Have you ever wondered why some people can throw on a white tee and jeans and look like a million bucks, but when you do the same you look like you just rolled out of bed? Me too.
I mean, just look at these three. They look so cool and effortless. I WANT TO BE COOL. Sorry for yelling, but it’s just not fair.
But, wait! I think I figured it out. Each one of these icons has done one thing that has taken a simple look to the next level. They have made it their own. (Obviously, they could have been styled by a professional, but you’ll see what I mean in a second.)
Rosie Huntington-Whitely added a gray patterned blazer, nude pumps, a black bag and sassy sunglasses. James Dean is flaunting his leather jacket and black boots while in his signature pose. And Donald Glover is giving us a relaxed vibe with a trucker hat and round shades. They all made their looks special by adding personal touches to show off their style.
I’ve broken down how I think you and I can make a white tee and jeans look amazing. Hopefully, we all have these pieces in our closets and are ready to take our looks to the next level!
Here’s my base outfit, obviously any version of these two pieces would work. Alone it is simple and I would wear this to run errands or to go to a casual lunch. Let’s take it up a notch.
(Side note: I think you should wear whatever you want, whenever you want and a white tee and jeans is so flexible you could do just that. So, take this outfit anywhere you like! I’m offering up occasions for my looks just to give you an idea of where I would wear these outfits.)
Tip #1: Accessorize
This one is simple because we all have jewelry we wear everyday and/or statement jewelry, and a collection of hats, bags, scarves or glasses/sunglasses. Figure out which of those accessories is the most you and add them to your look. I like all accessories, so I tried out a couple of options.
In the look on the far left and the far right, I added a pink backpack and dangly earrings; I would wear this on a day out shopping. And in the middle look, I added a vintage hat and crossbody bag, which would be great if I was going to a bar or a winery.
These additions are easy and are probably your best bet if you are wearing a t-shirt and jeans in the summer.
Tip #2: Layer
This is an opportunity to add another piece of clothing to make this look even more special. Grab a button-up, kimono, cardigan or vest for a more classic look. Or, go for something different and add a printed tank top or short flowy dress on top. The white sleeves peaking out make for a ’90s moment that will never get old. I went for what I had and was comfortable in. I added my favorite flannel for a more chill look and a patterned kimono for a more feminine approach.
If you really want to glam up the look, coordinate your layers with your accessories.
Outfit Details: Flannel – Thrifted | Faux Birkenstocks – Target | Kimono – Thrifted | Pink sandals – Kohls
Tip #3: Add a Jacket (or Coat)
As James Dean proves, adding a jacket takes your t-shirt and jeans and makes it an iconic outfit that will never be forgotten. Any jacket would work, but I would recommend a leather jacket or a jean jacket to start. If a blazer is more your vibe, take notes from Rosie and go that route.
Maybe I was trying to be like our motivators up there when I styled these three looks, but I promise I didn’t mean to. From least casual to most formal, I added a zip-up hoodie featuring my man, Chris Stapleton. Then, I went for a black denim jacket, followed by a baby pink leather jacket. Knowing myself, I would wear all three of these versions of our outfit in the same day and think I did something earth-shattering and no one noticed my base stayed the same.
An awesome coat would be a great addition to the outfit as well, but it’s hot and I couldn’t even think about putting a coat on for a photo.
Outfit Details: Sweatshirt – Chris Stapleton Merchandise | Green faux Birkenstocks – Wal-Mart | Black denim jacket – Target | Black boots – Thrifted | Baby pink leather jacket – Thrifted | Brown heeled mules – Thrifted
Tip #4: Let the Shoe Speak
Rosie has a killer nude pump on that makes it look like she just stepped off the runway, which she very well could have done. If you add a fancy shoe, the whole look changes. Try out your favorite colored or neutral colored heel, mule or boot if you want a more formal, sexy feel. Or, if you are like me, you will grunge it up and put on your Doc Martens. Sneakers would work here as well, but would give off a more casual, relaxed vibe. A brightly-colored pair of Vans would make you a designated ’90s king or queen.
Outfit Details: Doc Martens – Thrifted
Tip #5: Make the Jeans or the Tee Funky
Lastly, you can find a white tee or jeans that has some sort of visual or textural interest to it that makes the look special. I used to have a white tee with a v-neck and flutter sleeves that would have worked perfectly here, but, sadly, I spilled ketchup down the front of it and lost it to the set-in stain demons. You could also work with a jean that has an interesting cut or significant amounts of embellishment or ripping. The possibilities are endless as long as you make it you.
I want to explore this more and keep adding “elevated basics” to my collection.
Next time you want to be comfy and classic, but want you and your style to stand out, try some of these tips and let me know how you do!
Classics stay classics for a reason. It is what we do with them that makes them last a lifetime in ours and others minds.