Girl power with graphic tees

How To Style Graphic Tees Thriftily

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I came up with the idea of how to style graphic tees when Nancy suggested showstopping graphic prints. Graphics can be interpreted in many different ways, and because society has gotten more casual in the last 10 years, I wanted to showcase how my family wears graphic tees. Even my husband.

Quote of the day: “In sports, one of the primary sources of advantage is choosing how to play the game. In life, one of the primary sources of advantage is choosing which game to play.” James Clear

This quote struck me as golden. Because many people decide to stop playing the style game when they get older, their bodies change, or for a variety of other reasons.

But as visual animals, how we get dressed can not only impact how we feel, but it plays a huge role in how other people perceive us and thus treat us.

So as someone who believes in the power of how we present ourselves, the idea of how to wear graphic tees doesn’t mean you have to be sloppy.

This is in no way the first time we have talked about how to style graphic tees, so I hope you’ll check out my other articles.

Why You Might Want to Wear a Graphic Tee

I’ve had women say they don’t want people looking at their chest so they don’t wear a graphic tee.

I get it. But not all graphic tees need to be read. Some are photos, and most people react positively if the message is good.

The real advantage of these tees is that they distract from other things. You can spill on them and you don’t notice it. You can sweat in them and the focus is the graphic. AND if you aren’t comfortable with the bottom half of your body, this is for you.

PLUS, you can find them inexpensively either in the widget below OR at your favorite thrift store.

Insider tip: If you are thrifting or even shopping brick & mortar, don’t forget to check:
1- Men’s and kid’s sections. Even if the kid’s shirts are too small, you could cut off the fabulous graphic and sew it onto a plain t-shirt.
2-Sleepwear. No one needs to know that your tee was made to be sleepwear.

3 Options of How to Style Graphic Tees

Any graphic tee can be a fabulous foundational piece for your closet. The three of us are showing 3 different options of toppers that can be worn over them.

While there are even more ways to layer over your graphic tees (like with a vest), don’t stop there. You can layer under them too.

Insider tip: Here are ideas for layering under a graphic tee.
1-With a long sleeve t-shirt
2-Try a turtleneck
3-Even a blouse (if you don’t like the buttons showing through the material, slide a cami over the blouse and under the t-shirt).
4-Halftees make a great option for layering under items since they will give you coverage for your arms or neck but not around your midriff. Insider discount code: Jtouch20

And since this prompt came for our Thrifty 6 group, we made sure to include as many thrifted items as possible.
Remember, great style is not limited by budget.

Graphic tees as a foundational layer

Rob-How to Style Graphic Tees Under Other Shirts

This is Rob’s favorite way to put together his daily look —throw a button-up shirt over a t-shirt. Sometimes it’s a solid tee but other times he incorporates a graphic t-shirt.

Any man or woman can do this trick easily.

Here are the types of button-up shirts you may already have in your closet:
1-Denim shirt
2-Classic white blouse
3-Button-up sleep shirts
5-Button-up tunics
6-Silky blouses

Insider tip: Don’t categorize a button-up as office-appropriate or dressy. Be the boss of your clothes and wear them with anything.

Graphic tees secondhand

Charlotte-How to Style Graphic Tees Under Cardigans

Cardigans are a wonderful option to layer over any t-shirt. My mom recently picked up this “Girl Power” t-shirt at an estate sale.

The grey t-shirt had bits of pink in it, so my mom wore pink jeans, a pink cardigan as well as her pink sneakers.

The accent color comes from her bubblegum wrapper purse that was found at a vintage market.

Notice how the silhouette of cardigans in the widget has changed to shorter, more fitted cardigans. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear your long ones. Just remember you can flip them upside down to crop them like I showed in this video (they can be open or closed).

Cactus graphic tee with cactus purse

Jodie-Blazers or Jackets Worn Over a Graphic Tee

Blazers or jackets are my first thought when adding spice to a t-shirt. And with this example of how to style graphic tees, I mixed all kinds of prints and styles to create a unique look.
I like to think I’ll never run into someone wearing my exact outfit.

For all of you women who purged your blazers when you retired, here’s your sign to pick some up thrifting or when you see them for a steal.
They are such a fabulous way to add personality and dichotomy to a look.

