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Stylish Women Don’t Wear T-Shirts: Yay or Nay?

By 07/11/2014February 23rd, 2017120 Comments


Rowena’s Inn on the River (Where we were last night)

This week I walked into J.Crew in downtown Vancouver and when I was standing in the fitting room, Kim, the stylist/manager (in town for training from Calgary) came to my room to see how I was doing.

J. Crew

She taught me a new trick (for me) that I’m showing you here (above) which is tucking in only one side of a shirt and leaving the rest untucked.

Frankly, in this photo I look like a stylish wanna-be-nerd but you get the picture. Hey, I study design, colour and decor all day long, NOT fashion, these tricks evade me unless someone is standing in front of me. Even then I don’t know if I got it right now that I had to get dressed without her, haha.

I did feel stylish in my outfit regardless, in the restaurant at the Inn last night.

Anyway back to my fashion tips, Kim said so many times women will walk out of a fitting room saying “It wasn’t right”, but they just don’t know the little tweaks a stylist would do to make it look fabulous on you.

Styling a house for me is the same. It’s rare that I can’t take almost any room and turn it into something fabulous with the right pillows, art, lamps and accessories.


The same with a silk blouse (tuck only the front of the shirt). She was wearing the same pants that I’m showing you here (after she worked with me for a few minutes, I wanted to look just like her) with this striped top (below) and a navy blazer with leopard print heels.


I had picked up a t-shirt with lace that I was about to try on and I asked her if she wore t-shirts.

She said no. She owned two of them and rarely wore them. “I don’t feel dressed if I’m wearing a t-shirt”.

But don’t you have to dry clean silks for example?

No, I just wash them in the gentle cycle in my front loader.

“That’s it, I’m never buying another t-shirt again”, I declared.

Do you have any short sleeve cotton or silk shirts then? I asked.

“No, J. Crew doesn’t really have them,” she said.  “We only have sleeveless or long sleeved shirts.” Hmmm. . . must be in the same category of a mens shirts. You rarely see a man in a short sleeved dress shirt.

Also chambray shirts. She says she owns one in every style and colour. This stylist I follow says the same thing.

Isn’t that true about t-shirts? I’m thinking this is a good guideline to follow if you’re over a certain age, like me ; )

I pulled out a striped tank that I had just bought from Banana Republic and said “You wouldn’t wear this would you?”.

She said “I would wear it to a yoga class”.

Over to you my lovelies, do you agree or disagree? I’m thinking I need to relegate all my t-shirts to the gym, ASAP.

PS. If you live in Calgary, you can find Kim Wiebe (she’s the manager) at the J.Crew in the Chinook Centre. Lucky you.

Related posts:

Does Home Decor follow Fashion?

 Love your House AND your Closet

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Download my eBookHow to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

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  • Sarah says:

    I am totally a t-shirt. I am super hour-glassy and anything but knits are a total struggle for me. I wear a t-shirt and dress pants, a fancy scarf tossed around my neck just so, heels and jewelry for a “i didn’t try too hard to look fancy” sort of look in the summer. I can toss my suit jacket over top to look super dressed.

    • Sylvia says:

      No T-Shirts??????? Wha-wha-whaaaaaat????

      I would have almost nothing left to wear on top…at least nothing comfortable. Unless the arms are toned, sleeveless is not always flattering.

      I agree with Sarah…except for formal occasions, you can dress them up and dress them down. Like jeans, I believe T-shirts are a main staple of most wardrobes and I can’t imagine them going out of style anytime soon.

      Real people wear T-shirts!

  • Melinda says:

    I’ve been doing the half tuck for years, but I tuck in the front and leave the back untucked! As for Tee Shirts, a well fitted one is indispensable. I’m 64 and swear by the 1/2 tuck and Tee Shirts!

  • Heidi F. says:

    It depends on the t-shirt – they’re too unfussy and comfy not to wear! I associate shirts somewhat negatively with lumpy buttons and ironing, though I like the look on other people. I have two shirts in my closet, and every other top is a tee.

    I feel many of the same looks that are worn with a blouse or shirt can be adapted for t-shirts (except for the cute partial-un-tucking you demonstrate).

    I prefer a skimming fit (not baggy and not tight), a lower-than-crew but not low-cut neckline, slightly scooped or V. One or two nice accessories like a necklace, brooch, scarf, or belt dress it up a bit. Layering a slightly-longer tank or longer-sleeved tee beneath is great for fluctuating temperatures.

    I also like to wear less formal t-shirts (with sayings pictures, even cartoon characters) with more formal bottoms, like an elegant print skirt or dress pants, and top it with a sweater or fitted jacket (office is like a fridge) and/or accessory.

    I think if it feels great to wear, and you feel like you like yourself in it, trust your feelings. Shirts look good on you, and they seem to suit you, so go for it.

  • Lynne says:

    I’m 52 and love my tee shirts. They come in such a variety of styles that it’s easy to style ’em up or dress ’em down. So versatile under jackets too!

