How To Wear Graphic Tees As Part Of A Professional Uniform

Developing my personal style through fashion has been a work in progress.

Like, a 13 year-long-work-in-progress.

I remember my mom dropping me off for my first day of middle school wearing bright red capri pants and a white volleyball T-shirt that I had gotten at a summer camp. I thought I was really cool, casual, and sporty. I wanted to blend in, and for whatever reason, I thought the best way to do that was by wearing red capri pants.

How To Wear Graphic Tees And Still Look Professional

It’s been a while since the red capri pants days, but it’s still taken me several additional years to start emphasizing my personal style and curating my wardrobe to fit my unique taste. Heck, it’s only been in the past year that I think I really started thinking about own personal style rather than just shopping the latest cheap trends at Forever 21 and H&M.

I’m trying to move away from fast fashion, thus my growing need to experiment with pieces that I already own, pieces that I’ve thrifted, or ones that have come from ethically produced companies. I wouldn’t call myself a fashionista, but I am interested in finding well-made clothes that fit and that fit my punk-esque/professional aesthetic.

Punk-esque/professional aesthetic, you ask? Yes. That is how I am describing my style today, okay? Sometimes it’s best described as grunge mom or retro punk queen. Today it is punk-esque/professional.

But how in the world am I supposed to be both punk and professional?! The two are oil and water, they simply don’t mix.

That’s what I thought too, until I stumbled upon this company that makes cool graphic t-shirts and then pairs them with funky pants, skirts, and belts. I already have one of their shirts, the red “handsy” one, so I thought I might as well try mixing up my style to include a more interesting combination of pant and graphic tee.

With these images from Monogram as my muse, I took to my local thrift stores to find pants and skirts that resembled the ones in their photos. I specifically wanted pants that were high-waisted, had belt loops, and weren’t too long.

I tried on several items that fit my criteria and ended up buying two pairs of pants. A grey pair of dockers and a black and white pinstripe pair. I really liked that they were both straight-leg rather than boot-cut, since I know I’d be wearing these with loafers or a low heel.

Then came the moment of truth! Actually putting together a couple outfits using my new pants and my collection of graphic t-shirts from various punk shows. Here are the combinations I made:

I’m happy to say I already owned a lot of these items, but the new combinations I made re-invigorated them and made me excited about them all over again. The dark blue patterned jacket is something from Target that I bought ages ago but hasn’t been worn nearly enough. The skinny belt looks good paired with many different pants and shirts, and my loafers and pink heels are staples in my current wardrobe.

I feel confident wearing these two outfits to work AND out for drinks afterward. Other people in my circle don’t really dress like this, which makes me feel creative, unique, sexy, and completely myself.

Developing my personal sense of style is still a work in progress, but this experiment proved that I can take risks with my wardrobe and that it will pay off. Also, it cost me a total of $10, which proves that a style makeover doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

"Fashion doesn’t mean anything unless it makes you feel more like yourself." —Emy Row

Bonus: my butt looks great in these pants!

Make email fun again. Subscribe to get creative inspiration delivered to your inbox once a month!

* indicates required
How To Wear Graphic Tees And Still Look Professional