I don’t know about you, but I pretty much live in this quintessential style year-round. Whether stand-alone or paired with statement accessories or your closet favorites, the classic shirt is the lead character in every outfit. It’s a blank canvas that dictates the rest of the look. But that’s easier said than done. Sure, you can throw one on with jeans for the weekend, but the real challenge comes when you want to style your favorite shirt for a special occasion or to take you from a casual lunch to an afternoon board meeting.
Following are some tips on what works and what doesn’t. Whether you choose to go more feminine with a floral skirt or edgy with leggings and boots, there are tons of styling options! For more inspiration, check out our Looks We Love page.
Off Duty Chic, On Duty Comfort
Clothing has become more casual in the last few years — loose comfortable styles and dressing down in lightweight materials that can be layered is the new norm. We don’t want to be burdened with too much structure or stiff heavy fabrics; casual easy-to-wear clothing that can be dressed up or down is the way to go.
Designed with versatility in mind, tunics and shirts are a wardrobe staple and are just as comfortable on a walk in the park as they are at a last-minute Zoom meeting. Our easy-fit, timeless designs are made from high-quality, eco-friendly, sustainable materials, and designed to look as good on a size 2 as they do on a size 18.
Versatility is Key
The basics. Choose versatile pieces such as a tunic that can be styled several ways. This type of silhouette can be worn as a dress over leggings, or even open as a lightweight jacket. A tunic goes a long way and accessories can help fine-tune each variation to keep your look fresh and on-point.
It’s All in the Pairing
A classic button down shirt or knit pullover can be paired with anything from denim to leggings or Lounge Dress Pants, Ankle Pants or skirts, a vest or long cardigan. A smart button-down tunic or top can always be dressed up with accessories such as a scarf, necklace, handbag or an over-sized tote. You can see where this is going. Once you’ve settled on your go-to top, it’s all about personalizing it. There are things to consider when deciding on the silhouette that best fits your body and your lifestyle. Classic black and white is everlasting and lends a contemporary appeal to your everyday style. Check out our choice of pairing in our Looks We Love for more inspiration.
Body Type Matters
We all have concerns when shopping for clothing. Am I too short, too tall, busty or curvy? Choosing the right style can be a tricky business. You definitely want to make sure you are flattering your figure. Women with a smaller bust can benefit from a shirt with pockets, ruffles or pleats to create extra volume over the bust line. However, women with a larger bust need to stay away from excess volume and may want to choose a style with clean lines that can be worn with an open collar or even a belt.
Low-cut tops can be flattering on all women, but in most situations, one might not want to expose too much cleavage, so a simple camisole or tank top under these lower-cut shirts can create some coverage while still featuring your neck. Higher cut tops, such as a crew neck shirt, aren’t very flattering for many women because they create the illusion of a very short neck. Typically, a scoop neck, V-neck, or low-cut top creates the illusion of a longer neckline and a longer silhouette.
If you have a little bit of extra weight around your midsection, you might want to steer clear from tops that are extra tight around this area, whereas women who are slender can look nice in this type of shirt. An empire waist can flatter almost any body type if fitted correctly. These tops typically have a tighter band or seam under the bust, highlighting the smallest area of the body and drawing attention to that instead of the tummy. These bands always need to be below the bust and not ride up in order to ensure a flattering fit. Empire waist tops typically can hide imperfections and look nice on many body types if the empire bands stay under the bust.
Buying Button Front Tops
Choosing the right button front top can be tricky, especially if you have a larger chest. Typically, women with smaller chests do not experience gaps between the buttons or embarrassing pulling of the material across their chest. But if you have a larger chest, look for a top with back pleats to provide a little extra ease and you might want to go up a size to accommodate any gapping.
If you choose to size up, the shirt might fit too large over your midsection or arms. Consider taking the top to a tailor to alter the fit.
There is a lot to consider, but if you know what flatters your body type, your price range, and what you are looking for, it can help make shopping an enjoyable experience. Once you find a top that works for you it’s always good practice to study why it works and keep this in mind for future reference and possibly purchase the style in other colors if available.
A quality, classic tee can be bought almost anywhere but you might want to look for a top with a little extra character like a placed print, a pleat or some embroidery or style lines. These pieces tend to be much more versatile than a basic tee. A good word of advice for any woman, purchasing a top with horizontal stripes can create width where usually you do not want it. For slender women, this can be a plus; but for many women with curves, this creates a larger silhouette. Vertical stripes create length, hence creating a much more slender appearance.
Also, when purchasing a basic tee shirt, beware of the material the shirt may be made of. Some shirts have added stretch using Lycra or Spandex, which can be comfortable, but if purchased a size too small, it can create a suctioned-to-the-skin effect, which may or may not be what you desire.
Reassess Your Closet
Finally, do a style audit. Get rid of things that you never wear. Holding onto them may just be holding you back from evolving your personal style. Categorize what you have left. Casual, dressy, special occasion — look at each piece. Ask yourself what pieces work together, and where would you wear them. You may even want to take pictures of these outfits for later and build a library of go-to looks for certain occasions. This process will help you find “holes” in your wardrobe. You might discover you need a casual jacket or pants, and this process will keep you on track.
Everyone should own a great white shirt. It is a wardrobe essential that makes getting dressed easy for any occasion.
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