5 Ways to Dress Up a T-Shirt

By Amy Ratcliffe

If you’re like me, one reason you choose to wear t-shirts – besides awesome designs and expressing your fandom – is because they’re comfortable. Though I enjoy dresses and donning fancier outfits from time to time, t-shirts are my go-to piece of clothing when I need to feel relaxed. I usually wear tees with jeans, knee high boots or flats, and maybe a hoodie. It’s simple and doesn’t require a lot of thought on my part. However, changing your look up from time to time is a good idea and some situations call for a dressier look.

The best part about taking a t-shirt to the next level? Upstyling is easy. Trust me, if I can pull it off, anyone can. I have five suggestions to make your tees look less casual and more snazzy. Most of these tips apply to women but at least one will work for men.

1. Add a blazer:

A well-fitting blazer makes a cartoon-y Star Wars t-shirt look borderline professional. While you might not be able to wear the ensemble to your office, you’re getting closer! Seriously though, a t-shirt plus a blazer is part of my standard convention wardrobe. I like to show my appreciation for a given franchise but if I’m on a panel or conducting interviews, a blazer makes me feel more like a grown-up. Silly? Perhaps. But, it’s effective.

You can find blazers in stores from Target to Urban Outfitters (my personal favorite) to Macy’s. Classic colors like black and gray go with a wider variety of tees, but it’s fun to choose brighter colors like blue or salmon. They’ll set off darker colors nicely.

Necklace - Charming Charlies

2. It’s all about a big necklace:

Statement jewelry can make all the difference in any outfit, and it especially stands out against plain clothing. Look over your t-shirt collection and make notes about the most common colors. With that in hand, head to your preferred accessory store and choose a few complementary pieces – the bigger, the better. Giant jewelry seems to be in right now, and you can find chunky necklaces and earrings at shops like Charming Charlie or Forever 21. If you don’t feel comfortable with big jewelry, a simple faux pearl necklace also does wonders.

3. Fancy footwear:

For me, shoes are about comfort. I adore the look of high heels, but they are too painful for me to endure. However, if you can stand them, heels of any height make a t-shirt and skinny jeans or leggings look fantastic. Knee-high boots add something extra too, even if they’re flat. And, if you don’t plan to touch heels, you can find flats that have the same effect. Choose flats with sparkles, spikes, or a gloss finish.

t-shirt with a skirt 

4. Find a cute skirt:

Skirts go with graphic tees. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. You can make them work with straight styles as well as A-line and even pencil skirts. Solid colors work best, and this is definitely an area where you can find plenty of bold shades. One of the skirts I wear most is a red, pleated style I picked up at Charlotte Russe. You can wear the shirt tucked in or out, it’s entirely up to you ( loose is better for pencil skirts).

Look at these examples of t-shirts and skirts and get inspired.

 colored pants

5. Ditch the denim:

You can’t take the sky or my blue jeans from me, but I’ll try out other styles once in a while. Swap out your regular jeans for dress pants in any color, striped pants, or leather (real or fake) pants. Actually, even changing to colored denim can make a difference. Along this line, wear leggings with your t-shirts – leggings are more comfortable than jeans. They’re like Thanksgiving pants, but they look fancier.

How do you style your t-shirts? Share your tips in the comments!





Amy Ratcliffe is the author and owner of GeekWithCurves.com! Amy is also a contributing writer to several well known blogs and publications. She’s also known for her appearances at conventions and you can keep track of where she’ll be right here


  • Baird

    I wear pants and socks. Sometimes shoes, and when it’s cold outside a coat.

    • teefury

      This is some next level stuff.

      • Baird

        Feel free to use for a marketing campaign. (I would like 50% of the royalties though) lool

  • Toccara

    I wear my t shirts with jeans and a nice pair of leather boots almost every day and get many compliments on how nice I make jeans and a t shirt look.

  • Megan Elizabeth Saunders

    I have a crushed black velvet tuxedo jacket that looks great with every teefury shirt I own! I work in a library, and cardigans are standard wardrobe staples. Cardigans with pearl embellishments, lace, or jewels can dress up any graphic tee.

    • teefury

      Oh that sounds really good! Nice addition.

  • rengirl

    I like layering shirts underneath like this: http://instagram.com/p/LddBCXLGiE/

    • Amy

      That looks fantastic!

  • Grr

    Except Leggings are not pants, and shame on you for spreading such ridiculousness.

  • Ponkool4

    Well, I’m a guy so points 2, 3, and 4 don’t really apply.
    I do love to wear t-shirts though, because they’re a great way to express your likes and interests. Plus, you might find a fellow fan out there.

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