How to Elevate a T-Shirt Dress for Summer

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My perfect summer vibe is glam casual–it’s refreshing and unexpected. I like nothing more than to take a simple look and kick it up to the next level with accessories. Yes, you have to be more intentional with your accessorizing, but you should be anyways. Here is how to elevate a basic t-shirt dress for summer.

waist-defined t-shirt dress (more colors) // scrunchie with long bow scarf // top handle quilted shoulder bag // quilted slide sandals // Kendra Scott demi gold huggie pearl earrings c/o // Kendra Scott kyocera opal Elise necklace c/o // David Yurman bangle // Sugarfix by Baublebar gold daisy bead bracelet // Kendra Scott Jack cuff c/o

HOW TO ELEVATE A BASIC T-SHIRT DRESS FOR SUMMER: Base Layer

The key to elevating a basic t-shirt dress for summer is to see the dress as a canvas. You want it to be a pretty base for all of your accessories. Your accessories should be what catch the eye, not your dress. Pick a t-shirt dress with a slightly loose fit. My dress here has a cinched waist, but you don’t have to have a pre-cinched waist. You also want it to be longer than a mini. I suggest have your skirt hit at least mid-thigh. Too short, and you’re calling attention to your dress.

HOW TO ELEVATE A BASIC T-SHIRT DRESS FOR SUMMER: Opt for Noticeable Jewelry

I know you always hear less is less, but here, more is more. You can totally do statement jewelry pieces with this look. I, however, opted for noticeable jewelry pieces that play well together. You see them, and they’re noticeable, but none of the pieces make a statement on their own. Huggie earrings or bigger studs are great for this, as well as layer necklaces that are 16-20″ in length. You’re going for a harmonious look.

HOW TO ELEVATE A BASIC T-SHIRT DRESS FOR SUMMER: Belt It

As I mentioned above, my t-shirt dress in this post already has a cinched waist, but I added a belt. If your t-shirt dress doesn’t have a cinched-waist, instantly create one by adding a belt at your natural waistline.

HOW TO ELEVATE A BASIC T-SHIRT DRESS FOR SUMMER: Add a Hair Accessory

A pretty hair accessory will take your outfit up a notch anytime. This summer, I’m looking at scrunchies, scarves, and headbands to extend my accessorizing. My hairbow scrunchie here is a perfect color match for my dress. I pulled my hair halfback and left out some pieces in front to soften the overall look. Avoid a slicked back do–you want it more casual and touchable.

HOW TO ELEVATE A BASIC T-SHIRT DRESS FOR SUMMER: Ditch the Flip-Flops

Y’all, I love flip-flops as much (if not more) than the next person. But if you want to elevate a basic t-shirt dress, then you need to ditch the flip-flops. Four big trends for sandals include quilted (which I’m wear), clear, scrunched, and braided. I adore the quilted sandals I’m wearing because they look high-end and pull your look together.

HOW TO ELEVATE A BASIC T-SHIRT DRESS FOR SUMMER: Carry an IT Bag

Purses are my weak spot, and the one area I’m more likely to spend money on. That said, not every it bag has to cost three-to-four figures. The quilted bag I’m carrying above is just $35, but it makes a statement. Quilted bags in classic silhouettes are on trend and so chic. They will really elevate your basic t-shirt dress to the next level.

What do you think about t-shirt dresses–do you wear them casual only, or do you dress them up too?

Nice to meet you!

Hi there! I’m Tif Fannin, the blogger behind Bright on a Budget, based in Lexington, Kentucky. Bright on a Budget is a Southern fashion and lifestyle blog where I share everyday looks, beauty, and travel, along with a behind-the-scenes look at my life as a working mom of two. I have a penchant for bright colors + good deals. Follow along for posts that are relatable to the everyday woman.

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