Even the most fashionable street style mavens have laundry (or dry cleaning) days, and when you're left with a couple of clean clothing items that have seemingly nothing to do with each other, dressing for work or play in the morning can be a pain. When nearly every top you have is less than pristine and all you have left is a couple of plain tees, not to fear: a neutral t-shirt is the perfect foundation for an ultra-chic look when worn the correct way.
The best thing about tees, in my opinion, is that the color or print isn't really so important. The piece is so neutral it goes with everything, no matter if it's a plain white one or your favorite vintage band merch. Even a crazy pattern can look great with anything else in your closet, since a tee's shape is such a recognizable basic.
So, in preparation for the next day all your silk blouses are at the cleaners, read on for nine ways to style your basic neutral tee.
1. PAIR WITH A FLANNEL SHIRT AND JEANS
If you often feel as though the '90s was your spirit decade, 2014 is your year to shine. A clean white tee provides a great base for an updated grunge-inspired ensemble when paired with an unbuttoned flannel shirt and lightly faded skinny jeans. So the next time you're headed out for the weekend with nothing to wear but your favorite white tee, just add in your best denim and plaid for a quick and easy relaxed look.
2. WEAR WITH PATTERNED OR COLORED SKINNY JEANS
If your classic tee is simply looking too plain when paired with skinny jeans, try switching things up by pairing the top with patterned skinnies. Your look will instantly gain more interest, and it's still an insanely simple way to get out the door in a rush, even when most of your wardrobe is out of commission. Just make sure the pattern or shade of your skinnies isn't too loud — just because you're wearing a plain tee doesn't mean you should pull on a pair of neon, leopard print pants.
3. TUCK YOUR TEE INTO A BRIGHT PENCIL SKIRT
Your basic black or white tee isn't just for off-duty occasions. When paired with a streamlined pencil skirt in a vibrant hue, you suddenly have a very chic work outfit. Tuck in your tee for a more formal look, and add a blazer and statement necklace for extra impact.
4. ADD IN LUXE JOGGERS
If you're truly in a wardrobe pickle and your options are limited, create a relaxed-luxe look with your favorite formal joggers. There are few things more comfortable than a t-shirt and track pants, and with a pair in dressy silk, linen, or cotton, you'll look put-together without having exerted the extra effort. A more structured blazer, gold watch, and nude pumps kick the ensemble up to office-appropriate.
5. CHOOSE OPULENT ACCESSORIES
Even if your only wardrobe option is a basic white tee, no one will think to question your taste if you pair your top with a statement purse, killer stilettos in a classic shade, and a few choice bangles or your favorite drop earrings. Accessories can pull focus away from areas of your ensemble that are less than current. Just make sure that your accessories aren't competing with one another for attention in your ensemble, or the entire look might come off as garish and confusing to the casual observer.
6. WEAR WITH LEATHER SHORTS OR A SKIRT
We have Miranda Kerr to thank for this gem of a fashion epiphany: a white tee looks utterly glamorous when paired with black leather shorts or a leather pencil skirt. Somehow, the relaxed vibe of a classic tee balances the rebellious, sultry look of leather, and the resulting ensemble is incredibly chic in an offhand, unplanned way. However, if your skirt or shorts are too short, the look becomes unsuitable for most occasions.
7. ADD ON A TUXEDO BLAZER
When in doubt, adding a tuxedo jacket dresses up any ensemble, even if it is just your favorite, worn-in white tee-shirt. Sophia Bush creates even more impact with her ensemble by keeping the palette to black and white, and adding a perfectly tailored pair of black leather pants to the mix.
8. PAIR WITH YOUR FAVORITE PATTERNED SKIRT
A white tee might not look like much on its own, but when paired with a bright floral skirt and matching jacket, it becomes a great way to ground your ensemble. Try a plain t-shirt with a midi skirt or a full skirt in a graphic floral print, and keep the rest of your look subdued.
9. GO (NEARLY) MONOCHROMATIC BLACK OR WHITE
Any look, even the most basic, will make more of an impact when it's monochromatic. If you don't want to create a basic black and white ensemble, try going for a white tee paired with a white pencil skirt and blazer, or a black tee with leather skinny pants and a black tuxedo jacket. Just make sure to accent you look with a pop of color, whether it's a thin belt or a bright lip.
10. WEAR ON TOP OF YOUR FAVORITE DRESS
What better way to pare down your favorite flamboyant dress than to pop a white tee on top of it? A white tee will keep the look from being too intense, and you may be able to wear your dress to more casual occasions than you may have previously believed.