7 Tips for Refreshing the Classic Boyfriend Shirt

While it may seem unconventional, particularly for ladies with more traditional tastes, incorporating menswear-inspired clothing into your wardrobe might be a game-changer for your personal style. One particular gem from this realm is the classic “boyfriend shirt,” whose loose and boxy frame compared to more fitted women’s shirts gives the impression that the shirt is borrowed from a beau. 

This versatile piece has the power to elevate any woman’s personal style, regardless of whether she’s single or partnered. If there’s no eponymous boyfriend to steal a shirt from, after all, you can always nab one from a sibling or male friend—or simply walk into your local department store and purchase a breezy-looking boyfriend button-down for yourself.

The benefits of venturing into the menswear section or getting boyfriend shirt-style clothing from the womenswear section are twofold. First, these shirts are often designed with superior quality fabrics, better craftsmanship, and a comfier fit than the ordinary women’s button-down. The looser silhouette and generous proportions of the boyfriend shirt also provide a unique aesthetic that effortlessly combines comfort and style. 

Second, embracing the boyfriend shirt and other menswear-inspired pieces allows women to break free from traditional gendered fashion norms and explore a broader range of styles. You may not know it yet, but a simple boyfriend shirt—which has been a fashion staple for several decades now—may open up a world of brand-new sartorial possibilities, allowing for creative and unexpected combinations.

The boyfriend shirt’s oversized design and relaxed structure make it an incredibly adaptable piece for various occasions and styles. Whether you’re going for a casual-chic look or aiming for a more polished ensemble, this type of shirt is up for the challenge. Below are seven styling tips that prove that a good boyfriend shirt can do it all:

Pair It with Jeans

The combination of a boyfriend shirt and jeans is a timeless pairing that exudes an aura of casual cool without trying too hard—or even trying at all. To achieve this look, go for a crisp oversized shirt that sits loosely on your body. White is a classic color, but any solid color you like or a classic pattern like pinstripes will look just as good. You can leave your shirt untucked for an extremely laid-back impression, or tuck the front loosely into your jeans for a slightly more pulled-together look.

A boyfriend shirt will look great with jeans in almost any cut and style, whether distressed, skinny, straight-leg, or boot-cut. If you’d like a more lightweight option than conventional denims, quality jean leggings can help you achieve the same effortless aesthetic. Complete the outfit with ankle boots or sneakers for a fashionable ensemble that’s perfect for everyday wear.

Use It as a Layering Piece

Layering is a tried-and-true fashion tip for the versatility it brings to any ensemble, and a boyfriend shirt just happens to make an excellent layering piece. Experiment with different combinations by wearing your shirt under an oversized sweater or a cropped jacket. Try leaving the shirt untucked and let it peek out at the hemline for a stylish layered effect. You can also layer your boyfriend shirt over a fitted top and shorts and simply let it hang open for a breezy off-duty look. With such an adaptable piece in your wardrobe, you’ll definitely have fun mixing and matching your clothing for different seasons and occasions.

Turn It into a Dress

You’ll make an unexpectedly fashion-forward statement by converting your boyfriend shirt into a cool dress. Start by buttoning up the shirt entirely and cinch your waist with a belt to create a more tapered and feminine silhouette. Pair the outfit with knee-high boots or strappy heels for a surprisingly glamorous look that’s put-together without being too stuffy. If you prefer a more relaxed and flowy style for your boyfriend shirt-turned-dress, skip cinching the waist altogether and simply let it hang loose. 

Tie It at the Waist

One of the easiest ways to put a new spin on the boyfriend shirt is by knotting it at the waist. This simple technique instantly adds a more defined shape and a touch of femininity to an otherwise baggy silhouette. Experiment with different tie styles, such as a classic knot or a trendy side tie. Pair a tied-up boyfriend shirt with high-waisted jeans, skirts, or shorts to highlight your waistline, and rock this look at your next date or girls’ night out. 

Rumple It Up—Fashionably!

While dressing to the nines feels great a lot of the time, sometimes you’re happy to look like you just rolled out of bed—but still stylishly, somehow. Fortunately, the boyfriend shirt is the perfect piece for achieving this fashionably rumpled look. Skip the ironing and you’ll get a slouchy, slightly wrinkled texture that fits this particular aesthetic. Roll up the sleeves casually, leave the collar open and unbuttoned, and you’ll be good to go for your next coffee run or casual prowl about the town. 

Wear It as a Beach Cover-Up

Boyfriend shirts in light, breathable fabrics like linen make ideal beach cover-ups, whether you’re lounging on the sand or grabbing a bite at a beachside café. Wear it over shorts, tuck it into a billowy skirt, or simply throw it on over your swimsuit, and you’ll be more than ready to look your best when you hit the beach.

Wear It to Work

Don’t underestimate the boyfriend shirt’s potential in a professional setting. A tailored boyfriend shirt will pair excellently with high-waisted trousers or a pencil skirt for a sophisticated and contemporary office look. The trick is to tuck your shirt neatly into your bottom garment and accessorize it with a statement belt to accentuate your waist. You can also layer a blazer over it if you’d like to strike a balance between looking authoritative and approachable, and this can be your go-to outfit for pitches or meetings with your team. 

In conclusion, the classic boyfriend shirt offers endless possibilities for breathing new life into your wardrobe. Make the best of its versatility, experiment with different looks, and let this seemingly simple fashion staple take your style game up a few notches!

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