Everyone has a few of them hanging in their closet or tucked in a drawer somewhere. It’s the perfect go-to slouchy weekend staple for lounging around or going to the gym. That’s right. We’re talking about the basic white tee. But a t-shirt doesn’t have to be reserved for those lazy days of summer—if styled the right way. From standard v-necks and crew necks to scoop necks and vintage tees, the combinations are endless.
If you’ve stockpiled tees over the years but don’t know what to do with them, we’re here to help you break out of your style rut. Nix the common mash up of plain t-shirts and jeans in favor of a more polished look for any occasion or event, whether dressing up for work or a girl’s night out. Yes ladies, you can get more mileage out of your t-shirts by implementing these styling tricks. Here are the best ways to dress up a plain white t-shirt:
Add Bold Accessories
A little sparkle goes a long way. And when it comes to wearing a plain tee, you can be as daring as you want. Pile on accessories such as a a statement necklace, bold baubles or a bunch of brooches to jazz up your tee. Modcloth’s “You Bijou” and “Leave to Chance” necklaces instantly make casual t-shirts look dressier. You can also pair your plain tee with a chic, patterned scarf around the neckline. While it may seem counterintuitive to wear jewelry with a tee, elaborate accessories offer a totally unexpected look.
Dress Up Your Bottom Half
Put away those jeans (at least until fall), and go for something dressier on the bottom to make your tee stand out. Instead of the usual pencil skirt with a button-down for work, why not pair a pencil skirt with a t-shirt? A simple black high-waist skirt or a hip-hugging bodycon skirt from Forever21 also look great with a plain cropped tee.
Want more drama? Opt for a maxi skirt or tulle midi skirt. Urban Outfitters “Staring At Stars” maxi skirts collection may look bold at first glance, but you can pull them off with ease by knotting your tee at the waistline of the maxi for a refreshing approach to spring and summer fashion. My personal favorite is a t-shirt tucked into a skirt or dressy shorts because it’s comfortable and stylish. ASOS “New Look” floral circle skirt, the Loft’s Ikat print pleated skirt or J. Crew’s scallop-pocket shorts in chambray paired with a tee embrace the trend perfectly.
Play With Prints
Prints and patterns are already huge for spring and summer, so when you throw a printed blazer or chambray button-up over your plain tee, it definitely ups the style ante. For an easy, no-nonsense way to dress up a tee, pair a t-shirt with printed pants like these Bar III trousers at Macy’s. With a white tee you can be brassy, as long as you pick a print that works for your body type. But when picking printed pants to wear with a solid-colored tee, select trousers with complementary (not matching) colors.
Layer, Layer, Layer
Spruce up a t-shirt by wearing it under a few key pieces. A vest such as this cropped denim one from American Apparel is edgy and cool when worn with a plain or vintage t-shirt underneath. I also love the idea of wearing a t-shirt under a strapless dress or over a button-down shirt. But perhaps the most sophisticated way to layer a t-shirt is with a sharp, tailored blazer. A floral blazer is super trendy, while a structured jacket and sleeveless printed duster serve as great alternatives to a hoodie.
With a white tee, the devil’s in the details. If you’re the creative type, work with the t-shirt itself. An oversized white tee makes a great shift or tunic-style dress. You can even turn an old t-shirt into a crop top with just a few snips. Cutting the neckline of a tee will result in a draped and sexy style that falls slightly off the shoulder. For an ultra glam look, ornamentation on an embellished collar like this faux pearl and lace collar necklace or glued-on adornments will reinvent a plain tee.
A classic tee is versatile and provides the perfect blank canvas to inject interesting style elements. And most importantly, you can rock a t-shirt from day to night. Give your favorite tee a new lease on life, as an optional and effortless way to get all dressed up.
How do you dress up your t-shirts?