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How to Dress up Your Favorite Tee

The T-shirt is one of the most basic wardrobe staples on the planet, as well as the most comfortable. For many of us, a T-shirt is something we throw on along with a pair of sweatpants after getting home from a long day at work. Alternatively, we might wear them when hanging out around the house on the weekend or when running out for a quick errand. But that’s about where the function of a T-shirt ends, right? After all, can a T-shirt truly ever feel dressy?

We think the answer to that question is an enthusiastic yes. T-shirts are an incredibly versatile piece of clothing, and by pairing them with the right bottoms, shoes and accessories, you can make them feel either dressier or more casual. With a little careful styling, you can take the same T-shirt to the office in the morning, home for dinner and then out on the town for a date or a fun night out. No matter where your life takes you, we think your T-shirts are up to the challenge.

Today, we want to help you start to explore just a few of the infinite possibilities your tees offer you every day. Try out a few of these styling tips, and before you know it, you’ll start experimenting with your own ideas for incredible new looks every day.

Your T-Shirts: The Basics

T-shirts come in an incredible range of cuts, styles, colors and designs. They can be tightly fitted or loose and boxy, crewnecked or V-necked, and solid-colored or graphic-printed. While these style tips apply to T-shirts of any style, it’s worth noting that when it comes to dressing up tees, certain styles are inherently a bit dressier than others.

If you’re working on styling an outfit for a date or a night out, then the rules are much more relaxed. You can wear virtually anything you want, and your options regarding which T-shirts to choose are much looser. After all, you can take any T-shirt and make it look stylish. Graphic or plain, loose or fitted — anything can look awesome depending on how you style it.

Wearing a T-shirt to the office is a little different. If your workplace sticks to a business casual dress code, then T-shirts are generally frowned upon. The goal of these styling tips, then, is to come up with ways to dress your T-shirt up so that it looks just as classy as any blouse or button-down. And for this, you’re best off choosing something solid-colored and a bit more fitted. While this doesn’t have to mean a shirt that’s skin-tight, it does mean that the shirt should fit you well, rather than being the type of over-sized design you might wear as pajamas.

While these are general rules of thumb, however, never forget that you can always bend fashion rules. After all, these are your outfits, and this is your style. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and that you love wearing it. Everything else is just the details.

How to Dress up a Casual Tee

Try a few of these styling tips on for size.

1. Skip the Jeans

Nothing makes a tee seem more casual than wearing them with your comfiest pair of jeans. While you can perhaps get away with wearing jeans to the office by pairing them with a dressy top and shoes, the same does not hold true when you pair them with a T-shirt. Since both items have more casual connotations, the very act of pairing them together only serves to bring out the relaxed appearance as both.

If you have absolutely no other choice but to match your T-shirt with a pair of jeans, your best bet is to grab a pair of well-tailored slim or straight-leg jeans in a dark blue wash, a neutral shade or a conservative color. A good guideline to follow is that the lighter the denim wash, the more casual the outfit becomes.

2. Try a Classic Dress Pant

Nothing creates an instant work style better than a classic tailored pair of dress pants. They elevate any shirt you pair with them, making the shirt in question suddenly more fashionable and office-appropriate by association. When pairing a T-shirt with this type of pants, remember to tuck your shirt in, at least in the front, since this does wonders to make any outfit feel more together. A belt can be an excellent way to accessorize an outfit like this, as well.

When choosing an outfit such as this, neutrals often play best. A white T-shirt, for instance, paired with a pair of black, gray or navy dress pants can look wonderfully traditional. Throw on a blazer on cold days, or wear just the tee on warmer days, and no one will ever notice this is the same T-shirt you wear at home while watching TV.

3. Throw on a Skirt

The pencil skirt is just as much a business-wear staple as the classic pair of dress pants. These skirts instantly convey a tone of authority and professionalism, making everything that you pair with them seem a step or two more formal just by proximity. Choose a neutral-colored skirt or go bolder with an eye-popping color. Just remember that the brighter your skirt, the more neutral your shirt should be, and vice versa.

And who says you should stop at pencil skirts? There is a whole world of skirts out there to try. Experiment with A-line skirts and midi-skirts as well. Maxi skirts make a great dressy look for dates or days out running errands, although they may not always play as well in an office. Still, there are plenty of different skirt varieties for you to play with, and many of them look terrific with a T-shirt. Try different styling looks by tucking or untucking your shirt, adding a belt, throwing a jacket on top or switching up your shoe game.

4. Be Bold With Your Pants

Fashion is always changing, and today, there are more options than ever when it comes to pants. Striped or patterned linen pants are a fantastic option if you’re looking for something that’s dressier than jeans, but not quite as formal as dress slacks. They look terrific when paired with a nice tee, and they're available in a huge range of colors and patterns, so you can mix and match with all your favorite T-shirts.

