I Love My PWT: Three White Shirts and How to Wear Them

Wondering how to wear a white shirt? We’ve got you covered.

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I love my sequin, lace, and graphic tees as much as the next girl, but sometimes it’s nice to go back to the basics — enter the plain white tee (or as I like to call it, the PWT): a shirt so versatile that you can dress it up, down, or over the moon.

It’s the perfect go-to piece for your lazy days, and as such, I’ve chosen three styles of this classic shirt: the T-Shirt, Oxford, and V-Neck, and styled them into three everyday-chic looks.

Want to see how to wear a white shirt and look fabulous? Read on!

How to Wear a White Shirt: The “T-Shirt”

Outfit set with white tshirt, velvet pants, black boots and bag.

Products: T-Shirt – Missguided, Pants – Madewell, Boots – Lulus, Bag – Lulus

For my first outfit, I’m going to go with old faithful — the plain old basic crew neck t-shirt.

While it’s a classic, that doesn’t mean this tee shirt is boring. In fact, far from it. Since it is so simple, it gives you a great chance to play with the rest of your wardrobe.

{RELATED POST: The Best Creative & Unique Ways to Style T-Shirts This Season}

To start off this outfit, I chose a bold colored pair of velvet pants. These pants act as the main visual in your outfit and work great when combined with this simple shirt. Then, to make this look more edgy, I chose these black boots with a detailed round zipper. Finally, I added a round textured bag.

The Collared T-Shirt

Outfit set with collared white t-shirt, black jeans, cheetah coat, white flats and a black bag.

Products: T-Shirt – Zara, Jeans – Urban Outfitters, Jacket – Lulus, Shoes – Lulus, Bag – Lulus

For outfit number two, I chose this collared t-shirt. Not only is this shirt another classic, but it’s also an important staple in any girl’s wardrobe. This top specifically is perfect for any occasion like a class presentation, job interview, or even an evening out with the girls.

Now I paired this shirt with skinny high waisted black jeans to keep it more casual. This leopard print coat is wonderful for the fall heading into winter weather. It also works nicely with the collar on the shirt, and the print brings together all the colors. Next I chose simple white flats to keep the outfit looking stylish and not overwhelming. Finally, I finished everything off with a cute black tote bag.

The V-Neck

Outfit set with a pantsuit, t-shirt, black bag and white flats.

Products: Pants – Princess Polly, Blazer – Princess Polly, T-Shirt – Madewell, Bag – Zara, Shoes – Zara

For my last outfit, I chose a relatively newer classic — the v-neck. Of all the shirts in this article, v-necks are my favorite because they are universally flattering: they show just enough skin and accentuate your neck while drawing attention to your face.

To start off this outfit, I mixed matching pants and a blazer. With blazers and especially pantsuits trending, I thought they would be a perfect pairing for the t-shirt. I love the mint green suit paired with the white T-Shirt; it gives the entire outfit a light feeling. This small black bag gives texture to the look, while these white flats are a fashion girl essential.

Shirt Recommendations

Group of white t-shirts

When it comes to white shirts, you can get them at absolutely any price point – from $10 to $100. But after lots of trial and error, I’ve found that Hanes will forever be my homegirl shirt brand.

Not only are Hanes tees cheap (about $10 dollars), but they also come in packs of 3-6 (depending on the quality of the shirt you choose). They’re loose, but not too loose, and just the right size for lounging or going out for a walk in the park.

If you wanna test them out, you can find these shirts for cheap at stores like Target, or just steal them from your boyfriend’s closet (always fun!).

Zara white shirt

Unfortunately, when it comes to finding the perfect button-up shirt, the search not as simple.

When looking for a button-up, you’re going to have to put in more effort and spend a little more money than when looking for a white tee. Try on different styles, and don’t give up if one doesn’t look right on you! Each button-up is different and will have a different cut, shape, and fit. But there WILL be one that’s going to look right on you, and when you find it, all that hard work will have paid off!

For a fun example, the button down from Zara above is super fun to play with because of the ruffles and seams.

J.Crew boy shirt

If you want something more classic, the J.Crew boy shirt above is a favorite at a slightly higher price point than Zara.


As with all outfits, your look is only as good as the accessories you wear. That said, accessories are especially important when you are wearing a plain white shirt! Your shirt is like a blank canvas; as such you will need to throw paint (or in this case, accessories) into the mix to take your outfit from boring to fun.

Easily Accessorizing a Plain White Shirt

There are many things you can pile on in order to dress up a plain white shirt; here are some key accessories that should be in any girl’s wardrobe arsenal.

