How to Style a T-Shirt with Items You Likely Already Have in Your Closet.
If you were to check your dresser or closet, chances are you’d find several T-shirts, folded, hanging, perhaps even crinkled up into a ball. And why not? Tees are a versatile wardrobe staple that we take for granted. But the humble “tee” has more to offer than being your workout partner. Like any superhero – including the fashion ones – the t-shirt has an origin story, and it began late in the19th century when workmen cut the sleeves of their jumpsuits to stay cool during the summer. Then in 1913, the Navy issued t-shirts to its men as basic underpinnings. The t-shirt as we know it today, however, first became “cool” when literary wunderkind F. Scott Fitzgerald made mention of the garment in his breakout debut novel This Side of Paradise. “So early in September Amory, provided with ‘six suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear, one sweater or T-shirt, one jersey, one overcoat, winter, etc,’ set out for New England, the land of schools.”
Fast-forward to Hollywood’s Golden Age and the likes of Marlon Brandon in A Streetcar Named Desire, and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, made white a t-shirts an emblem of youthful, masculine cool. Think about it, these were young people wearing their underwear as outerwear. And it was around this same time – early 1950s – that young women joined in the trend. And we haven’t looked back.
Whether tees are emblazoned with feminist slogans or worn to the Oscars as Sharon Stone did in 1996, women and t-shirts is a full swipe right. Today, t-shirts are a timeless wardrobe staple for everyone. Don’t believe us? We’ll show you.
In this guide, we’ve curated some of our favorite tips on how to style a t-shirt with items you likely already have in your closet.
6 Ways to Style a T-Shirt
While T-shirts are a fashion basic, that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Different necklines, sleeves, fabrications, and designs give you endless possibilities to style your t-shirt.
Under a Blazer
A simple tee under a blazer is an effortless way to exude business casual that leans into refinement.
You can pair a solid t-shirt with your favorite blazer for an understated ensemble. Or, embolden the look with a colored blazer in a jewel tone or rich hue with a neutral t-shirt underneath.
But this styling option isn’t limited to simple t-shirts. Many tees are embellished with designs that add visual interest to any outfit.
For example, the Embroidered Lace Tee is perfect when paired with a jacket with its peek-a-boo lace cutouts on the side and a tuckable length. Another option is The Bodice Tee with ladder trim providing contouring and dimension without being too loud.
With this layered look, you can always take off your blazer to reveal beautiful sleeve details like our tees with flutter, cap, elbow, and classic short sleeve.
To Tuck or Not to Tuck
For decades, wearing a t-shirt with denim jeans has been an iconic look. Whether you choose to wear your tees tucked in (with or without a belt), hanging loose, or half-tucked, is a matter of preference but each style choice says something about the wearer. Tucked in is a more polished look. Untucked is casual. Half-tucked is fashion forward.
The Short Sleeve Power Tee is perfect for tucking in as it has plenty of length to get the job done. For something more fitted try the WHBM® FORME Elbow-Sleeve Top that features a delicate neckline and soft pink hue. With the fitted silhouette, it will lay just right.
With Suit Separates
Suit separates are a classic look that find their way in corporate America, wedding guest attire, or other social events. But pairing them with a t-shirt gives them a slightly more casual vibe for the office or a night out.
Sleeveless tees and tanks are ideal for this look because they stop above the shoulder and won’t create any bunching in the sleeves of your jacket.
To bring this look to life, try the Relaxed Blazer that features a shawl collar and pocket flaps that resemble a man's tuxedo suit but is tailored for a woman.
Lounging at home, especially during those WFH days, meant a lot of your tees got a starring role on Zoom. And tees as loungewear remains a comfy go-to style. There's nothing like the feel of a soft, silky fiber against the skin as you relax for the evening, weekend, or while on a getaway where comfort is king.
The Short-Sleeve Utility Tee features a scoop neck that flatters your collarbones and moves with you. This shirt also features buttons at the shoulders for subtle yet interesting detail. The Jetsetter Tee also works for lounging and has plenty of length for full coverage or tucking into loose pants or joggers.
With a Skirt
Pairing a skirt with a tee can make a skirt create a casual vibe or can add an edgy look to formal wear if paired with a ball skirt (see Sharon Stone above). The Glamgetter tee is perfect for skirts with its flutter sleeve that can mirror the flutter of a kicky skirt. If you are wearing a pencil skirt with its fitted silhouette, then opt for a tee/bodysuit to create that streamlined look with our WHBM® FORME Crewneck Bodysuit.
Own Your Style with the Right Accessories
As with any outfit, accessories can change up your t-shirt style, taking it from workday to evening. Consider your t-shirt a blank canvass on which to style necklaces of all kinds – collar, bib, multistrand, pendant – to create your own signature look.
Earrings will help draw the eye to the neck and side of the face. Drop earrings can make a statement, while simple studs add a subtle detail that compliments your shirt.
Consider bracelets arm candy to glam up a tank or short-sleeved t-shirt, and to provide a pop of color to your outfit.
However, you choose to accessorize, adding touches that speak to your aesthetic can take your outfit from basic to visionary in seconds.