Instant Outfit: The Tank & Necklace Trick

As I mentioned in my first post, my roommate once told me that I manage to look like I’m wearing outfits, not just a top and a bottom. I’ve become good at taking basic items and putting them together in ways that are very easy but still look like they took some small measure of effort.

The absolute easiest way to do this, and the one I rely on most of the time, is the tank and necklace trick. Add a tank under whatever you’re wearing, throw on a necklace, and you’re set.

The basic look:

Start with something easy. I’ve had this shirt for ages — just a plain hunter green waffle-knit shirt from the Gap — but it’s still one of my favorites. It’s comfortable and soft, just what I wanted on a lazy Sunday. I’m sure you have a ton of shirts like this — basic, great for layering, your go-to on a relaxed day. Throw it on with a comfortable pair of jeans and you’re set.

The Outfit:

I don’t think I’ve ever worn this shirt without a white tank top underneath it. I always thought that the darker green on top of jeans was kind of dark, and I love the way the white breaks it up. Plus, even though they’re not always hard, layers always seem to indicate that you tried a little more to get dressed. The necklace hardly matches — it’s a round floral pendant on a long chain — but it adds a little something to the plainness of the shirt.

How can you try it?

Like I said, this is an easy, easy trick, and it doesn’t require anything you don’t already own. You have t-shirts, you have tank tops (or camis, or other shirts) and I’m sure you have at least one necklace.

For the tank, consider what will go best with your basic top. Pick up an accent color, like wearing a yellow tank top under a black shirt with yellow writing. Go with a color combo you like — I’m sure you’ve done the red tank/ blue tee look for at least one Fourth of July celebration. Or, if all else fails, go with a neutral. White, black or gray tanks work with almost everything. My favorite tanks, ever, are Old Navy’s Perfect Rib-Knit Tanks — they’re cheap, long enough to layer and available about a bajillion colors.

The necklace is the optional bonus. If you’re wearing a patterned shirt to begin with, you can skip it. But for plain things that you want to dress up a little, grab your go-to necklace, add earrings if you have a pair that coordinates, and you’re set to go.

(In case you were wondering, yes, I did wear shoes today. Brown wedges. I just have a habit of going shoeless around my dorm at night, and managed to not have any on at picture time.)