How to Wear Jeans and a T-Shirt

how to wear jeans and a t-shirt

I’m always surprised by which posts get the best response. For example, last Friday, I totally threw that How to Wear Red Jeans post out there because I couldn’t think of anything else to write about. I thought that so much of what I said was pretty duh, but I got so many positive responses to that post. I forget that fashion doesn’t come naturally to everyone (I’m not even sure fashion comes naturally to me — I just happen to over-think everything, and fashion is no different. Heh.)

Jen of @MOLM2011 posted this to me on Twitter a few days ago, so I figured I’d go with it.

Please do a blog post on how to do casual look with jeans and a t-shirt! Now that spring is coming, I need lessons!

Jen, you’re speaking my language. You know how I love jeans, and nothing is as easy to pair with jeans as a t-shirt. But of course, jeans and t-shirts can look really sloppy if not done correctly, so here are my best tips.

How to Wear Jeans and a T-Shirt

1. Have a great pair of jeans.

At the risk of stating the obvious, make sure you have jeans that are on trend and look great on you. If they don’t fit you well, you’ll look sloppy and frumpy no matter how perfectly accessorized they are. See my Find the Perfect Jeans post for more details on finding the right style and fit. They can be dressy or casual, depending on the look you’re going for.

Honestly, if I could only splurge on ONE thing for my wardrobe, it would be a great pair of jeans.

DL1961 Emma

2. Have a great t-shirt.

LOL, duh, right? But the fit and style of the t-shirt is every bit as important as the fit and style of the jeans. Let’s break it down.

SHAPE

No oversized, boxy tee-shirts, please!!! Ideally your t-shirts will be fitted for a woman’s figure. Old Navy has a great line of simple tees called their Perfect Tee. They have long and short sleeves, v-necks and crew-necks, you name it, they’ve got a Perfect Tee for it.

FIT

Make sure the t-shirt fits you well. You don’t want it too short, you don’t want it pulling too tight across the chest area, you don’t want it too be too low-cut or too baggy or too tight. Like any other article of clothing, fit is key to looking stylish and put together.

accessorize a basic t-shirt

NECKLINE

Make sure the neckline is flattering. A crew-neck is okay but it isn’t particularly interesting or flattering. It’s better on smaller-chested women. Busty women should stay away from crew-neck tops. A v-neck is flattering on most people, as long as it’s not too low-cut (again, that’s more of an issue for the more well-endowed among us). A scoop-neckline is usually becoming as well.

COLOR

Wear a color that you love and one that’s flattering on you. If it’s a great fit but the color’s not so great, you can accessorize with a scarf or jewelry to bring more color to your face.

PATTERN AND EMBELLISHMENT

Don’t assume tee-shirts have to be solid colors. Try a pattern — stripes or floral or paisley. They can be bold or subtle, whatever you like.

Embellishments add interest too, and these days embellished tee-shirts are everywhere. This is where you can really show your personality. If you like ruffles and bows, go for it. If you like bling, here’s your chance. You can even promote your favorite cause or represent your favorite sports team . . . whatever floats your boat. As long as it’s a flattering color and shape, there’s nothing wrong with logos if that’s your thing.

To tuck or untuck, that is the question.

I’m personally not a fan of tucking in the tee-shirt, but it’s all about proportion. I am short-waisted, so leaving my shirt untucked gives the illusion of a lower waistline and makes a better proportion. If you have a lot of extra, ahem, in the chest area, you also may want to leave your tees untucked. If you are long waisted and/or smaller chested, you may prefer to tuck yours in. Remember the rule of thirds. It applies to fashion as well as photography.

This is where those What I Wore Wednesday posts have been incredibly enlightening. Seeing myself in my outfits really gives me a new perspective and makes me a better judge of what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not sure, try taking some pictures of yourself in various outfits. You don’t have to post them anywhere if you don’t want to, but it might help you decide what works best for you.

Layer

Wear a blazer or a cute fitted jacket. Even a cute hoodie can add interest and style to a basic jeans-and-tee.

Accessorize

This is where the jeans-and-tee outfits often fall short. Accessories are the icing on the cake. You definitely want to make a great cake, but what’s a cake without icing? Likewise, you want to make sure you have great jeans that fit and a tee-shirt that is flattering and stylish, but without accessories, your outfit will still be pretty dull.

striped-scarf

Try a Scarf

Try a scarf. (Yes, you can even wear a scarf in the summertime.)

coral striped scarf

Don’t forget the jewelry.

Wear a pair of great earrings. Layer some bracelets on your wrist. Fill in an empty neckline with a statement necklace. This is where you get a chance to show your personal style.

necklace closeup

Shoes and Handbags

Cute shoes or a bright colored handbag go a long way towards pulling an outfit together. PLEASE bypass the gym sneakers. If you must wear a sneaker, and your jeans and tee is fairly casual, try Converse or Pumas (or a cheaper knock-off, but go for a more sporty style rather than an athletic sneaker). Ballet flats are always cute with jeans and tees, and you can certainly wear wedge sandals or even stilettos if the event calls for it. I’m also a fan of boots, as you well know!

elodie-necklace

Here’s a look I threw together that incorporates all of this: Great looking jeans, a fitted T with a scooped neckline and some great accessories!
How-To-Style-Jeans-And-A-T-Shirt

Good luck!