  • Scarves – Scarves are ridiculously easy to throw on when you don’t have time to think about other accessories. For spring, look out for light scarves and during winter, look out for heavier ones in any color. They add a touch of color to your outfit and can be worn during any season depending on the material.
  • Rings – Rings are awesome, they add a touch of sophistication without distracting too much from the rest of your outfit. And since there are so many styles, they are a great way to express your individuality. Whether you’re trying to show off your sapphire green heart-shaped diamond ring, or your studded skull ring, you can’t go wrong with a little added sparkle in your look.
  • Bracelets – Bracelets, like rings, can add some interest to your outfit without being too showy. They look great piled on or just worn solo- especially with a plain shirt. If you’re going to pile them on though, make sure that you don’t overdo it with any other jewelry. Balance is key.
  • Necklaces– Necklaces come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Because of that, it’s important to have a collection of all types because you never know what will go with your outfit. When I wear a plain white tee, I love to rock a statement necklace, making it the focal point of my outfit – it’s an instant attention grabber! The blue floral necklace above, as well as the jeweled black one, are both good examples of statement-making necklaces. They’re fun and different, which will make your your outfit stand out from the rest.
  • Colorful or Different Shoes – When you are wearing a plain shirt, it’s fun to step out of your comfort zone elsewhere in your look. Instead of wearing some boring old sneakers, why not go for some ruby red flats or statement-making high tops? The basic shirt will balance them out.
  • Belts – Belts are among those accessories that I love but often forget about. They’re great because they not only keep your pants up but can also make your outfit way more interesting and put-together in one swoop.

When it comes down to it, you can rock almost anything with a white tee: just make sure it’s unique. You want to stand out and not blend in; that’s what makes your outfit cool rather than boring. So wear that cute headband you have been wanting to try on or those red boots that are hard to style; your white shirt is a vehicle to take risks, so go for it!

Thoughts on how to wear a white shirt?

Do you like plain white shirts? What do you wear yours with? Do you have a favorite brand of shirt? What do you think of the outfits I put together? Let me know your thoughts on PWTs; I can’t wait to hear them!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2010; it was completely updated and revamped in 2019 with new photos and information.

36 thoughts on “I Love My PWT: Three White Shirts and How to Wear Them”

  1. I’m so glad to see someone use the term “homegirl”! I’ve been trying forever to figure out what someone’s “HG product” was on MA. And thanks so much for the Hanes suggestion! I’m definitely interested in trying out some PWT’s, but didn’t want to spend too much on a style I might not like. The Hanes shirts are a perfect solution! <3

  2. It’s super hard to find the white button up shirt! I’ve been looking for the perfect one since forever! But yes, white tees and white shirts are essential to my closet. Great article btw!

  3. I´ve always found JCrew´s shirts a perfect fit because they are not too loose so that you look either boxy or that you stole them from you mom´s Martha Steward inspired outfit.

    I´ll try Hanes tees, see if they really live up to the expectation.

    Thank you for the advice!

  4. So I read this yesterday and decided that today would be a great day to wear a plain white tee (I chose to wear a vneck with a pretty cardi) and whaddya know, like 5 million other girls on campus were wearing the same thing 🙂

  5. I love white tees! They are probably one of the best articles of clothing to have in your closet along side a great pair of fitted jeans. White tee’s are perfect for every season, as you can add on others to make them more versatile. Not to mention, with spring here and summer on the way, they help bring out your tan! Wearing a white tee also makes it looks like you didn’t try too hard, even though you can still look fab.

  6. Some great ideas and inspiring outfit options!

    For me personally, though, other than the white dress shirt, I prefer my basics to be in black. It’s a flattering colour, an excellent contrast to my pale skin, goes well with both the vivid and the pastel colours in my wardrobe and, best of all, is much easier to keep clean! Nevertheless, I believe the concept is very much the same, regardless of whether the items in question are black or white. ^_^

    Thanks for posting!

    <3 from pretty-preoccupied.blogspot.com

  7. I practically live in plain white shirts. My only problem is sheerness. Even my nude colored bras show. I will definitely check out hanes.

  8. love this article- very inspiring!!
    i particularly love outfit 2 :]]]
    i always associated a white shirt with school or a job interview so I love this fresh take :]]]

    (girl next door fashion)

  9. I didn’t like the fit of Hanes boys tees. They fit really boxy and were not cut for a woman with curvy frame. I’d suggest buying Heritage 1981 tees instead; they’re super cheap and fit great.

  10. I have two out of the three (no crew neck) and this gave me some really stupendous ideas of how to wear them! Thank you.

  11. I love white tees.
    Those ones int he Hanes packs seem to be mens though. How should I go about buying them in order to get a perfect fit?

  12. Nice one! Love your ideas! Those three white shirts are a must have in any women’s wardrobe!

    Milana from FashionStyleAdvice


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