Sunday, 23 September 2012

How to Wear Casual Basics... With a Twist

To be honest, comfort is not my main priority when it comes to clothes shopping - if I buy a T-shirt or sweatshirt, it's because I'm thinking about how I can use it to tone down or edge up other things in my wardrobe, or, more likely, because I. just. can't. leave any kind of Take That or My Little Pony merchandise on the rail. But it's always fun experimenting with ways to style them which don't make you look like you've just rolled out of bed, or stolen your outfit from a tween.

A grey marl tee, white and black vest tops, denim shirt and neutral-toned knits are absolute musts for your "capsule" wardrobe, for adding a thrown-together edge to more high-octane separates, such as mini, midi and maxi skirts, and teaming with skinnies and a statement necklace or blazer for an easy chic look on those days when you don't have the time or energy to try too hard, or don't want to look like you've tried too hard... But in this post I'm going to concentrate on making a graphic tee or sweatshirt the focal point of a slightly more unusual look.

My three secret weapons for dressing up a tee or sweatshirt are leather, pencil skirts and colour, in any combination. I've seen some great grunge-fairy type looks, pairing them with floaty mixis and maxis or frothy tutus, but I tend to prefer a sharper silhouette.

With the Band

Leather skinnies and fierce ankle boots always look good teamed with a band tee for a classic rock chick look, balancing out and sharpening up a slouchy silhouette. Grey trousers, rather than the obvious black, give a bit of a twist, and tone in with a black and white photo print tee - try teaming coloured trousers with a coloured print tee if you're brave! A classic boyfriend blazer smartens the ensemble up without detracting from its carefree vibe.

T-Shirt: Primark (SS12)
Trousers: H&M (Past Season)
Blazer: Peacocks (Past Season)
Boots: Primark (Past Season)

The Coloured Pencil

A pencil skirt embues any ensemble with a touch of elegance and vintage-referenced put-togetherness, but bright colours hint at a subversive edge. You can leave a loosely-skimming tee or sweatshirt untucked for a more casual feel, or cinch in for a more ladylike vibe both. In terms of colour palette, the skirt shade can pick out tones in the top, clash with them or contrast against neutrals to add zing. Neon, true brights, muted shades and rich tones can all work. Team with colour pop heels to play on the fun vintage feel, or tough ankle boots to assert your rock chick credentials.

Look 1 - Sweatshirt: Primark (SS12); Skirt: Primark (Past Season); Boots: Primark (Past Season)
Look 2 - T-Shirt: Primark (SS12); Skirt: Limited Collection at Marks & Spencer (SS12); Shoes: Primark (SS12)

Going All The Way

And for the ultimate rock chick glamour puss effect, a leather pencil skirt can't be beaten. Try rocking coloured leather if you're after even more impact.

T-Shirt: Primark (Past Season)
Skirt: Topshop (Past Season)
Boots: Primark (Past Season)

Tomorrow: How to stay warm and look hot into AW: Essential transitional jackets and coats

See more posts featuring T-shirts and sweatshirts here

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