Style and Styling

Style a Plain White Tee

3 Winning Ways for 2022

Happy day, Reader Dear!

Why a white tee? Because they are a warm weather staple for many a woman! Maybe you? AND you find a white tee on every Must-Have dressing list. Yes, those lists are rubbish BUT I see the list items in many a closet.

So let’s work with what’s already there.

The white tee is the Rodney Dangerfield of tops. It gets no respect.

But it should.

The white tee lets the other pieces of the outfit shine!

Just because a white tee is a basic doesn’t mean it can’t have style. You just need to give it something to work with!

Let’s flash forward, get current, and style that white tee three ways that feel right for 2022!

PSA: It’s time to remind you that our mission here at Closet Play Image is to inspire you with Bright Ideas for Your Style and Your Wardrobe! When you find something useful, illuminating, or simply amusing, please share the joy with a friend OR on social media. Pin on Pinterest if you like! Style is not just a hobby; it’s my business. While you’re being supportive, please sign up for my monthly newsletter; there I share highlights and random special content (and offers) only for newsletter subscribers. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it? Thank you for helping me keep the lights on and internet up and running! You’re cooler than a white tee worn by James Dean! XO

White Tee + Midi Skirt + Espadrilles

This Outfit Recipe flashes back to the recent French Girls Style Grows Up post! If you follow my capsule wardrobe posts (Find Spring here.), you might wonder where this skirt fits in. Well, fits is the operative word. I’ve been working on eating more healthily and moving more, so my green and blue midi-skirts don’t fit properly any more. I’m trying to decide whether to alter them or simply pass them along.

Huge dangly hoops and a straw bag complete the look. Simple. Easy. Stylish.

Tuck in the tee or knot it at the waist. A cropped tee would be fabulous with the long line of the skirt. For a cool evening, I’d top this with my jean jacket or biker jacket for some edge. Maybe a cardigan for a sweeter vibe. (Not likely. If I wore the cardie, I’d go for chunky lace up boots to take down the sweet. I’m contrary like that!)

White Tee + White Jean + Pumps

I’ve been obsessed with Italian style since my Staycation “in” Capri. Sooooo, let’s channel some Italian street style! Italians LOVE their all white looks. And so do I! (It’s good for my cool, light coloring.) And their heels! Although most of the all white Italian street looks I see are accented with gold, I’ll stick with silver, thank you. It’s better for my coloring.

If your coloring is warm, avoid bright whites and look for natural or ivory denims. (Sometimes called Natural, Chalk, Muslin or Undyed.) A soft warm white or ivory tee will be more flattering, too! I know one warm complexioned beauty who buys the bright whites and dyes them with tea to take the cool edge off. Then you can go Italian street style and wear ALL the gold jewelry!

White Tee + Pleated Skirt + Colored Bag

Pleats, please! Pleats are having another style moment. They were in. Then they were out. Now they’re back in again. Styles are cycling so quickly now that there’s no keeping track! You do you. If you love pleats, wear them. If you don’t, don’t.

Knotting the belt feels softer than buckling it does. Green sandals play in the same color family with the skirt. Why the pink bag? Green and red are across the color wheel from each other (Pink is a tint of red.) and are natural complements. A multicolor leather bracelet and silver hoops finish the look.

Oodles of White Tee Styling Ideas…

I’ve written about white tees more than once before. Mostly with jeans!

White Tee + Jeans

White Tee + NOT Jeans

White Tee + Jeans Redux (And where to wear them. This was 2020 and I was deep in fantasy land…)

White Tee + Jeans… Palette Cleanse

How About You?

Are you a white tee wearer? Have you ever used tea to dye fabrics? Do any of these Outfit Recipes feel like you? Which? How would you style yours? Does an all white look scare you? How do you feel about a skirt for casual wear? Does that feel right? How do you feel about the return of the maxi? (Yes, apparently the midi is on its way out… But for how long?) Do tell! I’ve saved a little corner of the interwebs just for you…

Stylishly yours,

20 Comments

  • Gail Joan McKelvey

    A suggestion for all on inexpensive t-shirts. I get ALL of my summer t-shirts at Wal-Mart. Sometimes in the women’s sometime in the men’s. The women’s have a ton of colors and they wash and wear well. I don’t expect them to last forever, but I usually get a couple seasons out of them at the least.

  • Gail Joan McKelvey

    Love all three of these looks and the suggestion to dye the t-shirts! I did that exact thing for my wedding veil, but it never crossed my mind for anything else! Thank you so much and have a good Easter weekend!

    • Liz K

      Thank you, Gail! How did you do tea dye for your veil? Hot tea? Cold? Did you leave it long? Do you remember? I’d love to know!