In fact, check out how the youngin is wearing it in the Urban Outfitters option below. Seriously, cool chick meets tweed blazer. Maybe you wouldn’t show as much naked leg, but a lot of inspiration can be found there.

Insider tip: Don’t worry if your blazer or jacket doesn’t close in the front. Most of us leave them open, and when they are smaller like that, you can see the shirt under it better. Just because What Not To Wear always talked about the girls being “locked and loaded”, doesn’t mean that applies anymore. You are retired now, so the girls get to be free.

You should definitely sign up for the emails below. Besides the free eBook, my email family gets personal tidbits of what’s going on in my life along with other happenings, sales, information, giveaways, extra photos, and interesting articles.

Thrifty 6 with Graphic Prints

You can see how 6 different women interpret them individually. Even though I concentrated on how to style graphic tees, that wasn’t the case with everyone else.

With the fashion and textile industry being a major contributor to landfills and other environmental pollution, we decided to make it the mission of this little group to focus on second-hand items. Every month we will choose a theme and share our styles with you to hopefully inspire you to shop more preloved and less fast fashion.

We are looking for another member of our Thrifty 6 group as Grace is having to step down. Please reach out if you would be interested.

Insider tip: If there aren’t many wonderful secondhand shops near you, then I included a list of online shops that I love at the end of this post.

Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge

“I found this amazing faux leather trench coat for $10 at a thrift shop in North Carolina during my recent road trip and it was perfect for this traffic stopping theme. I combined it with a “No Bad Vibes” graphic tee that belonged to my sister, striped jeans, ankle boots, and a floral print neckerchief that were all thrifted a few years ago, and earrings that I picked up at our local flea market for a mostly thrifted outfit that is fun and colorful. There was no traffic to stop, however, when I took these photos.” 

Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style

“Could not resist this skirt from Vinted as the print attracted me so much. Graphic prints for me are these kind a psychedelic prints. But I Googled it to be sure and band tees, and all that, are considered graphic too apparently. So you might think totally different of what graphic prints are, that’s okay.
If you know me a bit, you know that I like to wear prints (if I wear them!) with simple black pieces. It is still chilly here so I needed to wear something warm in the form of a cozy cardigan. And my beloved suède ankle boots.”

Emma of Style Splash

“When I saw this jacket on Vinted I thought it was actually crocheted, that’s how good the print is. I got chatting with the seller and she told me she’d bought it in Spain. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I wanted it to really stand out so I’ve layered it over a solid red base of River Island top and trousers. With so many colours in the print I have plenty of styling options…pink, purple or blue trousers. That’s the great thing about bright graphic prints!!”

Jane of Preloved-Vintage-Handmade

“When I heard the T6 theme for March was ‘Traffic Stopping Graphic’, I immediately thought of this top.
To me it’s the definition of ‘graphic’ – graphic art or Pop Art.
The exaggerated 1950’s comic strip style artwork is so striking and saturated primary colours just smack you in the face!
Stand me in front of traffic and watch me make it stop!”

Grace of Graceful Rags

“I always think graphic tees are so cute, but I don’t own any myself! So I had to get creative with my outfit for this month’s challenge, opting for a ‘graphic print’ instead (if that’s even a thing—when I look up graphic print, it doesn’t look anything like my thrifted dress, but the bold, geometric pattern is certainly reminiscent of block printing). My earrings and purse are also secondhand, and I chose over-the-top striped sunglasses for a little bit of pattern mixing. Since nothing else in my outfit is quite traffic-stopping worthy, I threw on my boldest pink lipstick to complete the look! I can’t wait to wear this out for our next karaoke night.”

Online Thrift Stores

These are the ones I’ve used more than once (except Swap, but it comes highly recommended by a friend)
thredUpthis link gives you $10 (and me in return).
Poshmark — here is the post about how to shop the site.
Preworn-Get 25% off with code YPSYSE before March 24, 2024
Uncommon Closet— nonprofit to help women.
Gild the Lily–a local Michigan store that sells online.

How to style graphic tees for older women & men

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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Welcome to Jodie’s Touch of Style. I’m here to prove that it’s never too late to look great. Clothing and style are meant to showcase your inner personality. So let’s have fun and try new things.

It’s not just about me on this blog, but also my mother and friend. We get to showcase not only different decades of life but also different body shapes and unique personal styles.

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