5. Pair Your T-Shirt Under a Dress

Big or small, all of us have a finite number of clothing pieces in our closet, and that means a finite number of outfits that we can rotate through. If you’re tired of wearing the same several outfits into the office, what’s the best way to mix things up? Going shopping is one option. Creating new outfits by using the same pieces of clothing in new and interesting ways is another. For example, do you have a spaghetti-strap dress you usually throw a sweater over to wear to work? Why not give it new life by wearing a T-shirt underneath it and ditching the sweater?

Adding a T-shirt can radically transform the character of any dress. Every dress and every T-shirt is shaped differently, however, so they won't all go together. Do some experimenting with your wardrobe and figure out which pieces work together. The reward is a whole lineup of new outfits you might not have ever thought of otherwise.

6. Go Fancy With the Shoes

One guideline of fashion that stays the same no matter type of outfit you’re looking to build? The shoes set the tone for the whole outfit. If you go all out on the shoes, the entire outfit will look a bit more dressed up. If you shove on a beat-up pair of Converse or flip-flops, even the most formal and business-like outfit suddenly falls far short of the mark.

When you’re looking to take a T-shirt to work, you can use this rule to your advantage. Sometimes, all you need to take an outfit from casual to work-appropriate is the right pair of shoes. So grab a pair of flats, pumps or ankle boots and see if your T-shirt doesn’t suddenly look ready to face a day at the office.

7. Add Another Layer

One of the best ways to style a casual T-shirt and make it look more formal is to simply disguise it. If people can’t see very much of it, the odds are good that they won’t even realize it’s a T-shirt. And how do you disguise a tee-shirt? It’s easier than you might think, and there are plenty of different ways to do it that will all lend a slightly different tone to the overall outfit. And for each change, all it takes is one item of clothing.

We’re talking about layering, of course. It’s all about grabbing an open cardigan, a wrap sweater, a denim or leather jacket or a blazer and throwing it over top of the T-shirt. By adding this extra layer, the shirt becomes far less visible. To the casual observer, the sliver of T-shirt visible underneath the sweater or jacket might be anything. It might be a blouse or any other dressy shirt. They never need to know that it’s your favorite and most comfy tee.

8. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

Accessorizing is about personalization. After all, anyone can pair that T-shirt with that skirt. What makes the outfit truly unique to you is the way you dress it up and the accessories you choose to add to it.

In addition to simply personalizing an outfit, accessories can also dress it up, calling attention away from the pieces that are a bit more simplistic, such as the T-shirt. A well-placed belt, necklace, scarf or pair of earrings all have the power to take an outfit from not-quite-dressy to something that looks like it was born to head to the office with you.

Three Sample Outfit Ideas

With ideas like these tucked under your belt, you can start to piece them together to come up with a variety of outfit options that all feature your favorite casual boutique tees but are still dressy enough to wear to work or for a night out. Try out a few of these outfit ideas, and then use them as inspiration to create looks of your own.

1. Soft and Comfy

Didn’t want to get out of bed this morning? Heading to work on a sleepy morning is a little easier when you can slip into comfy-cozy outfits like this one. Grab your favorite tee, a pair of striped linen pants and a fun, eye-catching pair of flats. If the weather’s a bit chilly, finish the outfit off with a long cardigan.

For an outfit like this, our Trouble-Free Top might be just the thing. We think this textured tee will look terrific when paired with a pair of your favorite colored pants and a cardigan to tie the whole look together.

2. Fun and Feminine

Even on days when you feel like spending a little more time dressing up and wearing something that makes a statement, we think you can still incorporate a T-shirt into your look. Why not grab your favorite tee in any color and pair it with a black A-line skirt? A denim jacket over the T-shirt finishes off the look. During the winter, we think adding a pair of black tights and ankle boots will be the perfect touch, while in the summer, you can just grab your favorite pair of pumps.

3. Casual-Dressy

Sometimes, the best outfits are the ones that strike that perfect balance between dressy and casual — the outfits that can go from the office to the park without skipping a beat. To construct an outfit that can do just this, grab a basic black T-shirt and pair it with a light-colored pencil skirt. Throw on a denim jacket, grab a pair of colored or patterned pumps and a necklace, and you’re all set.

Don’t have a go-to black tee to complete this outfit? This Back to Basics Tee is just what you need to put this business-ready outfit together.

Shop Women’s Boutique Tees and More at My Sister’s Closet

Need to stock your closet with a few basic tees to build business casual outfits for your wardrobe? There’s always something interesting in stock here at My Sister’s Closet. We sell boutique tees for women as well as dresses, pants, accessories and even shoes, all at prices you can afford, with options in both regular and plus sizes.

At My Sister’s Closet, we want to make your shopping experience as easy and convenient as possible. That’s why we offer free returns within 30 days of purchase and free shipping on all orders over $50 to anywhere in the United States. Best of all? All our clothing is on-trend, comfortable and extremely easy to wear. Shop our selection of tees today to start looking for pieces to add to your collection, and don’t forget to browse all our other great selections as well.