The t-shirt is a wardrobe staple that can be worn time and time again. It is something that never goes out of style and, chances are, you already have several in your possession. However, the t-shirt can get a bad rep. When it comes to grown-up style, many still think of tees as the wardrobe of a college kid, something that remains crumpled on the floor until it is thrown on before you make your way to class. However, with the right styling help, you can take your t-shirt from the dorm room to street style star in no time.
However, it can be slightly taxing to your sartorial savvy self to repeat the same outfit over and over. Luckily, you don’t need an endless selection to create new styles to wear every day. The great thing about fashion is that you can reinvent certain pieces that will give you many different looks for years to come.
These are generally called “basics” or referred to as foundation pieces. No matter what you wish to call them, you can, with just a little creativity and inspiration, create a whole new look that is sure to turn heads. Below we take five of the most popular t-shirts styles—that you likely already own—and show you how to transform them for outfit inspiration to last you all year long.
The Band Tee//
The band tee is the longtime favorite of just about everyone under the sun. They are comfy, express your individual music tastes, and seem to get better with age. No need to worry about frays, rips, and tears, here! So, dust off that concert tee from ’88 or look for some of your favorite bands the next time you are t-shirt shopping.
Once you have your favorite tee, the next part is simple. For a versatile, cool yet chic look, pair your concert tee with black denim jeans and throw a leather jacket on top. You have plenty of room to experiment or to add personal touches of your taste here. Try to do a half-tuck with your shirt. If you’re feeling girly, throw on some heels for a night-out look. On the other hand, sneakers and boots are just as good!
As far as the jacket goes, try the of-the-moment drape over the shoulders or experiment with leather with shearling for a go-to nighttime look. If you want something that easily transitions from day to night, you can’t go wrong with a denim jacket over your tee. Oh, and don’t forget this look almost always calls for a dark pair of sunnies and a cool-girl attitude.
The White Tee//
Photo | Stylegraph
Back in the 1950s, Marlon Brando made the white t-shirt iconic for men during a time where they were hardly seen out of a killer suit. Since then, men, along with women, have incorporated the classic staple into everyday wear. While the white t-shirt can certainly stand alone, and looks great doing so, it also offers limitless styling potential. So, when you’re tired of your classic tee and denim look, try your hand at one of these styling ideas.
While the tee is often thought of as a causal piece, you can—depending on where you work—pull it off in the office. Pair a crisp, white t-shirt under a blazer and dark denim or trousers. Slip on either oxfords, flats, pumps, or boots, and you’re all set! Keep a neutral color palette like white trousers and a camel or light brown blazer for effortless office attire. For a girly approach, try tucking your tee in a leather or suede pencil skirt, and pair a bright, printed, or statement coat on top for a style that goes from office to cocktails with the girls.
Style a white V-neck with military inspired pants and a navy blazer. Depending on the weather or your mood, wear brown sandals or ankle boots. The blazer dresses up the t-shirt, but is well balanced with the military green pants
For nights out, the tee looks great under a leather or bomber jacket. Likewise, you can take the above-mentioned tee and skirt combo up a notch and opt for a mini skirt instead of a midi length pencil skirt. On weekends and days off, pair your white tee with distressed denim or boyfriend jeans. To spruce up the classic jean and tee look, add a layer, such as a breezy cardigan, over a loose-fitted tee. Or, throw on a flannel or chambray shirt over your tee for those transitional seasons like spring and fall.
Photo | ASOS
A great way to add a refresher to your closet is with a ringer tee—the kind of t-shirt with contrasting color bands around the sleeve ends and neck. Not only does it give you major 70s inspiration, but these are endlessly versatile. With color combos that will satisfy anyone’s tastes, pair the retro-style tee with high-waisted flare jeans or high-waisted cut-off shorts in the summer.
Overalls have taken the fashion blogs by storm, and a ringer tee would look awesome with the vintage style. For the perfect balance of a tomboy and girly-girl look, pair your ringer tee with a suede skirt and retro sneakers.
For cooler days – or for days that haven’t quite warmed up yet, throw on a denim jacket or tie a flannel or chambray top around your waist. The layers will add much-needed warmth and dimension to your outfit.
The T-Shirt Dress//
Photo | Go Jane
A new twist on the classic t-shirt style is the t-shirt dress. This is an ultra comfy look that is perfect for lazy days where you want to look put together without trying very hard. Essentially, the t-shirt dress is exactly as it sounds—a dress that is an oversized tee. Whether you throw on gladiator sandals, sneakers, or ankle boots to accompany a wide brim hat, the outfit will look great either way.
Just as with the shoe option, you can virtually pair any layer with a t-shirt dress. Tie a shirt around your waist to give your shape definition, or add a long cardigan, kimono, or jacket to complete the look. This is a simple yet effective way to look cute all weekend long.