      • Gail McKelvey

        A strong solution of cold tea and I think I just put it in a sink…don’t remember how I would have cleaned that out though! I don’t remember how many bags I used either. I know I made it hot solution on the stove in a sauce pan and then added it to cold water in a full sink. Swished around with my hands and then added the netting for an overnight soak, which probably was closer to 12 hours. Rinsed it well in the morning and hung to dry. Now, it was a very very simple veil…just netting and for the wedding I added a comb affixed with fresh flowers to match the ones in the church. I had already gathered the netting to squish down to the size of my comb. It is amazing how far down you can get it to squish. My idea, but the florist fashioned the comb for me. I had a simple off-white dress and didn’t want a fru-fru white veil. I of course looked “simply” (get it, Haha) stunning!!!!

        • Liz K

          Give me ALL the puns, Gail! And thank you for sharing more information about how you dyed your veil! I can see overnight being good, especially for tulle/netting. I expect cotton wouldn’t need as long a soak!

  • Gill Hormann

    Hi Liz, I’m Gill from Dunedin, New Zealand. I found your YouTube videos last week and have been greatly enjoying a deep dive into your blog back catalogue! So, many thanks for all the inspiration and enjoyment they have given me. I’ve recently chosen to add white tees to my wardrobe. I never quite got the hang of them in the past, but perhaps that was due to my then copper/red dyed hair. Some decades later I’ve gone blonde to blend in my ever-increasing (all natural!) platinum streaks and I find the humble white tee increasingly useful, especially teamed with a colourful necklace! Also, loved your Urban look from the Style Reset post, white tee teamed with grey trousers – genius, and you looked great in it!

    • Liz K

      Glad to meet you, Gill from Dunedin! The color change of going lighter and cooler makes a huge difference it what suits us!

    • Liz K

      I’ll be starting another cohort of my Style Reset group in June, Natalie. Newsletter subscribers will be some of the first to find out more information, so if you aren’t already on my newsletter list, sign yourself up!

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, I have tea dyed many white skirts and shirts in my day because ivory just looks much better on me!! I even tea dyed my white lamp shades in my living room. My mother did interior design (she decorated peoples homes for years!!) and she said they look great!! She couldn’t believe I had the nerve to do it!! Yes, tea dyed items are nice for us warm skinned ladies!!!

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, He has risen!!! Amen!!!! I wear skirts only so I feel great wearing skirt anytime!! So very happy pleats are in and that maxi’s are back in!! I love pleats and maxi’s but I must admit I just will wear what looks good on me!!! That’s how I’m rebeliouus!!! I do follow fashion but not so much that I’m a slave to it!! Liz, since gaining weight my mother tells me I’m too heavy to wear a white shirt. I wasn’t self concious until she told me this. Now all I see when I wear a white tee on it’s on is how large I look!!! I still enjoy larger white linen long sleeve button-downs. My best friend is helping me go through clothing and I can’t even release two sizes smaller!!! What is this about?!! I know I need to but I can’t seem to do it!! I love your post!!!

    • Liz K

      I want to have a stern talk with your mother, Natalie! If you want to wear a white tee, wear it. You don’t have to take what she says to heart. I wish those we love would think before being “helpful”. I know it’s a lesson I, too, need to learn with my own family. I’m working on it, though! Pleats and maxis are everywhere this season so it looks like you’ll be shopping happy!

      • Kathleen McDermott

        I don’t think that’s true. I see women of all sizes and shapes wearing white tee shirts – if the tee fits well, is cut for a women and is a nice cotton/fabric, it looks good.

  • Jane

    Do you have any recommendations for white crewneck tees that aren’t too sheer yet still affordable?! I feel like I can’t make my white t-shirts last more than a couple of summers before the discolored arm pits get them moved to the rag bin.

    • Liz K

      I understand, Jane! I won’t buy a pricey white tee because in our Georgia heat, I’m lucky to get one spring/summer/fall out of white. Tees have been getting more and more sheer and flimsy (What the brands like to call “lightweight” and “layering”) every year. I don’t know at what price point you are looking, but Lands’ End and Old Navy usually stock sturdy plain white tees. I’ve heard raves about Madewell’s white tees. I’ve been known (more than once) to buy a multi-pack of the Hanes mens undershirts. Men’s tees are less sheer, so looking in the boys and mens’ department can help. unless you want a more feminine neckline.

    • Kathleen McDermott

      Gildan tees. Several women’s styles. They are cut for women – not straight, but with a curve & flair. Look for missy fit. Can buy on Wordan’s or Amazon. Very inexpensive and lovely colors along with White. I have many. Look good not tucked due to the nice cut.

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