September 14, 2018 5 min read
In the past few years or so, it feels like graphic tees have made a huge comeback in the world of women’s fashion. We’ve all seen the simple black tee with a sassy saying in an internet-worthy font and the distressed band tees in your local thrift shop’s window, enticing you to make your way inside. But graphic tees for women still feel a bit like they have the stigma of being more casual and even juvenile in the eyes of the general public. The truth of the matter, though, is that graphic tees can be and are more than laundry day go-tos. You can wear them at the office, for your back to school outfit, and even to impress your Friday night date. Whatever the occasion may be, here is your ultimate guide to styling graphic tees for any and every single one of them.
The first and foremost rule for styling any outfit with a graphic tee is styling the shirt itself. Your first instinct may to just let the tee fall where it may, but that’s where the frumpy factor comes in. Instead, try tucking your tee into whatever bottoms you’re wearing. You tuck in your button up shirts, so why not tuck in your tee? That association to button ups applied to graphic tees instantly lends a level of sophistication that you can never go wrong with--whether it’s tucking them into jeans, slacks, or skirts.
Some alternatives to tucking your shirt in are only tucking in part of the tee or tying it (known as the French tuck). Only partially tucking it in adds dimension to the overall outfit and gives a sense of edginess to your style. Similarly, rolling or bundling the tee into a knot that sits to the front or side of your torso gives depth to the outfit and a feel of sassy-sweetness that is far more appealing than just letting the shirt hang loose.
Tucking or tying graphic tees is the first step to making a graphic tee outfit more fashion forward, but the real key is making sure your outfit has structure. A simple way to do this is throwing on a blazer. The combination of tucking a shirt in and throwing on a blazer ensures that your waistline doesn’t get lost in all the fabric and helps you avoid looking frumpy. Go for a simple black or navy blazer, or shake things up a bit by wearing one with a pop of color that adds a touch more boldness to your outfit.
If you’re not into blazers, have fun with wearing a moto jacket, a colorful bomber jacket, or the classic denim jacket. These options are ideal for a night out on the town, but maybe not so much a day at the office.
Once you’ve mastered the blazer game, you can move on to shaking things up with the pants you pair your graphic tee with. The classic option is a pair of jeans or leather pants. It’s a classic rocker look that you can make more polished by adding a blazer or some heels. If you want to change things up, consider pairing your graphic tee with a pair of slacks that have stripes, florals, or other patterns. Another alternative is to go with some pants that are a bold color. Pick pants that match a color in your graphic tee to keep things looking intentional and put together.
If your style is more feminine, considering pairing your graphic tee with a skirt. Go with a flowy skirt for a more flirtatious look or stick with a pencil skirt to keep things sleeker. It may feel counterintuitive to pair a tee with a skirt, but that oxymoron is what makes the outfit bold, interesting, and fun. Add your favorite statement necklace or bangles to add even more depth to this outfit choice.
Whether it’s the middle of July or you’re breaking out the hot chocolate in December, layering is vital to the success of any graphic tee outfit. Throughout the year, you can layer your tee with a chunky statement necklace that complements the colors of the tee or throw your tee over a short-sleeved button up with a pattern that complements the tee’s colors or even one that is the opposite of the tee’s colors to make the outfit more interesting. Cuff the sleeves of the button up over the sleeves of the tee and make sure the collar sticks out of the tee’s head opening to ensure the most polished look.
In the warmer months, you can go with neutral cardigans and sweaters that allow the colors of the graphic tee to be the focal point of the outfit or go with complementary colors to make the outfit a little more audacious. You can also get into the trend of 90s throwbacks by layering your graphic tee over a turtleneck shirt.
If you’re a little more shy about rocking your graphic tees, you can wear them underneath jumpsuits or overalls. That way, they’re just adding a little more depth to your already cute outfit without going overboard.
Whoever said a woman should leave her graphic tees back in high school obviously didn’t understand the science of structuring in fashion. So, prove them wrong by pulling out that old Rolling Stones tee, tucking it into your work pants, throwing it under a black blazer, and rocking those red heels that match the mouth perfectly. Get out there and show the world exactly how graphic tees were meant to be worn.
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Jazmin is a Florida native with a love for the Utah mountains. She loves getting lost in a book or a good movie, but she also doesn't mind a friendly game of ultimate frisbee on the weekends with friends. Pizza and dancing are her favorite pastimes.
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