The Best Tops for Under Suits

OK — I’ve got another “Corporette Shopping Guide” for everyone: the best tops for under suits. Which basic t-shirts are your favorites for under suits? How about button-front blouses? I’ve been working on this one forever and I don’t think I’ll ever feel like it’s totally ready, so I’m really looking forward to seeing reader responses.

As with our other shopping guides, please a) post any relevant comments on the page itself, and if you have any unrelated threadjacks, please post them here (on this post).


  1. Is it threadjacking to note that this post didn’t deliver to my Google RSS; that when I clicked the Corporette link in said Google RSS, my browser hung and the page never loaded? I got here by clicking the RSS link to the colorblock dress, then clicking the Corporette banner from there.

    Just in case anyone else is noticing feed weirdness.

  2. @Mella, It showed up in my Bloglovin feed!

  3. I cannot stand button downs under suits… they bunch up everywhere, don’t stay tucked in and make me overly busty. My new go-to tops for suits are v-neck silk tshirts from Ann Taylor – most have some minimal frills like a chiffon piping on the neckline or a ruffle somewhere to make them be interesting on their own but are unfussy enough to lie perfectly under suits. I also almost never wear crew necks under suits… v-necks extend the vertical line from face to neck to décolletage while crew necks make me look like I am being choked by my suit

    • Those sound like good tops for the reader q in today’s 1st topics.

    • I like bodysuits with collars–nothing to bunch up, but still have a collar to go with the jacket’s collar.

      Another favorite of mine is built-in shelf bras. They don’t work for gusty women, I know, but there must be plenty of us who can wear them well. Trouble is, they’re hard to find (other than the plethora of skimpy offerings at V Secret). Can anyone tell where they’ve found good ones for work recently?

      • I have been flirting with the idea of bodysuits but haven’t tried them out yet. Are they comfy?

        • They’re comfy if they don’t get all bunched up underneath. I like the ones I have from Monteray Bay and some I bought in Germany (they are cozy warm in winter–much better than just tucking your shirt in). I used to have a thing bodysuit–not warm, but nothing to bunch up.

  4. Anonymous :

    The Worthington Scoop Neck Tee from JC Penney. It is washable, very comfortable and doesn’t wrinkle. I have several. It looks nice under a suit and is very affordable.

    • I was going to recommend this one. I will also add that they wash well and dry quickly.

  5. I am really excited about this one! I don’t have any suggestions, but I wanted to request that people link to the exact item or give as many descriptors as possible. Thanks in advance!!!

  6. Threadjack – somewhat similar to an issue addressed on the weekend thread.

    I am a midlevel at a big firm, and I am getting the sense that I am being sidelined on some projects. But I do not know if i am simply imagining things, should let things be, or address my concerns.

    I work in an all male practice group. When I initially joined the group, I was told that female associates do not last long with this partner – that was four years ago. I have managed to remain with him and I know he generally likes me. I am frequently asked to handle the drafting of major briefs, have second chaired two trials with him, etc. I never got a review from him last year because I was second-chairing a trial with him in Decemberlast year (review period). He gave nobody in the group a review last year due to his preoccupation with the trial, and as I result, i formally do not know where I stand with him. We won the trial, and I know he was pleased with my work.

    However, there are a couple of major, big hours, cases our group has at the moment and I am staffed on neither. The others guys in the group are staffed on it. I’ve got other work I am doing, but my hours are not as solid because I am less busy. I could be busier if I was working on the major cases we have right now. The partner is a notoriously bad manager, so I am not sure if he is just not cognizant of the fact that I am not as busy as the others. I do n’t know if i am imagining the fact that I am being sidelined and should address it or if i should just let things be and keep working on the cases i have.

    Additionally, as I have stated previously on this blog, I am in the process of looking for another position and have an interview for my dream inhouse job in a couple of weeks (please cross your fingers for me). So, I may be leaving this firm in another 3 months or so, if all goes well. Is it worth it to ask the partner about my concerns or let things be, especially since I am trying to leave the firm anyway? Wouldn’t it look bad if I have this “can we talk” conversation with the partner and then leave a few months thereafter?

    Also, the hours in my group were on the low side last year. We did not get very busy until the last quarter last year. We’ve had good hours in the group this year, so far. Specificially, I had good hours until April – myApril hours were not great. I am concerned I may have another month of not so great hours.

    FWIW – I have no concerns about a letter of recommendation from this partner if and when i leave (which I hope is soon), i believe he will give me a good recommendation.

    I appreciate any input, thoughts, advice.

