Weekday/Weekend--The Embellished T-Shirt

I try to distinguish myself in a suit-and-tie world by dressing a little less corporate, but no less professional. I just hate fussing with collared shirts. The dress shirts are saved for my suit days; I try to avoid them on days when I don't need a suit.

It might surprise some people to learn that a large percentage of tops I wear to work are well-fitted t-shirts. It makes perfect sense to me, actually--they're easy to take care of (just throw it in the wash and dry cycle), and a good t-shirt lasts quite a while. However, by no means do I just roll into the office with a t-shirt-and-jeans combo (unless it is Friday, in which case I usually wear a blazer with the t-shirt). I like to dress it up with accessories and add a few layers to diffuse the casual, commonplace look.

Most of my t-shirts are black or gray--simple, streamlined, and fairly discrete backdrops for blazers, cardigans, and skirts. My newest t-shirt, however, is anything but discrete. When I ran out of clothes in Arizona a couple of weeks ago, I had to go to the mall to get something quick. I just love the pretty lavender color, the delicate chiffon embellishments, and the fact that the t-shirt is still machine-washable even with that frontal floral arrangement. The t-shirt turned out to work perfectly with the cropped pants that I wanted to wear for work, and it is so pretty that no one would see the t-shirt as a t-shirt.

I've been told that purple is a good color for me. I don't dispute that, but purple can be an awfully difficult color to work with. A purple top looks terrible with black pants or with light-wash blue jeans, which can make it difficult to wear no matter if it is a weekday or weekend. It seems like cream, beige, and light brown are the colors that contrast quite well. The addition of another shade of purple, fuschia, or a dark blue ties it all together rather nicely.

[Weekday: F21 cardigan, Ann Taylor Loft t-shirt, secondhand Banana Republic khaki skirt, Giuseppe Zanotti Design slingbacks.

Although t-shirts are by definition casual wear, I find that an embellished t-shirt is much harder to wear on the weekends. Perhaps it is because my weekend style is far from girly. After piling on a lot of jewelry, an indigo cardigan, shorts and boots, the prettiness adopts a sassy attitude.

[Weekend: Ann Taylor Loft t-shirt, Thakoon for Target cardigan, Calvin Klein shorts, cuff with chain detail was a Christmas gift, multiple rings from Etsy, Bandolino boots]


KWu said...

I agree with you about t-shirts making sense for work, but where do you go to acquire high quality and fitted t-shirts that are good bargains? I keep searching but it's been really frustrating and I'm not willing to shell out more than $30 unless I have some sort of guarantee that it'll wear well--really well.

Maya said...

i like your blog. i think the 'why pay more?' is just suits me
i like your boots btw

Sales Rack Raider said...

KWu--my favorite t-shirt happens to come from the Gap outlet for $12. Even after multiple washes, it looks great and fits very well. I always flip things inside-out before I wash them, and I think it has helped extend its life. I have another Gap t-shirt (under $10) that I'm pleased with.

I also recommend Splendid t-shirts. Although the tissue-thin variety doesn't hold up quite as well, the ones made with light- or medium-weight fabrics are sturdy, and I love them because they're very soft. I probably wouldn't pay full price for them, but sample sales and Nordstrom Rack have them at under $30 for sure. I try to load up on Splendid basics at their sample sales (running at about $10-15 apiece).

LA Made is another brand that I really like--great fit, soft fabrics, doesn't wrinkle much, definitely holds up well after multiple washings. I've seen them at Loehmann's for under $30 for sure.

I've also heard good things about James Perse t-shirts, although I have not tried them myself.


yiqin; said...

OMG the flowers on it are so pretty.

Elaine said...

I like this shirt! I've been seeing DIY tutorials around fashion blogs on how to do this and I bought a plain white V neck to test try it on. I'm excited!! I really like this embellished tshirt trend.

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks, Yiqin!

Elaine--I can't wait to see your DIY creation!

Eli said...

have you looked into wrinkle free clothes? I think thats why I hate collared shirts, but Ive actually been embracing them wrinkled. But Im sure you have to dress much more professional than I do. Or look into getting collared shirts in different fabrics. I think American Apparel makes great cotton collared tops. I also have some cool vintage polyester ones that I really like.

Sales Rack Raider said...

Eli--I do have some shirts that are fairly wrinkle-free, but I'm just not that into dress shirts because they look and feel constricting, and it's hard to keep them tucked in neatly. I'll wear them if I feel like looking especially sharp on a given day, but most of the time, I'll just wear a collarless blouse with the suit.

Alisa said...

Im sure you have to dress much more professional than I do.

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