Did you know? Creating outfits with what you already have is one of the best ways to build a conscious and sustainable closet, and a Classic T-shirt is one of its best foundations. It is a versatile piece that maximizes the versatility of your wardrobe, fitting well with everything from your core outfits to your statement pieces.
A great tee is the ideal combination of simplicity and comfort and an easy piece to style, dress up or down depending on the occasion. When it comes to outfit repetition, one question I often get from clients is how do you wear a classic tee without looking like you already wore the same outfit a few days ago?
Here are 5 styling inspirations that will help you spice up your Classic T-Shirt looks.
1. Look at your tee as the most interesting piece of your closet
As Alyssa Beltempo, a slow fashion creator, explains in her podcast interview with the Conscious Style Podcast (Episode #14), “you need to consider a piece of clothing in two ways. Take a tee for example, it’s a piece of garment but you need to take into account also elements like color, texture, and silhouette.”
She suggests shifting the focus from a white plain T-shirt just being a plain tee, and looking at it as a contrast to black and bright pink, or comparing the soft texture of the cotton to a rough vegan leather pant. “It will change your perspective on this T-shirt and will give you multiple options to style this timeless piece,” she says.
Pairing a classic T-shirt with an item that is at the opposite end of the spectrum from whatever you have in your closet is a great way to elevate your outfit and dress down your wardrobe. Mix your classic casual tee with something dressier that you usually wear for a specific occasion like a silky pants or a midi pencil skirt.
Playing with different clothing textures is also a great way to add visual interest to your t-shirt. Mix it with some thicker fabric items like a cashmere hoodie or vegan leather pants. Denim and cotton are casual textures, but you can dress them up by playing with other fabrics like silk and satin. I love pairing my tee with leather pants — it looks relaxed and unexpectedly stylish.
2. Play with colors
A classic white T-shirt is often seen as the go-to piece to create a casual chic look. I love it and there is nothing wrong with that, however, Giovanna Battaglia, the Global Creative Director of Swarovski Group -- also known as the queen of fashion weeks, proves to us that a colorful tee can really take you anywhere.
Here she tucks a bright pink T-shirt into a pink and red pleated skirt with a red-beaded necklace. The combination is unconventional and unexpected but provides the ideal balance of style, function, and comfort.
One styling tip I like to share with my clients who want to master the monochrome look: start by selecting your color tee. Make sure the color is one that looks good on your skin tone and hair, and that you feel comfortable in. The worst thing you can do is wear a color that doesn’t make you glow. Also, try to mix textures within your monochromatic outfit to add visual interest, depth, and dimension so that you don’t look boring.
3. Add Layers to your classic tee-shirt
Sometimes all a basic tee needs is a little bit of layering to dress it up. Cardigans, blazers, vests, and overshirts can work perfectly to add some intrigue to a simple look.
Experiment with different lengths and fits of jackets. Try layering an oversized shirt over a tucked tee. Match a chunky knitted cardigan with a T-shirt that is more fitted.
While we transition our wardrobe from summer to fall, pairing a summer dress or jumpsuit over a classic tee is also a great way to repurpose some of your favorite spring or summer staples.
Finally, make sure that the fit of your jacket and tee-shirt does not hide your natural shape so that your body does not get lost in an excess of fabric.
4. Make your white T-shirt look meeting-ready
After more than a year of many people working from home, many companies have loosened their policies to allow employees to dress more casually.
Casual dressing and classic tees might be the new post-pandemic dress code, but like it or not, appearances count, even in the most relaxed workplaces, and your wardrobe choices will always impact the messages you are sending to your collaborators.
The good news is you can easily professionalize your basic T-shirt. Start with a top in a neutral color such as white, navy, or black. Make sure the neckline of the tee is not too low, and tuck it into fitted dark jeans, black trousers, or pencil skirts.
Finally, elevate the look by layering it with a blazer or cardigan and it will make your classic T-Shirt look polished and professional.
5. Accessorize your classic T-shirt
Statement jewelry can make all the difference in the final look of your classic tee. One of the details to pay particular attention to when choosing jewelry to match with the shirt is the neckline.
With a classic round neckline, not too deep, the choice of jewelry is simple: a bold chain necklace is always a good option to transform the simplest T-shirt into a polished look to wear on important occasions.
If you are more into V-neck T-shirts, opt for a necklace that follows the shape and size of the neckline. Try layering a few soft necklaces with a small pendant or charm at the center.
This article was written by Charline Zeroual - Sustainable Wardrobe Stylist