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How to Style a Basic T-Shirt in 16 Ways (Tips From Fashion Pros)

If clothes could speak, T-shirts would confidently proclaim their comfort and versatility. The basic tee is an underrated closet staple that shouldn’t be relegated to occasions like going to the grocery store. So, the next time you’re shopping for a basic T-shirt, stop and take a closer look – you might just find your next favourite piece. 

From a classic crew neck to a graphic tee and a relaxed oversized shirt, a basic T-shirt can be dressed up or down and styled in countless ways. With a bit of creativity, you can build stylish and chic outfits around this humble wardrobe essential. 

Basic T-Shirt Styling Tips 

The beauty of a basic T-shirt is its versatility – whether it is a plain T-shirt or a graphic tee. It can be as simple as pairing a T-shirt with a sleek blazer and high-waisted wide-leg pants for a professional networking event or wearing a basic top with a flowing maxi skirt on a first date. 

Have dinner plans? Tuck your tee into your favourite jeans and finish the look with stacked necklaces and heels. Want to look cute while lounging at home? Go for ultimate comfort by pairing your softest T-shirt with cozy joggers. Need to run errands? Throw on a bomber jacket over your top for a quick and functional outfit. 

Necklines Change the Look of a Plain T-Shirt

You can have fun with different necklines too, which transform the look and feel of your outfit. 

V-Neck T-Shirts

A V-neck is a classic choice that elongates the neck and creates a flattering silhouette. It’s a versatile option for both casual and dressy looks. 

Square-Neck Shirts

The square-neck tee offers a more structured appearance that highlights your collarbones and adds a touch of elegance to your look. 

Crew Neck Tees

The crew neck, though, is the quintessential T-shirt neckline — it’s perfect for layering or wearing on its own and flatters pretty much anyone. 

Boatneck T-Shirts

The boatneck tee runs horizontally across the collarbones to add a bit of Parisian flair to your wardrobe. Each neckline brings its unique charm. 

The best part? You never run the risk of looking like you’re trying too hard with a T-shirt. It always gives off a cool and effortless vibe. To help you broaden your fashion horizons, here’s how to style a basic T-shirt in 16 unique ways. 

16 Ways to Style a Basic T-Shirt 

1. Plain T-Shirt with a Maxi Skirt

If you want to look effortlessly chic, combine a maxi skirt with a comfy plain T-shirt. Add a belt to cinch your waist and create a more defined silhouette, and you’ve just created your go-to office look. It’s comfortable, reliable – and never boring. 

2. White T-shirt with Statement Denim

A crisp, high-quality white T-shirt is like a blank canvas that pairs perfectly with statement denim. Get your hands on jeans with unique details, such as pearls or patches. You don’t need much more to make your outfit pop during a casual outing. Both heels and sneakers work well with this look. 

3. Vintage Basic Shirt with a Tracksuit

If you’re thrilled about the tracksuit’s comeback, jump on the opportunity to combine a vintage T-shirt with an athletic set. Finish the look with classic sneakers for the ultimate blend of comfort and nostalgia.  

4. A Baby Tee Under a Blazer

Layering a baby tee under a blazer creates a sophisticated yet casual outfit that will carry you from meetings to happy hour. Choose a fitted, well-tailored blazer and skinny jeans to keep the look polished. Wear your hair up, accessorize with earrings, and add a stylish bag to tie everything together. 

5. A Relaxed Basic Shirt with a Matching Set

A relaxed basic shirt can complement a fun matching set. Choose a bold print, like a leopard print ensemble, for a stylish outfit that will turn heads (in a good way). This look is perfect for a night out with friends. 

6. A Cotton T-Shirt Under a Slip Dress

Layer a basic cotton T-shirt under a slip dress for a 90s-inspired look that will add a casual edge to a classic dress. This combination is perfect for transitioning between seasons, and it will make old favourites feel fresh again. 

7. A Cropped T-Shirt With Trousers

To strike the right balance between casual and put-together, combine a cropped, boxy T-shirt with high-waisted trousers and finish the look with some casual sneakers or loafers. The outfit offers a balanced and stylish silhouette ideal for brunch or casual Fridays.

8. A Basic Fitted Tee with a Colorful Sweater

Neutrals are always great, but colorful sweaters add a sometimes much-needed pop of color to your outfit. Stay warm and stylish on a dreary day by layering a basic fitted tee under a vibrant sweater. 

9. A T-Shirt with Faux Leather Pants

Faux leather pants and a fluid linen T-shirt: This combination is modern, sleek, flirty, and edgy all at once. Wear it on a night out or while out and about in the city — it's easy to pull off, and it’s always a winner. 

10. Long Sleeve Basic T-Shirt with a Suit Vest

If you don’t yet own a long sleeve basic T-shirt, this look will convince you to get one. Layering a long sleeve tee under a suit vest is a refreshing spin on traditional suiting. It’s perfect for a smart-casual dress code and offers a refined and contemporary aesthetic.  

11. A T-Shirt with Statement Accessories

A simple T-shirt is a canvas for fashion-forward accessories like a four-row mixed chain statement necklace. Make a stylish first impression with this pairing and be prepared for people to stare at your neckline and ask where your jewelry is from. 

12. T-Shirt Under Overalls

Pair a basic crew neck with overalls for a playful and casual look you’ll want to wear all the time. This fun combo is ideal for weekend adventures and delivers maximum comfort and style.

13. A Loose Tee with Cargo Pants

If you’re in the mood to look cool and casual, combine two relaxed designs: a baggy T-shirt tucked into cargo pants. Up the style factor with unique sneakers, and you’ll stay comfy all day at an outdoor event.  

14. A Basic T-Shirt with a Denim Skirt

This basic tank veers into T-shirt territory with its extended shoulders, which shields you from the sun while keeping you cool. Pair it with a midi denim skirt for an on-trend and feminine look that works well in different settings. 

15. A Relaxed T-Shirt with Bermuda Shorts

Style loose-fit bermuda shorts with a super-soft hemp T-shirt for the ultimate summer outfit. This look is easy to wear, elegant and functional — and it can be dressed up or down depending on your choice of footwear. 

16. A Basic T-Shirt Dress

For a laid-back look on summer days, throw on a long, oversized T-shirt as a dress. Accessorize this simple look with your favourite cap for a sporty look that doubles as sun coverage. 

The Art of Styling a Basic Shirt 

Mastering the art of putting together a basic T-shirt outfit opens up a world of fashion possibilities. From casual days to dressier occasions, you can always rely on basic wardrobe essentials to create different outfits. Basic T-shirts are wardrobe workhorses in that way.

The combinations above are only meant to serve as a starting point for your creativity. Use them as inspiration, make them your own, or come up with new ones! Plus, you can use basic T-shirts to create a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a selection of curated pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks – a basic tee is often part of the mix. 

Whatever you do, prioritize investing in high-quality, durable fabrics so you can keep enjoying your favourite T-shirts for years to come.

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