How To Make Your Graphic Tees Look Adult Lady Appropriate

I’m probably too old for graphic tees, but I refuse to let ‘em go. And why should I have to? Hmmmmm?

Nov 23, 2012 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

I think it’s really tacky to keep things after a breakup. I get it: Your heart may hurt (owww) and their "30 Rock" season two DVDs seem like a fair trade, but stop being an asshole and give people back their property.

Stealing, even stealing prompted by pain, is just sorta a d-move. That being said: If my ex-boyfriend thinks I am ever, ever giving back his “Future Trophy Wife” shirt, he is out of his goddamn mind. 

It’s not that I feel resentment toward him (I don’t) or that I miss our relationship so deeply that I need this tangible piece of proof to remind myself we loved each other (I don’t). It’s just that I really, really, really love graphic tees. Like, really. So much so that whenever I’m home visiting my mom, my priorities go:

1. Eat food in mom’s kitchen,

2. Talk to my family dog about the current state of my love life like she’s a person, and

3. Go to Delias and hit up that graphic tee wall.

Heaven help me on the day I actually do buy a "Pretty Little Liars" shirt about the love between a 17-year-old and her English teacher who may or may not be involved with the murder of her best friend. But I digress.

I’m probably too old for graphic tees, but I refuse to let ‘em go. And why should I have to? Hmmmm? Especially when it’s so damn easy to get creative with styling and make them Adult Lady Appropriate. 

I’m going to die wearing a graphic tee, probably. And I am totally okay with it. Viva La Graphic Tee!

Avoid Equally Teen-Tastic Items

I love my Converse. I love hoodies. And clearly I love graphic tees. But paired together, the look is a bit sophomoric. And I mean that both as the dictionary definition of the word and also “like a sophomore in high school who got dropped off at the mall by their mom.” 

Throw a Statement Necklace On It

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“Throw a statement necklace on it” is my go-to for so many sartorial issues. They just seem to make everything look a bit more elegant, which is ideal when you’re wearing a decidedly not elegant garment of clothing. Go for collars, like the one I’m wearing here, or statement necklaces that hit your collarbone, just below where neckline of the T-shirt is. 

Avoid Ultra-Trendy Pieces

I know, I know. Statement necklaces are technically a trend, but they kinda aren’t now? Because they’ve been around for so long? And, like, J.Crew sells them? Anyway. This is similar to the “avoid teen-tastic items” rule. Graphic tees paired with, say, colored denim or leopard print really youngs ‘em down. Instead, pair your shirt with more structured, classic pieces.  

Pair It With a Skirt

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As a teenager, my go-to outfit was a graphic tee, impossibly skinny jeans, and some sort of Hot Topic belt deal. Nowadays, I prefer to contrast the graphic tees against something a bit more feminine. I love the look of the t-shirt tucked into a skirt and it’s especially pretty with a maxi skirt in the summer. 

Put a Blazer On

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I don’t know if this look (if only for the words on the shirt) is exactly “business casual,” but hey. It’s an outfit with a sense of humor, which I’m always down with. I like to put a blazer on over my less stylish graphic tees, the ones I found in a pile at a thrift store or, you know, stole from a previous boyfriend. 

Layer Under It

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Okay, okay, okay. Yes, technically this is a graphic sweatshirt, not a graphic tee, but like six of one, right? That plaid shirt is sleeveless with studs all over the shoulders, which, uh, isn’t really my style, but it’s san-sleeve style makes it ideal for layering. I love the look of a collar peaking out almost as much as I love the message that this sweatshirt conveys. 

Graphic Tees That I Love A Lot And Think You Should Buy And Send To Me:

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Title Unknown Oversized Rose Slub Tee, $29, Urban Outfitters

This shirt, plus a leather circle skirt, plus black tights, plus a top bun. Think about it and get back to me. 

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The End T-Shirt, $25.90, Zara.

So, we all agree that Zara has gotten, like, 100 times better in the past few years, yeah? Cool. Good talk. Oh, pair this with a military jacket. Done.

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ASOS T-Shirt With Meow Print, $24.63, ASOS

What if all my clothes started having allusions to cats? That’d be cool, right? Wear this, but not with your hands like that model, obviously. 

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The End Rev Tee in Bourgeois Blue, $24, KarmaLoop.

This is kinda morbid. I’m so into it. 

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Kanye West Face Sketch Tee, $19.99, Urban Outfitters.

Urban Outfitters’s men’s department always has the greatest graphic tees. It’s where I got my Are You Afraid of the Dark one and my Bob Ross one. Really wonderful selection. 

All of these pix were taken by my really talented roommate Kait Robinson.