10 Ways to Wear a White T-Shirt

There are certain wardrobe essentials every woman should have: a classic jean, basic black pumps, a well-tailored blazer, a little black dress … but I would like to nominate one more item — the classic white tee*.

I know what you’re thinking. A white T-shirt? That’s my sleeping/painting/lounging/errands shirt. Au contraire faithful reader. A white tee isso much more than a comfy top strictly confined to the interior of your house, as we are about to show you. You can wear it to work, out with the girls, or even on a date.

With the help of a few brave staffers, we decided to show you just how amazing a plain white tee is. Vests, suspenders, tutus, overalls(!), we tried it all. And guess what we found? Besides being super comfy, the T-shirt is truly the most versatile piece of clothing you’ll ever own. Consider it the Swiss army knife of shirts, if you will.

Get inspired. Dust off that plain white tee and vow to wear it outside the house with style.  ‘Cause I believe the white tee deserves its place next to the LBD. Don’t you agree?

* T-shirt Factoid: Americans didn’t go T-shirt crazy until 1951, when Marlon Brando graced the screen in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” wearing … a T-shirt. Though they were not a new invention — tees had been seen on Naval officers and dockworkers — T-shirts weren’t mass-produced; instead they were custom ordered. But all it took was one brooding, smoldering Brando for the T-shirt to take fire.

vest with white t-shirt

Pair with a vest

Somewhere, in the very back of your closet, is a vest. It’s probably from 1999 — no shame — but it’s still there. It might take some digging, but once unearthed you won’t just have a vest. You’ll have an awesome addition to your classic white tee.

suspenders with a white t-shirt

Slip on suspenders

What do old men, punk rockers, Huck Finn, and Cameron Diaz all have in common? They know the true value of suspenders. And if you wear them right, you can make an instant fashion statement, even if only thrown over a plain white tee.

white t-shirt with blazer

Throw on a blazer

Hangover. Gloomy day. Your Period. I can think of at least three reasons you might want to wear your softest jeans and an old tee to work. But before you head out looking like a bum, I have a simple suggestion: Throw on a blazer and an awesome pair of heels.

scarf with white t-shirt

Top with a scarf

The best thing about scarves? They’re usually cheap, so you can never have too many, and they instantly transform any basic tee. Plus, you also look mysterious/bohemian/intellectual (choose one) in a snap.

pleated skirt with white t-shirt

Play with pleats

You’re about to meet your sweetie’s parents for the first time. What to wear? Not something too sexy, or too uncomfortable, or too stuffy. And it should definitely show off your personality. Hmm.

overalls and a white t-shirt

Pull on overalls

While the overalls were a big risk (and a possible “Blossom” reincarnation), we have to admit some fashion risks are worth a possible crash and burn.

Soft, summery, and ultra comfy, once she had them on, we are all about these overalls. Crash and burn, we did not.

white t-shirt with long skirt

Go long

Following in the fashion footsteps of Mary-Kate Olsen and Kate Bosworth, we decided to try the T-shirt/long skirt combo. While those girls chose a really fancy ballgown bottom, we went for the less expensive option: a cotton floor-length tube skirt. Our thoughts? Double awesome.

tutu with white t-shirt

Twirl in a tutu

The idea of a tutu might sound a tiny bit strange — I am not exactly prima ballerinas — but you have to admit, it’s an interesting twist on the basic tee and skirt option. Even though the tutu is black and paired with heels, the look is still fun and flirty. No “Black Swan” vibe going on here.

leggings with a white t-shirt

Get leggy

OK, when leggings made a comeback, I was a bit concerned. Not much fashion from the ’80s is worth repeating. But once I realized how comfy they were, I quickly got on-board. Paired with a loose, drapey white tee, it is no surprise that we think this just might be the most comfortable outfit EVER.

white t-shirt with white jeans

Stay in the white

As you’ve seen, a white tee can look good with blue jeans, colorful skirts, and black leggings, but what about white?
And while this look feels as good as your favorite PJs, you can actually wear it outside your house.


October 30, 2012. October.

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