Sometimes I think we get to preoccupied with putting together creative wardrobe combinations that we forget how stunning the basics can be. I used to live in black t-shirts and jeans, and now I rarely think to wear something so basic. But black and denim is such a great look.
Another often overlooked wardrobe essential is the white t-shirt.
I love how crisp and clean a white t-shirt looks against just about any color. White with black is classic and sleek and can be dressed up or down and accessorized in infinite ways.
White with pastels is light and fresh.
White with bold and bright colors is stunning.
And white with denim is the epitome of casual chic.
All leave the door wide open for oodles of accessorizing possibilities, which, by the way, is the key to making the white t-shirt work.
In the photos above, I gathered a bunch of photos of various outfits I’ve worn over the past year where a white t-shirt was a basic component. You can see a theme, I’m sure. Most outfits involve a scarf or statement necklace. A statement handbag is another common theme. The bottoms may be denim, printed, or a solid color. Anything goes with white.
One thing that’s sorely lacking in my examples is a skirt outfit. You know me, I love my pants! But I think a white t-shirt with a pencil skirt and some fun accessories can be a great way to create that super cool juxtaposition with dressy and casual.
Here are some tips to get you started.
How to Style a White T-Shirt
1. Pair a white t-shirt with anything. Denim, black, pastels, bolds or brights, prints or solids…. the sky’s the limit!
2. Add a fun accessory or two. Consider a bold necklace, a stack of bracelets, a colorful scarf, a fabulous shoe or a statement handbag.
In the photos below, I chose to go with a scarf for the statement piece on the left and added a coordinating bracelet. On the right, I went for a bold necklace that coordinates with the shorts, and my green bag is a stunning pop of color against the white and coral.
In the photos below, the shoes add a fun component to the outfits. I love the yellow wedge platform sandals on the right, plus the bag makes a striking contrast against the classic white and denim. The hot pink sandals on the left are really cute for a casual shoe and coordinate with the necklace I’m wearing.
3. Layer. In cooler weather, layer a denim jacket, black blazer or colorful cardigan over your white t-shirt to add interest.
4. Consider the fit and weight of the t-shirt. Go for a flattering neckline and make sure the t-shirt is fitted without being too tight.
Finding the right weight of material is sometimes challenging. It seems like right now the trend is tissue-thin t-shirts. I prefer my t-shirts to have some weight to them, especially the white ones. I am wearing a CAbi top in a few of the photos above that has a double layer — LOVE that. Banana Republic makes a nice t-shirt called the Timeless Tee. I have it in a bunch of different colors in their tank style, as well as a few in their long-sleeve styles and one v-neck. They have a nice weight to them, and they are fitted without being tight. They wash and wear well too.
They currently make it in crew-neck, v-neck and elbow-length. I particularly like the elbow-length, not only because the arm length is interesting, but also because it has a nice, deep rounded neckline that gives you ample room to add a bold necklace. Which brings me to #5.
5. Consider the neckline. An open neckline is also incredibly slimming and brings attention to your face. I stay away from crew-necks because I don’t find them particularly flattering, and v-necks are rather overdone. So look for a nice open boatneck or U-neck for interest.
What’s your favorite way to dress up a white t-shirt?
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