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?
Publish date:
November 23, 2012
t-shirts, graphic t-shirt

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

“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

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

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

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:

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

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.

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.

This is kinda morbid. I’m so into it.

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.