A white shirt is a versatile staple that can be dressed up or down for many occasions. However, wearing just a plain white shirt can sometimes look a bit plain or incomplete. The good news is there are lots of stylish options for layering over a white shirt! Here are some ideas for tops, jackets and accessories you can wear to elevate your white shirt.
Long cardigans or dusters
A long, open front cardigan or duster is a great layering piece over a white shirt. Choose one that hits around mid-thigh or longer for optimal coverage and styling options. Go for lightweight knits or woven fabrics like cotton or linen for warmer weather, or try chunky knits once it gets chilly out. Long cardigans and dusters come in lots of colors, prints and textures so you can switch up your look daily. Try a neutral tan or gray for understated style, bold red or animal prints to make a statement, or pastels for a soft feminine vibe.
Blazers or cropped jackets
Blazers immediately polish up any outfit with a white shirt. Opt for a fitted, structured blazer in a solid color like black, navy or gray for a sharp professional look. Or go for a patterned or printed blazer to liven things up. Cropped jacket styles hitting at the waist or hips also look chic over a tucked or loosely untucked white shirt. Consider a bold colored moto jacket, embroidered denim jacket or silky bomber jacket for of-the-moment flair.
Flannel shirts or button-downs
For casual daytime wear, try layering a flannel shirt or cotton button-down over your white tee. Plaids, checks and buffalo plaids offer classic and rugged style. Or pick a contrasting solid color like olive green, pale pink or light blue for a preppy vibe. Wear the flannel open and untucked or buttoned partway for a relaxed look. You can also tie it loosely around your waist when not wearing it to add visual interest.
A cozy sweater is a comfortable top layer for cooler weather. Choose soft knit styles like a cashmere crewneck, wool turtleneck, cotton cowl neck pullover or casual cabled knit. Neutral colored sweaters work with everything, while brights add fun pops of color. For dressier occasions, consider a thin sweater in merino wool or a sweater with chic details like knots, cut outs or lace.
Denim or leather jackets
A denim or leather jacket infuses any outfit with a bit of edge. Distressed denim jackets balance out the crispness of a white button-up. Or try a black or tan leather moto jacket for biker-chic style. You can also play with proportions by choosing an oversized denim jacket for a model-off-duty vibe or a snug motorcycle jacket for a sleek look.
Kimono cardigans or dusters
Kimono style cardigans and dusters are flowy layers perfect for transitioning between seasons. Look for lightweight woven fabrics like viscose, rayon or polyester blends in floral prints, paisley and artful designs. The kimono’s open front drapes elegantly over your outfit while the billowing sleeves add drama. Kimonos come in varied lengths, from cropped to mid-thigh to ankle grazing maxis.
Capes & ponchos
Make a stylish statement by topping your white shirt with an eye-catching cape or poncho. Choose knit or woven styles in materials like wool, cotton, cashmere and alpaca blends. Solid colored capes in camel, black or red exude sophistication. Southwestern style striped ponchos pack visual punch. For extra warmth, look for capes and ponchos lined with soft fleece or sherpa.
Scarves are an easy way to accessorize any outfit with a white shirt. Choose longer styles that you can drape around your neck and shoulders or tie in different knots. Lightweight scarves work best for layering over shirts without too much bulk. Try soft viscose or modal in solids and prints, or look for delicate silk scarves. Make sure to pick colors that complement your shirt and overall look.
For transitional weather when it’s not quite cold enough for a full jacket or sweater, reach for a stylish vest. Sleeveless vest layers add warmth while keeping your arms free. Options like quilted puffer vests, wool-blend knit vests or utility vests offer light insulation. Or try a sleek faux-leather moto vest for a dose of attitude. Vests look especially chic over dress shirts.
Suspenders or overalls
You can transform a basic white shirt into a funky outfit by adding suspenders or overalls. Patterned or colored suspenders worn loosely hanging down provide a playful touch. For more coverage, button colorful denim or corduroy overalls over your shirt. You can also wear white or neutrally-hued overalls for an on-trend minimalist aesthetic.
A crisp tie helps sharpen up any white button-down. The classic professional look calls for a silk tie in a solid or subtle pattern. But you can also go bold with wide statement ties featuring bright colors, funky prints or unique textures. Bow ties, ascots and fabric neckties offer dapper alternatives to traditional long ties. For casual settings, try tying a bandana around your neck.
Chunky statement necklaces
Big, bold necklaces grab attention when layered over a white top. Look for chunky chains, oversized pendants and colorful beads in materials like wood, resin, acrylic and semi-precious stones. Global-inspired necklaces with crochet, tassels and embroidery add worldly flair. You can even layer multiple long statement necklaces together for an eclectic, bohemian vibe.
Furry vests or coats
Make a luxurious statement by topping your white shirt with a furry vest or coat. Faux fur styles offer animal-friendly glamour in an array of colors, prints and textures. For extra warmth, look for vests and coats with plush fur on the body and sleeker faux leather, suede or wool on the sleeves and trims. Fur pairs nicely with dressy blouses for a high-fashion feel.
Corsets or bustiers
Spice up your white top with a corset or bustier layered over or under it. Black leather, silk or brocade corsets add a touch of burlesque flair. Intricately embellished bustiers elevate the look for formal events and nights out. Strapless corset tops with adjustable lace-ups also work for showing off bare shoulders. Make sure to pick corsets and bustiers that complement the cut and style of your specific shirt.
Mesh tops or bodysuits
Sheer mesh tops bring sultry allure layered over a white shirt or tank. Mesh adds alluring hints of skin without fully exposing you. Pair a mesh bodysuit with a partially unbuttoned white dress shirt tucked into trousers or a skirt. Or wear a mesh tank over your shirt with jeans and heels for nighttime style. Mesh tops come in a range of styles, from simple long tops to sleeveless bodysuits with bold cut-outs.
Cropped sweaters or hoodies
For a relaxed and casual layered look, try a cropped sweater or hoodie over your white shirt. Cropped lengths are great for showing off high-waisted bottoms. Oversized cropped hoodies and sweaters make comfy statement pieces, especially with fun prints and graphics. Neutral nudes, pastels and earth tones work well with white. Wear your cropped top loose and untucked or tie the bottom in a knot.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to stylish layers to wear over white shirts! Choose pieces that complement your personal style, as well as the shirt’s silhouette, fabric and occasion you’ll be wearing it for. Layer up with cardigans, jackets, flannels, sweaters, scarves and more to take your white shirt looks to the next level. With so many options to mix and match, you’ll never get bored rocking this wardrobe basic.