular with my clients because it’s comfortable and visually less bulky on the sleeves of the blazer. Choose a neckline that lies flat under the blazer, or rests comfortably above the collar. 

2. Turtlenecks

High necklines like mock turtlenecks and turtlenecks are a ‘70s Modern Classic under a blazer. The effect is extra polished when the neckline fits tightly and neatly against the neck. Chic. You need a long neck for this combination. 

3. Lightweight Pullovers

Pullovers with lower necklines like crew, scoop, boat, slash and V-necklines are fabulous under blazers, creating a streamlined effect. Sleeves can range from short to long. The larger the bust, the more flattering the effect of a lower neckline. 

4. Shirts

A stiff and crisp button-down shirt is a masculine and Tomboy option under a blazer, but can look sharp and professional nonetheless. Leave the collar of the shirt open and wear it over the collar of the blazer, and pop the collar if you like. I like to button my shirts and blouses all the way up, and pop the collar. Shirts with neckties work beautifully with the tie tied in a bow or knot.  

5. Blouses

A client favourite. Remember that a blouse is NOT a shirt. Blouses are softer and daintier. Blouse styles that you can wear under blazers run the gamut. Basic, pussy bow, empire cut, V-neck and ruffled collar styles with sleek sleeves are a good bet. 

6. T-Shirts

A T-shirt is an easy option to wear under a blazer, and another client favourite. It’s comfortable, easy to launder, dresses up the tee, and dresses down the blazer. Choose your neckline and Bob’s your uncle. 

7. Peplum Tops

Peplum blouses, tees, pullovers, leather tops and knitted tops are an acquired taste under a blazer. They add romantic flounce, and in most cases accentuate the waist. 

8. Pretty Camisoles

Here’s an alluring option with lace, or another type of dainty and sensual fabric. If you keep the jacket on and choose a silhouette with ample cleavage coverage, it’s completely work appropriate.

9. Waistcoats 

Another Tomboy and masculine option is to layer a button-through waistcoat under a blazer for a “Le Smoking” effect. Can be fun for dressier occasions, or simply style with jeans to dress the combination down. 

10. Crop Tops 

There are lots of crop tops at retail at the moment because they work well with the oh-so-trendy higher rises of jeans, shorts and trousers. From cropped tees and blouses to corsets and bustiers — they can all work under a blazer if you’re prepared to showcase some skin.  

11. Wrap Tops

A hardcore modern classic to wear under a blazer, and a particularly effective one for a shorter neck and/or larger bust. Try a body-con bodysuit version, if you dare. 

12. Hoodies 

Our third Tomboy option, and adorable if the fit of the hoodie is dead right. It has to be sleek and the neckline of the hoodie should fit quite closely around the neck. Pull-on or zip-through hoodies can work. Pull the hood over the collar of the blazer, and make sure it lies flat. 

13. Asymmetrical Tunics

Layering an asymmetrical tunic under a blazer creates a more avant-garde vibe that can be striking. If you’re worried about “chopping up the body” with the excess of horizontal lines, keep the tunic and blazer low contrast to each other. Or keep the tunic and bottoms low contrast to each other. And your third option is to create a tonal column of colour. 

You can also wear blazers over dresses and layered tops.

Personally, I layer finer gauge knitwear like crew necks, mock turtlenecks, boat necks and turtlenecks under blazers. I also layer drapey blouses, the occasional button-down shirt, gauzy polo shirt, peplum top and pussy bow shirt. My favourites are simple long-sleeved blouses and turtlenecks in tailored and fluid fits. Some of the blouses I layer are roomier than fluid, but because they drape well, they work under tailored blazers without creating bulk. Because I prefer the fit of my blazers to be on the roomier side of tailored, I can layer a camisole, thermal underwear, and a top with sleeves under them.  

Here are the exact tops from my wardrobe that I layer under blazers across the seasons: 

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Stripe peplum tee
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LOTS of options. The list is not exhaustive, but it gives you a solid starting point. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section about how to layer tops under blazers.