Six Ways to Beat a Jeans & T-Shirt Rut

Miranda Kerr wears some really fabulous jeans and t-shirt-based outfits, pairing floral denim and striped teeswith perfect pointy-toe pumps. But that’s not the kind of jeans and t-shirt rut we’re talking about.

We’re talking about the ho-hum jeans & t-shirts combos you throw on when you’re just out of the shower and realize you need to pick up something from the drugstore ten minutes ago.

It’s sort of like eating the slightly stale rolls at a restaurant: need-fulfilling but not exactly satisfying. Especially when you’re in your skinny Madewell blue jeans and soft Splendid gray tee — both absolute staples, but not inherently exciting — and you run into an ex-boyfriend. And then you’re all “I don’t look minimalist-cool I look boring,” and freaking out.

So maybe, sometimes, it’d be worth trying a different default template than that one. These ones below are just as one-two-go as jeans and a tee, but a little more inventive-looking, which is always good to have in your back pocket.

Invest in a Good Shirt Dress

Shirt dress and sandal

It’s got a collar, pockets, buttons and a belted detail, so it looks kinda complicated, like you actually tried while getting dressed. Except it’s so easy. Toss it on with simple sandals and you’re good to go.

Mix Up Your Proportions

Jeans, t shirt and sunglasses

Okay, wait. Jeans and a t-shirt combos can look fresh, especially when you step out of the conventional slim jeans & slightly slouchy t-shirt pairing. Pick an exaggeratedly boxy top and some wide leg denim, then add a pair of classic aviators to finish it off. It’s still jeans & a t-shirt. But it’s not really, it’s so much more. It has attitude.

Swap Jeans for No-Fuss Pants

Striped pants

If you were reaching for jeans and a t-shirt you probably don’t want to wear fancy silk pants. Gotcha. But if you pick up a pair like these—cotton, machine washable, casual but cool pants—you’ll look more polished with no extra effort.

Swap Jeans for Pretty Shorts

Shorts, striped shirt and flat shoe

Something about a great pair of shorts just feels more put-together than plain old jeans, like there’s conviction behind your choice, like “ooooo, you’re doing a shorts look today.” Pick ones that are high-waisted or scalloped or something (or both, like these) with enough fabric so don’t feel like you’re wearing booty shorts: they’ll be pretty, and you’ll be comfortable.

Swap Tees for Button Downs

button down top

Same theory as the no-fuss pants: slip on a button down with those jeans instead of a t-shirt, and it’ll look crisper. Extra points for a cool print, of course, and yeah, we’d suggest cotton ones that don’t require any dry cleaning so you’ll actually wear them over and over.

Try a Dress and Sneakers

dress and sneakers

Jersey t-shirt dresses like this are basically nightgowns that’s its considered cool to wear in public, so honestly, they’re even easier to default to than jeans and t-shirt. And when you add classic, cool kid sneakers like Sueprgas or Converse, it looks stylized in a model off duty way.