Shopping & Lifestyle

3 Ways to Dress up a Plain White Shirt

Here, revisit this essential wardrobe item



Whether you’re into trends or tend to stick to the classics, the plain white t-shirt should not be written off. It’s the mere fact that this wardrobe item is one of the simplest that makes it exciting. How creative can you get with your styling? And in what ways can you make the most out of a single article of clothing? With the plain white tee, you truly get to find out.


If you play your cards right, you’ll find that the classic tee is the workhorse of the closet. See what we mean ahead.



Layer thoughtfully.

Think of the plain white tee as a base to build on. With this in mind, cotton t-shirts are great to work with because they’re breezier than other fabrics, granting you wiggle room for layering. 


Slipping over an oversized blazer, for example, is a great way to take your look in a corpo-casual direction. A denim jacket, on the other hand, can read as casual all the way.


If you don’t want too much heft or if it happens to be too warm to throw on a jacket, you can vary your looks in a similar vein by slipping on a crisp, long-sleeved shirt. Roll up the sleeves if you want your look to be more casual; button the cuffs at the wrists if you’re after a more polished look.


A smiling woman wearing a jacket over a white shirt talks on the phone.
Styling tip #1: layer with button-down polos or outerwear. Photo: Shutterstock



Let your accessories do the talking.

The white tee isn’t only a foundational piece you can build on; you can think of it as a blank canvas, too. When it comes to accessorizing, the sky is the limit. That’s whether you accessorize according to metals (golds versus silvers), theme (bohemian or gothic, for example), or styling (stacking rings and bracelets versus sticking to a singular statement piece). Outside of jewelry, you can also explore scarves as neckpieces.


 Woman in white shirt with layers of necklaces
Make a plain white t-shirt a must-bring on your travels, then switch your looks up through accessories. Photo: Shutterstock



Establish a focal point.

Opting for a plain white tee allows the eye to focus on other garments, footwear, jewelry, and accessories you’d like to highlight. Pick a statement piece to focus on or use a color story or theme to tie your outfit together.


A man in sleek pants and shoes sitting
Using your plain white shirt to highlight other parts of your outfit is a good option. Photo: Shutterstock



Regardless of how you style the plain white tee, be sure to get the right fit.

Of course, all these suggestions only work if your plain white tee of choice fits perfectly; even if, say, the intent is a loose fit, this should still look polished. While today’s silhouettes swing drastically from very snug to relaxed, too, it never hurts to have at least one timeless option with a classic, correct fit. 


On another note, pay close attention to shirt material. Overly thin or sheer fabrics may be more appropriate for undershirts. Dense, insulating fabrics, on the other hand, tend to be unsuitable for local weather. Selecting a shirt in a refreshing, breathable fabric such as cotton or linen is likely your best bet for both ease and style.


Guy in white shirt and jeans walking relaxed
Whether you opt for a loose shirt or a fitted one, ensure that it hangs on the body well. Photo: Shutterstock



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Art Matthew Fetalver

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