    • Carolyn says:

      What great responses – especially J Fisher’s which I totally agree with. I didn’t read all the responses so forgive me if I am adding something that’s already been said. I also feel that we need to consider the demographic we are servicing and the clients we want to attract. As decorator who specializes in using mostly what the client has on hand I have clients who would cringe if I showed up dressed in designer wear. I try to dress professionally for my marketplace and am very careful not to overdress in relation to the client. I know that it can be difficult to guess what that might be on a first visit but once you meet the client it will be easier. Often just interviewing them on the phone will give you clues to their personality, budget, expectations, etc. I once had a client tell me that she liked me as soon as she saw me get out of my car – which leads me to believe that it was my approachable image she related with. She has been and still is one of my best clients. Back to the t-shirts, I sometimes wear them and find that I can dress them up or down with accessories or a jacket depending on the situation. I am often moving furnishings, up and down ladders and get hot so I like to be comfortable and a cute little t-shirt with some style or embellishment works best for me.

  • Scarlett B says:

    I could write a whole novel on T-shirts!! You can wear them everyday!! I’m just reading The Glitter Plan by Pam and Gela, the founders of Juicy Couture….you should read it! It’s all about the beginning of their business, growing it and it’s all about the T-Shirt!!!
    I’m a t-shirt advocate! Throw on a hot necklace, cool earrings and you are golden (figuratively!).

  • Jane C. says:

    I lived in South Africa in the early 70s. A male Canuck living there told me that if he wore a short sleeve shirt to his office he was ridiculed. Acceptable was a long sleeve shirt with rolled up sleeves that had been washed and ironed by one’s servants!

  • Tamara says:

    I agree with Sarah, I’m an hourglass shape, and tshirts, with their knitted fabric, are way more flattering on me than any woven shirts. On the half-tuck, I think you need to tuck both sides of the shirt in the middle, and then let the sides and back stay untucked.

  • Judy says:

    I’m definitely a shirt person, I always have been. Shirts you can dress up or down and I think I always look quite smart. I haven’t tucked them I usually have them open with a sleeveless tee shirt under so maybe I’m both lol

  • Lisa says:

    She lied to you!

    Seriously. I wear my J. Crew tees a lot!

    • Maria Killam says:

      She didn’t tell me I should dump my t-shirts, that was the conclusion I came to from her comments 🙂

  • Rebecca says:

    I think with t-shirts it depends upon the cut of the shirt, the fabric of the shirt, and if it’s the right cut for your body. As for the half tucked in look…I honestly don’t get it. I’ve loved fashion all my life but that’s one I can’t do. To me it’s the equivalent of walking out of the bathroom with a piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe. It looks like you (people who wear this fashion in general) didn’t quite finish getting dressed. I think of fads like these like this, “Will it look weird in pictures later?” That’s just my opinion of course! I think your outfit in general is darling!

    • KA says:

      Agree with most of that. Especially the tp stuck. Cute college boys maybe can do the half tuck, but around here, it’s tees and flip flops.

      The short sleeve can be used to advantage if you have a smaller bust. Can look terrible and dumpy if you have a big bust…watch where the lines hit you. Big rear, no white shirt w black pants where the shirt hits your widest part. If you find something flattering, buy it in several colors.

      Stylists can push you out of your comfort zone. Like showing WAAAY more cleavage than you usually do.

  • LovelyLaura says:

    Firstly, can I say that you look super stylish. Love the summer pants and the little peak of jewellery beneath your shirt. I don’t wear tshirts very often but when i do itis usually as a foundation piece with a jacket and/or a scarf. Love the half tuck. I’ve been trying out that look for a year or so.

  • Connie says:

    I think it depends on you body type. You have a great figure and look, but the shirts seems to add bulk around your middle….not the best in my opinion. In the first photo the pants dont seem to fit you right and the shirts seem big. I am just saying what it seems to me, dont flame me please.

    • deb says:

      I have to agree with Connie.

      The tuck does appear to add bulk to to middle, so if you don’t have a small waist or flat tummy, the look is not so flattering.

      Also I would avoid the tuck with high-waisted pants, which can create the look of grandpa pants.

  • Jan v says:

    I love t shirts. I like to be able to forget what I’m wearing, no fuss.

    I think the key is to wear a bold and unique piece of jewelry. I guess I am biased since I’m a studio jewelry designer/maker 😉 good shoes and great fitting jeans don’t hurt either.

  • carolanne says:

    Super models wear t shirts… wear it a Chanel pin & your done…

    I wear anything I think looks good on me and repeat it over and over again with a different scarf…

    I like t shirts, good good fabric ones !

    I will have to go into J Crew and check it out next time I’m in Chinook Mall, it’s just 10 minutes from my place… thanks I did not know we had one here…

  • carolanne says:

    sorry that’s wear it with a Chanel pin and your done !

  • Sarah says:

    Woven fabrics are great on less curvy figures. They work well on hour glass figures only if they’re fitted just right (if you found one off the rack you probably have a pet unicorn). Knit fabrics/tee shirts are an absolute figure hugging staple on an hourglass. I don’t see nearly as many stylist with hourglass figures. They tend to be more long and lean types that look great in woven fabrics. That may be why they shy away from the lovely tee!

