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How to Style a T-Shirt Dress

How to Style a T-Shirt Dress: Six Comfortable Outfits for Summer and Beyond

This wardrobe staple can be one of the most versatile pieces you own—as long as you know how to wear it.

By Madeleine Kim

If a dress is the clothing equivalent of a one-pot dinner, as a clever M.M. customer once pointed out, a T-shirt dress is like having a private chef: luxurious, comfortable, and almost too easy. Not only does a T-shirt dress look great on every body type, but it’s also one of the most versatile styles you can own. I’ve worn my favorite T-shirt dress as a beach cover-up and to a holiday party. I’ve styled it with sandals, sneakers, slippers, and heels. I’ve paired it with bright red lipstick, and with a long nap on the couch. A great T-shirt dress can be a wardrobe staple, and I think everyone should own one. 

Of course, not all T-shirt dresses are created equal, and to get maximum use from your piece, it needs to have a few key ingredients—which brings me to our Renee dress, available in three colors. A T-shirt dress is only as good as the material it’s made from, and the Renee features our substantial and super-soft Peruvian pima cotton. But my favorite thing about this dress is the cut: It’s relaxed enough to give off that laid-back look, but not so loose that you feel shapeless. Extended short sleeves, a just-deep-enough V-neck, and swishy side slits are the icing on the cake. 

Sizing guidance: The Renee dress fits true to size; I typically wear a 0-2 in M.M.LaFleur, and I wear an XS in this dress. At 5’5”, the hemline hits me at mid-calf.

Below, my tips on how to style a T-shirt dress, plus six outfit ideas to try (make sure you scroll to the bottom for my favorite trick for styling oversized sweaters!).

How to Style a T-Shirt Dress

1. Embrace the Oversized Look

T-shirt dresses are meant to be oversized—that’s part of what makes them so comfortable! I find that they look best when you lean into that vibe by pairing them with relaxed-cut jackets and sweaters.

2. Add Dimension with Layers

A T-shirt dress is versatile because it can function as a blank canvas for all your outfit ideas. Don’t be afraid to have fun with color, texture, and pattern when selecting your layers.

3. Remember to Accessorize

The right earrings and shoes can transform a T-shirt dress from a lazy-day-at-home outfit to a special-occasion showstopper. Experiment with pairings to get maximum use out of your dress.

Outfit #1

For a Casual Weekend

Most weekend mornings, I don’t feel like putting much effort into my outfit. Luckily, striped T-shirt dresses like the Renee allow me to look polished in seconds. Adding the texturally striped Cookie cardigan gives the outfit dimension—and protection against overly aggressive A/C. If you get warm, tie the cardigan around your waist, or drape it over your shoulders for a nautical-preppy vibe.

How to Style a T-Shirt Dress
T-Shirt Dress with black jacket

Outfit #2

For a Night Out

Heading somewhere fun for the evening? No need to change out of your T-shirt dress—just swap a few accessories, and you’re ready to go. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love my Sierra shacket, which I see as a more fun alternative to a classic denim jacket. Pair it with your Renee dress, silver sandals, and matching hoops for your next dinner date or happy hour.

Outfit #3

For Summertime Special Occasions

I’ll be honest: I was initially skeptical of this vine color. But as soon as I tried it on, I was hooked. It’s fresh and summery, but at the same time, it has a jewel-tone richness that makes it work for any time of year. Here, I’ve styled the Renee dress with the silver Ella sandals and Blige necklace for some shine. This is a great outfit for special occasions where you want to look dressy but not too fancy.

mmlafleur Renee dress
mmlafleur t-shirt dress outfit ideas

Outfit #4

For the Office

You might not think to wear your T-shirt dress to work, but with a few accessories, you can easily create an office-appropriate Power Casual outfit. I find that solid-colored T-shirt dresses read a bit more formal than their striped counterparts, so I chose the Renee dress in vine, paired with the stretchy, long-sleeved Sant Ambroeus jardigan. The Karis earrings give the outfit some extra polish, while the Carter slides keep you comfortable all day long.

Outfit #5

For the Transition to Fall

At some point this fall, it will get too cold for short sleeves, but that doesn’t mean you have to pack your Renee dress away for the season. Layer on a cozy sweater like the strawberry-red Kiki for an easy fall-transition outfit. I love how the stripes of the dress contrast the cable stitching of the sweater to create visual interest; these pieces make it look like you put a ton of thought into your outfit, when really, you just pulled on your comfiest clothes. Bold red lipstick and shiny gold earrings pull it all together.

t-shirt dress with sweater
mmlafleur Kiki sweater

Outfit #6

For Fall Special Occasions

I saved the best for last! Of all the T-shirt dress outfit ideas I’ve shared today, this is the one I’m most excited about. For this ensemble, I went up a few sizes in the Kiki sweater to achieve a slightly oversized look. How to go oversized without overwhelming your frame? Roll up your sleeves and choose delicate shoes to balance out the boxiness of the rest of your outfit. Bonus: For perfectly rolled sweater sleeves that don’t fall down, try this hair-tie hack I learned from our friend Liz Teich (@thenewyorkstylist):

1. Loop the hair tie around the wrist part of the sleeve.
2. Push the sleeve up to your elbow.
3. Drape the rest of the sleeve over the hair tie to conceal it.

long sleeve hair-tie hack

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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