This ensemble is centered around a graphic T-shirt, which for lack of a better description, I’ve called the “nostalgic tee”. It’s nostalgic because it’s a graphic of something very close to your heart, like your favourite rock band, artist, album cover, city, painting, type of animal, television character, cartoon character or breed of dog. There are countless more examples, but you get the general idea. 

Of course, this type of T-shirt is juvenile, a little sloppy, and very casual. But it can be made to look stylish and age appropriate if you add a sophisticated edge to the look, and just have fun with the concept. 2013 fashion is all about creating irregular outfit juxtapositions, and this is one way to do it. 

I stuck to neutrals and added a little colour, both bright and pastel. But feel free to adapt the outfit formula to suit any colour palette. Although I have put the tee/topper combinations into 4 groups, you can actually mix and match all of them.


Here are the components:

  • Nostalgic Tee: Pick a long or short sleeved nostalgic tee. I’ve found that photographic black and white versions tend to look the most “grown up”, but don’t let that stop you from wearing a colour or graphic that is not based on a photo. Try to find one that isn’t overly boxy for extra tailoring. But no worries if you can’t because the rest of the pieces will add structure. Tuck or untuck the tee. 
  • Pencil Skirt: The classic, crisp, dressy and feminine allure of a pencil skirt creates a striking contrast against the teenybopper tee. That’s precisely why I did not add a full skirt, jeans or trousers into this mix. The pencil skirt creates the most dramatic juxtaposition. 
  • Topper: Think moto jackets, bomber jackets, blazers, tux jackets, and leather trimmed utility and military jackets. You’re after luxurious fabrics and some tailoring in order to dress up the T-shirt and add extra chic. I left out the denim jacket because it’s a very casual option. Of course, if you’d prefer to add that to the mix, you’re welcome to do so. It will merely dress down the outfit. 
  • Footwear: Dressy stilettos, cage heels, strappy sandals and ladylike pumps are girly shoes that work well with pencil skirts no matter what. They provide a nice contrast against the relaxed vibe of the tee as well as match the structure of the topper. But think out of the box with a pair of dressy slipper flats, ballet flats, refined sassy sneakers or platform wedges. Just for fun!
  • Accessories: Finish off the ensemble with a dressy handbag — the modern clutch gets my vote — and jewelry as desired. A mini crossbody, chain handle bag and arm candy are other great options.

The juvenile nostalgic tee grew up when we matched it with dressy, refined and tailored pieces — the skirt, topper, shoes and bag. That’s what I mean by adding the “sophisticated edge”. The tee starts the ensemble with a little humour, and goodness knows we can all stand to laugh and smile more each day.