    • It sounds like you’re fine. I wouldn’t worry. I work for several partners who had *no idea* my hours were low until I finally came clean one day. They just don’t pay attention to it. They also believe that it’s your responsibility to make sure you have enough work (and they continue to believe this even when they don’t bring in enough work to support multiple associates, go figure). I think the best thing you can do is go to your partner, tell him you’ve been a little slow lately, and ask if he has anything else you can work on (or ask how you can get involved in the big cases). I’d go ahead and do this even though you’re interviewing for your dream job, basically on the “be optimistic but plan for the worst” theory. You don’t want to sit around twiddling your thumbs for a month (or more) and then find out that you didn’t get the job.

  7. Can you bring it up in a positive way? I.e., not “I am not happy with the hours I am getting,” but rather, “it was such a great experience working on X case last year, I would love to work on this new one as well…what if I worked on such and such part of it, etc.” I wouldn’t make it into a big deal, if possible. Not a career talk, if you think he will not be receptive and you feel awkward about that while interviewing at other places. Just straight up ask to be put on the case.

    • I am not a lawyer, but I think this is great advice for any field – a good way to try to get more involved when you feel like you are being passed over/forgotten. I may try to implement it myself!

  8. Disagree! I can’t stand the look of plain cotton t-shirts under suits–even “nice” ones. I think only blouses, button-down, silk, or otherwise, are acceptable. (Perhaps a nice silk sweater when it’s cold). Wearing a t-shirt with a suit, to me, looks like wearing yoga pants with heels (ok, maybe not that absurd, but still). At best, it makes you look very young and like you don’t know how to dress properly; at the worst, it makes you look cheap.

  9. Too Bored to Bill :

    For layering under suits, I am in love with sleeveless tops that drape. It adds some interest that a t-shirt-type top does not yet they are usually thin and comfy. Best of both worlds. If the drape is too loose, I just pop a cami underneath. Some examples are: AND AND

  10. I always feel weird trying to put a collared blouse under a suit jacket. I don’t like the way the collars layer with eachother.

  11. Agree cotton tees don’t look right under suits. Also don’t like v-necks under suits for whatever reason can’t explain. My favorite go-to things lately are, bizarrely sort of, JCPenney synthetic t-shirt like tops in black, blue, and a black/blue print. They match grey/black well, they travel perfectly, they wash fine, they prevent the suit from getting stinky since they have sleeves, they are easy to accent with jewelry or scarves. Generally I love silks and nicer things, but these tops have been the thing I search for for the above practical reasons! I should go get some more…

  12. the jc penney one just says ‘worthington stretch’ in the tag if that helps anyone.. they are simple crew necks with surprisingly nice drape. $12 in the physical store where I live.

  13. ANON2L - now 3L! :

    Right now, I wear collared shirts under my suits. I keep them from bunching by tucking them in with a little fold on either side of my hips. I’ll get the shirt taken in around the waist/hips if it bunches too much.

    But I have a burning question: Do female attorneys wear non-collared shirts under suits to court? Or are we talking about what to wear under a suit when you’re NOT in court? The reason I ask is that the few times that I have been in court, I have been the only woman entering an appearance, but I’ve dressed “like a man” in a dark, conservative suit with a collared shirt; A pink collared shirt, but a collared shirt nonetheless. :)

    Also, because my suits are geared for interviews and court appearances, they are conservative, wool, Brooks Brothers. I don’t really have other suits, and I’m having a hard time transitioning into less formal suit wear. Today, I picked up a J Crew heavy/thick cotton navy suit. The styling is conservative, and the fabric almost looks like a wool stretch. Do attorneys wear these types of suits? Or should I find a tropical wool suit instead? There just seems to be a dearth of affordable suiting (I quite literally stalk BB sales) that doesn’t have ginormous buttons and weird details.

    • Anonymous :

      I practice in all levels of Court in Maine. I rarely wear a collared shirt with my suits because I can never get the collar to sit right and the buttons always gap around the bust. I wear long and short sleeve sweaters and the JC Penney shirts mentioned above; never a cotton t-shirt. If you button up your suit coat, you are only going to see a little of the shirt anyhow.

      • Ann Taylor often has great sales on classic, but stylish suits. I got a great tropical wool skirt suit there recently for about $150. Look for sale days where they often have 40% off the entire store!

  14. I am confused... :

    Why is there this article and the guide itself? I was so excited about this topic but not very many people have posted…perhaps because it is a little confusing? the guide didn’t come up on my reader, FWIW.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Click on the link in the top paragraph that says “the best tops for under suits.”

  15. Weird. There were a lot of posts on this thread this morning that are gone now.

  16. These Ann Taylor Loft scoop necks have been amazing.

  17. These Ann Taylor Loft scoop necks have been amazing.

  18. Banana Republic luxe tees … I have them in very color. They all have silk necklines … some plain and some with a few layers that add a little interest. They’re great!