Style Upgrade: How to Dress Up Jeans and a T-Shirt

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How to Dress Up Basic Jeans and a T-Shirt

Street style woman in jeans
Dress up your basic jeans and t-shirt outfits. Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

When you build a wardrobe of perfect-fitting, comfortable jeans, you don't want to ever take them off. Many women reach for the basic style elements of jeans and a t-shirt as a go-to casual daytime outfit. But did you know that you can easily dress up jeans and a tee to look right for almost any occasion? We've got your style guide here for how to upgrade a jeans and t-shirt outfit, so you can wear these (not so) basics from running errands to wearing to the office, on to cocktails and even date night out. Get inspired by our easy, unboring outfit ideas for wearing jeans and a t-shirt fashionably.

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Wear a Great Coat

Street style checked coat and jeans
Street style in jeans and a graphic coat. Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Steal the number one style trick of fashion editors and use an eye-catching coat as a top layer to dress up all your basic outfits. Here, you can see how layering on a long coat in an attention-grabbing pattern instantly updates a basic weekend outfit of cropped black jeans and a white t-shirt and makes it street style worth. For a sophisticated look that works just about any time or place, including the office, choose a graphic black and white coat in a classic check as pictured. You could also opt for a hounds tooth plaid in grey or brown. Or, play up your whimsical side in coat with a more playful pattern, such as floral print or polka dots.

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With a Lady-Like Jacket for Work

Street style in jeans and a tweed blazer
Street style chic in jeans and a tweed blazer. Timur Emek/Getty Images

Does your office have denim-friendly days? Here's an easy way to wear jeans and a t-shirt to the office and look fashionable. You'll be comfortable and work-appropriate all day in this go-to outfit of high-waisted cropped jeans, a white tee and a Chanel-style hip length jacket in a nubby texture. What makes this unfussy outfit look right for work is the perfect fit of all the pieces and the high-quality accessories, which say you're ready for presentations or meetings with the boss. If you like to wear something at the neck, consider adding a skinny scarf or statement necklace.

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Add High Quality Accessories

Street style in jeans and a t-shirt
Designer accessories instantly dress up a t-shirt and jeans outift. Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

Dressing up jeans and a t-shirt doesn't have to mean adding other layers of clothing, On warmer days, when you want to bare your arms (and ankles), here's how to instantly dress up even the most casual, relaxed jeans and create a street style worthy outfit. Simply steal the fashion trick employed by the most stylish women in the world and add designer (or designer look) accessories to upgrade your outfit. A chic black leather bag, aviator sunglasses and quality footwear make your look appear more expensive from head to toe, for that "rich girl on the weekend" effect.

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With High Waisted Skinny Jeans

Street style in skinny jeans
Skinny jeans that fit perfectly add polish to your outfit. Christian Vierig/Getty Images

High-waisted skinny jeans are a women's fashion trend that's still going strong. This sexy jean cut flatters nearly all body types by magically smoothing curves on larger bodies and creating the look of them on straight figures. It's also a fashion-savvy way to add instant style to even the most basic outfit in jeans. We love the chic, casually clean look of a basic t-shirt and high-rise skinny jeans to create an instantly stylish silhouette. Be sure to tuck in the shirt at the waistband to get the full effect of the high waistline on these jeans. Add a little jacket for coverage and reach for high-quality accessories (such as the gorgeous nude heels and leather clutch purse pictured here) to take this outfit to the next level.

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With a Long Cardigan

Street style woman in jeans
Dress up your basic jeans and t-shirt outfits. Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

Here's an easy, stylish casual outfit you can wear from running errands to picking up the kids. A go-to casual day outfit of lightly distressed jeans and a white t-shirt gets a fashion upgrade, when you layer on a long, camel cardigan and a great-looking leather bag. This effortlessly chic outfit works for many season, flatters every figure and is comfortable to wear all day long. You can keep it real in this jeans look with easy ballet flats or sneakers, or dress it up a bit with ankle boots or platform sandals. 

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Add a Leather Jacket

Street style fashion in jeans
Dress up jeans and a t-shirt with a cute jacket. Timur Emek/Getty Images

Here's a fashionable way to style jeans and a basic white t-shirt for shopping in the city or meeting friends for lunch. Start with perfect-fitting jeans, such as the skinny jeans pictured here, and a simple tucked-in white tee. Then layer on a smart leather jacket in an unexpected color or pattern, as pictured here. Play with adding accessories, such as designer sunglasses and a great-looking bag, until you've got a look you feel great about. When choosing jeans for this look, consider an ankle crop that will show off fabulous shoes. You can wear distressed jeans for a downtown look, or upgrade this look with a clean, classic skinny pair.

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Black Jacket and Ripped Jeans

Street style ripped jeans
Dress up ripped jeans and a tee shirt. Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Sometimes you want to dress to impress the downtown crowd. Here's an easy jeans and a t-shirt look that fits right in at gallery openings, concerts and other occasions where the cool crowd gathers. Start with trendy distressed denim jeans, then layer on a basic, neutral-colored t-shirt and top with a tailored black jacket. You can add a cuff bracelet and chunky ankle boots for extra toughness. Or wear this chic look with gladiator sandals and a stylish bag, as pictured, to dress it up for date night out.

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Try a Double Denim Outfit

Street style double denim outfit
Street style double denim outfit. Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Double denim is a trendy fashion style -- but many women find it challenging to wear. Here's how to add a denim jacket to a basic jeans and a t-shirt outfit, to create a great outfit for  casual weekend hang-outs with friends. Start with a great-fitting pair of skinny jeans in a medium blue, vintage wash. Then add a boyfriend-style jean jacket (distressed details are optional). Add a designer (or designer-look) purse and easy sneakers, and you've got the perfect weekend outfit.

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With Black Jeans

Street style fashion in black jeans
Black and jeans and a white tee are city cool. Christian Vierig/Getty Images

When you've got no time to pull together a dressy outfit, try this confident, classic fashion combination that can be dressed up for almost any occasion. Pair slim-fitting black jeans with a tucked-in white t-shirt, then add great accessories to personalize your look. This light on top, dark on bottom color combination is flattering to all shapes and sizes. Plus, wearing pointy black high heels also helps to create a long, lean leg line, for an overall slimming effect. For a city-chic effect, choose black-and-white accessories to keep the monotone effect going.

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With a Plaid Shirt

Street style plaid and jeans
Street style plaid and jeans. Christian Vierig/Getty Images

A jeans and a t-shirt outfit gets an instant dose of grunge fashion style when you layer a plaid shirt on top as a jacket. Jeans and a plaid shirt are a classic fashion combination that instantly telegraphs a cool fashion vibe. For a casual-meets-sophisticated look that works for concerts and parties, pair skinny black jeanswith a black t-shirt, tucking in your top to show off your waistline. Add a plaid shirt as your top layer and finish the outfit with chunky ankle boots and a hold-all bag.