Have you guys ever seen those “Closet Must Haves” or “10 Pieces Every Woman Must Own” lists in style magazines? Usually, a white tee would make it onto those lists, but I never understood why. I bought a white tee, only to have it sit in my closet because I never knew how to wear it. It was always just a plain white tee to me, which then translated to me as a plain outfit.
But after about a year of experimenting and growing my style, I finally figured out what the heck you are supposed to do with white tees: accessorize!
This might seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but like I wrote in Part 5 of the Building a Remixable Wardrobe Series, I had no idea how to accessorize beyond earrings, so of course plain white tees never amounted to anything more than that for me.
If you have a plain white tee lying around that you only wear with jeans, here are some tips for getting more usage out of it!
There’s not really a step-by-step guide here. It’s mostly a jumble of tips to think about to give you some ideas for how to make more outfits with your own white tee.
Basically, get some color and/or pattern in there! Whether it’s by pairing your tee with colored or patterned bottoms, layering on a colored cardigan or blazer, or simply adding a colorful necklace or patterned scarf, you can maximize that plain white tee to no end.
Here’s a breakdown of each outfit. There is no rhyme or reason to this collection of outfits; they are just whatever I could think of from my closet. And warning–it’s kind of repetitive information, but my hope is that the more the tips get broken down and demonstrated, more of your creative juices will flow to help you think of ideas from your own closet.
Even though the shorts are a neutral grey, the red blazer gives the outfit some character. I added the necklace down the middle because a completely white center column seemed like it needed to be filled in with an extra touch. This will be true or many of the outfits to follow.
Though you can recreate many of these outfits for fall by adding a a few more layers and some boots, here is one outfit that is an ode to fall. I LOVE this outfit and cannot wait to wear it in the fall! I added color with the cardigan, but the pattern in the scarf is what really makes the outfit work.
Grab a patterned skirt and fill in that white space with a necklace. The necklace doesn’t have to be as substantial as this one. It could be a simple colored pendant, too! Also, easily copy this for fall with a cardigan and boots.
I love how a white tee can be dressed up with a blazer and pumps! Again, I filled the white space with a simple yellow pendant.
Grab your favorite colored pencil skirt, add a statement necklace, and you’re done. Am I sounding like a broken record yet? This is the same formula as outfit #4, but the silhouette of the skirt changes it up. Exchange the wedges for pumps and add a blazer, and I think it’d be pretty work appropriate.
This is the exact same formula as the first outfit–white tee, jeans, and a patterned scarf. However, it is made completely different just because the jeans are a different color and it’s a different scarf. Wear it with boots and a cardigan in the fall, and you’ll have the formula for outfit #3 in a new way!
And there you have it. Hopefully this helps give you some ideas for utilizing your white tee instead of letting it collect dust like mine did for so long. Dust is not a good accessory. Now, get to working those white tees!