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How to Dress up a T-shirt for (Almost) Any Occasion

All it takes is a little imagination and your favorite tee can take you anywhere. Here's how to dress up a T-shirt so you look great wherever you're off to.

Tee shirts are very comfortable and very versatile.

We all have them. We wear them under other clothes for comfort or warmth. We head straight for them when we get home after a long day at work. We even sleep in them.

Plain white tee shirts are inexpensive and can be worn with almost anything, anywhere. You can dress up a t-shirt for any occasion, for fun, or for a gift. If you have an artistic flair, you can bedazzle the bejabbers out of some tees for use or even sell.

A bit of color in the way of rhinestones, paint or embroidery can make a plain t-shirt really pop. In this post, we'll take a look at some ways you can easily dress up a t-shirt.

Dress up a T-shirt

First, we will look at the t-shirt itself and what you can do to give it a bit of a boost.

Sometimes we get caught off-guard and have to look a little dressier than we might appear at that moment. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

More Clothes

You can add a vest, either plain or something colorful, or a dress jacket to really dress up a t-shirt for a chic casual look. If you have a scarf, you can tie it around the waist or the neck to add a bit of color and style.

You can put a button-down blouse or shirt over top, left open or halfway open. Add some great shoes or a pair of casual heels to give the whole look a boost.

A plain tee worn under a sundress can give you a dressy look while still looking casual and comfortable.


Here's where you can let your imagination soar. You can add jewelry to yourself or the t-shirt.

Pins, brooches, neckwear, scarves, mix and match with your favorite purses, handbags and shoes.


If you have an artistic flair, you can paint or draw some designs of artwork right on the shirt. There are companies that will take your favorite work and put it on for you.

Having your kids decorate a t-shirt can also be very meaningful, as well as a conversational starter. It's the perfect way to take the artwork off the fridge and into the streets!

Dye It

Dying the t-shirt is another easy way to take the drab and make it fab. These can be easily done in the sink or with a washing machine.

If you want to go with a retro look, give tie-dye a try. You can add as many colors as you like for a funky and fun look. It's a great project for you and the kids.


There are paints and special pens you can get to draw, color and sparkle to dress up a t-shirt. This is a great idea if you have kids, as it makes a great project for them. You can have them draw right on the clothing or take a nice piece of their artwork and have it put on a tee shirt for art to wear.

You can draw something on, use a stencil, or go Jackson Pollock and splash it on however the mood moves you. It can be a lot of fun and give you and the family a very colorful and unique look.

Add your own stripes, polka dots, rainbows, and sunshine, or a drawing of the family pet. You can find a design for every day of the week.


There are ways you can dress up a t-shirt with a needle and thread. You don't need to be a clothing designer to make some fabulous designs. Even just sewing on some patches or decals can really dress it up.

You can add colorful fabric around the collar and cuffs of the sleeves and even the bottom of the tee. These can be remnants of old fabric you have around the house, and they don't even need to match.

What if you have an old, well-loved item of clothing you can no longer wear but are having a hard time parting with? You can use pieces of it to cut into shapes and sew on the t-shirt.

Not Just for You

Even the slightest bit of artistic flair will allow you to make some tee shirt designs. It's a great way to accessorize, in particular, if you are on a budget. It takes very little money or time to make something fun.

It's a fabulous project for kids to do and gives the t-shirts a one-of-a-kind look. You can also dress up a t-shirt as a gift. Something fun and colorful and handmade by you or your kids is a lovely and personal gift. It sure beats a gift card.

You can also make them in order start a fun and easy little home-based business for yourself. It can be an inexpensive way to make a little extra money and enjoy yourself, as well.

Giving Back

If you are looking for ways to do some fundraising for a charity or cause in your neighborhood or the kid's school, dressed up t-shirts are a great way to go about that.

Your overhead is low, as the t-shirts and materials will not cost a lot and it is a fun project. You can have people submit their designs for auction, you can have the kids make them or ask for artists to donate their time.

You can also use one particular design to give your charity a brand that people will recognize and appreciate. It becomes instantly recognizable and the image people remember.

Wearable Art

What better method to show off some artwork than on a dressed up t-shirt? It makes the perfect canvas, can be seen for free by lots of people, and it starts conversations.

It can be simple, it can be elaborate, it can be themed--its only limitations are your own imagination. There are even organizations that will print your own designs for you.

You can find out more about images and artists here.

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