We’re all bound to have one kicking around our wardrobes somewhere: an inexplicably large men’s tee shirt that leaves us looking for ways to wear an oversized tee. They worm their way into out closets as freebies that come with a box of washing powder, or as the complimentary gift commemorating you’ve finished a fun run. Invariably, we simply throw them to the back of a little-used shelf and forget they exist until it’s time to paint the house or wash the dog and then we haul them out to be used as makeshift overalls. Surprisingly, however, this is not necessarily all they’re good for. I’ve had a bit of a think and put together this list of 15 creative ways to wear an oversized tee.
1. Deal with the Sleeves
No matter what you plan to do with your shirt, the chances are good that you’re going to have to alter the sleeves. This is not a difficult project to undertake: simply get going with your scissors and trim the arms until they resemble the style you have in mind. Remember, unless you're keen to achieve that scruffy ‘unfinished’ look, you’ll probably need to add a basic hem to neaten things up.
2. As a Belted Tunic
This works best with tees that are longer in the body and not too wide across the shoulder. If you happen to have one that approximates this shape, simply add a narrow leather belt to define the shirt at the waist and wear over a pair of opaques or footless leggings. If you’re keen on this idea but your tee is too wide at the top, do a little sewing research; you’ll find that altering it to fit your body is not impossible.
3. Off the Shoulder
Break out the scissors and carefully cut your tee from the point of one shoulder to the point of the other. Take care to trim across the collar evenly on both the front and the back and, voila, you’ve got a retro, eighties inspired shirt. Nip the waist in with a belt and wear with a good strapless to bra to maximise the bare shouldered effect.
If you’ve got the abs to pull it off, you might want to experiment with an early nineties wide fitting cropped look. Put on the shirt and make a mark where you’d like it to sit once you’ve cut it, then take it off again and get to work with a pair of scissors. Make sure you cut neatly and straight, and, unless you’re going for that grungy, DIY feeling, leave room so that you can sew a simple hem.
5. Tied up
If you’re lucky enough to have the midriff to rock a cropped tee, you might be keen to try an alternative take on the shorter top. If your shirt is very long, trim it so that it sits just under your hips, then cut a shortish slit going about a quarter of the way up towards the neck. Pull the two pieces of fabric into tails and knot these together so that your shirt sits at the level you’re most comfortable with. You might want to take your shears to the sleeves as well.
6. Vest It
This variation does require a little more sewing than the others mentioned so far, but it’s not too difficult, and the result is a cool, shabby-chic longer length tank top. Basically, you need sketch the outline of your vest onto the shirt, cut it out, and then pin it to fit your body. Once this is done, get to work with the sewing machine and in no time at all you’ll have a cute, new tank to wear.
7. With a Hip Belt
This is a pretty simple solution. Simply alter your shirt as you see fit (cut it so it falls off the shoulder, for example) and then tuck it into a wide leather belt worn around your hips. The look is slouchy, casual, and goes well with skinnies, shorts and leggings.
8. Customised and Embellished
You can further personalise and revitalise your customised tee by adding a little interest to the plain cotton fabric. Sew on some beading, for example, or, if you’re something of a needlepoint whiz, work in some basic embroidery. You don’t need to go for frumpy florals or any thing too kitsch; instead, opt for a basic pattern – a series of tiny stars, for example.
9. Rolled up Sleeves
One of the easiest ways to make a large oversized t-shirt wearable is by rolling up the sleeves. You will be surprised to see how such a small change in detail can affect the overall look. In the end you will achieve more of a tough tomboy look with a little bit of edge. And if you end up liking the way it looks, just sew the sleeves in a rolled position to prevent them from unrolling in the future!
10. Pair It with a Blazer
Big plain tee shirts can make a great combination with a nice blazer. The shirt will serve as a blank canvas and the blazer will add more of a feminine touch, giving your body a little bit of a curve that you might loose with an oversized shirt. This look is so popular that you can even see many celebrities sporting it in daily life and even on the red carpet!
11. Pair with Statement Jewelry
One big perk about having an oversized shirt is that you can take your outfit in any direction you would like. You can make your appearance more grungy by incorporating more dark pieces or add a hint of femininity by adding a few girly touches. Pairing your favorite statement jewelry with an oversized plain tee shirt can give you a trendy appearance without looking like you put that much effort into your outfit. Just roll up the sleeves, throw on some skinny jeans and put on jewelry and you'll be good to go!
12. Pair with Leggings
One of the best ways to work with a long shirt that goes below your butt is by pairing it with leggings and other great layering pieces. Leggings and tee shirt can construct a good core for your outfit that you can later spice up using other pieces from your wardrobe. You can even complete your outfit with a chunky sweater and your favorite pair of boots for a perfect fall look!
13. Tuck It in
Tucking your long tee shirts into your skinny jeans may be a simple move but it can result in a very cute and casual look. Whenever you wear something baggy on the top portion of your body, it's important to balance your outfit with skin tight bottoms so you don't loose your figure and drown in clothing!
14. Spice up the Back
If you are feeling a little bit creative, you should put your imagination to use and add some flavor to your plain and oversized tee shirt. For an intricate look, you can cut out a design in the back. It can be anything from simple patterned slits to hearts and skulls. The shirt will then appear plain in the front but reveal a party in the back! Not only will the shirt be one of a kind but you'll be proud to rock your own masterpiece!
15. Form a Boat Neck
One simple way to transform your old baggy tee shirt into a trendy statement piece is by simply cutting out a slouchy boat neck. You will still feel the comfortable freedom when wearing it just because of the baggy nature of the shirt but you'll also give out a flirtatious and sensual feel by revealing your shoulders. Don't be afraid to put your scissors to use because you might actually like the end result, and after all, it is an old shirt!
Most of us will find we have a couple of enormous t-shirts lying around. Whether they’re the ones your man never wears or something you’ve picked up for free during a weekly grocery shop, you’ll find that you can breathe a little life into them so they become useful additions to your wardrobe. That concludes my list of 15 ways to wear an oversized tee. Do you have anything to add to it?