    • Linda says:

      I agree Sarah it does depend on your body type. I am 53 & have a couple of more fitted shirts that sit well on my height challenged (just over 5ft) hourglass figure, but in the main short and long sleeved tee shirts look the best because they don’t add bulk. I dress them up with scarves, jewelry etc. I will do the half front tuck if a tee is a swing style just to take away some of the bulk and give definition to my waist.

  • Caroline McKay Design says:

    You look great Maria! Are you standung in front of your house with water behind in the shorts photo? Lovely view! Hope its your view!

  • Cathy Gibson says:

    I wear mostly t shirts- fitted ones with a c or v neckline- I have them in every color! I have tried to wear shirts….but decided about 3 years ago that I was done with them. Even if they have spandex, I feel like I can’t move my arms and shoulders freely. Plus I feel frumpy in them! You however look darling in yours Maria! I say go with what you feel most comfortable in.

  • Mary-Illinios says:

    I could never give up my t-shirts. They will always be a Yay in my life.
    Cute picsof you BTW.

  • J Fisher says:

    I don’t think the issue is really T shirts or not, Maria. The issue is style. Specifically what style one person wears. You. Based on this post I get the feeling you are floundering with your style? You are basing your wardrobe decisions on a store-paid stylist, who may be very good, but nevertheless is only going to tell you what sells the clothes in that shop. You have also, unknowingly, limited your style and choices in taking advice from a shop with a specific demographic. J Crew’s arch- competitor is Banana Republic. J Crew’s published target-market is “upper middle class working professionals, 25-34, who are career-building, need office appropriate, ‘dress for success’ clothing, and want the Ralf Lauren look at a lesser price”. Banana’s target is the premium market, 25-35, Urbanites, looking for luxury-angled items. I’m from Atlanta, and can state from personal experience, that smaller Banana stores tend to lean towards the immediate financial demographic of the town… lesser priced, and more often more casual items in smaller stores. Look at Banana online and compare to what you see in your local store.

    What would you say to a client came to you, and said “I just need your help with choosing ONE fabric for my living room. I don’t need to higher a designer. We entertain a lot, and I just need to finish decorating my living room. I don’t really know what my style is, and I’m ok with that so long as this one room looks kinda ok when I’m done with it. You know, home styles change so quickly, so I’m always redecorating, and I plan to keep dropping into home-dec stores and I just buy whatever appeals to me. Decorators in several good box stores have helped me pick out items from their stores, and the fabrics from their catalogs. I’ll meet you at your office. I have only have one of the 4 upholstery swatches, but I have pictures of the others, and the paint chip for the color my painter is painting right now. I don’t need you to take into consideration the other colors in adjoining rooms, the lighting, the views from the windows, my accessories, my likes, how we live our lives, or the image I need to create. I read several decorating blogs, and one says that a mosaic border in the kitchen is the trend right now, so I might like to pick out a mosaic patterned fabric since my living room is near the kitchen….”

    You would have a fit, right???

    You are high-profile enough, and acknowledged as an expert in your field, that you need to find your own style— not just what you like, but what looks really good on you personally, so you will be equipped to shop from there. You need to cull your regional wardrobe consultants, and find someone who doesn’t promote a particular line. Hire a wardrobe consultant to assess you – your goals, life style, currently owned items, colors you like, advise on colors that work for your skin- tone, go through your closet with you, tell you what works, and what you need to add, advise you on how to choose accessories for trend vs investment, what accessories best suit your frame, what hair and makeup choices are most flattering for your bone structure, and who will give you Maria-specific guidelines to use when shopping for the rest of your life. Whether your style ends up being youthful ultra casual, woodsy, classic or runway, clean or colorful, West Coast or NYC chic, it needs to be geared to what is most flattering to YOU! Trends will fit into that, and you’ll know which cut of tshirt will work for you, and where/if that has a place in your wardrobe.

    • Such a thoughtful and intelligent reply. You’ve hit the nail on the head. As for me it’s t shirts and, in winter, cashmere sweaters, most of the way. I keep buying and trying to wear blouses but only feel comfortable in a few. For sure they have to be cotton or silk. NO spandex. Chambray is one I do feel comfortable wearing.

    • Bec says:

      So right on.
      I find the photos make you look like you have gained weight.
      T shirts are every where – from the high end to low end stores. They can be a great basis to building a comfortable outfit/style. That said so can a blouse.
      Sorry for a bit of negative. But you asked for our opinion.

    • Joanne says:

      Perfect and thoughtful assessment. Great advice for Maria and anyone else struggling with finding their own style.
      I have moved away from t-shirts and enjoy form fitting blouses. I also carry a huge scarf in my purse at all times.

    • Gina says:

      Such a thoughtful reply, indeed. I almost stopped reading the comments but I’m sure glad I continued. I get stuck in the dressing rooms at my area stores, too, by the salespeople (clerks) telling me every item looks good. Their managers will phone them later wanting the sales $$$ for the day, not the number of people who went strutting out of the store feeling awesome! I have a full bust ( in spite of a boob reduction 3 years ago!) and a thick, short waist. People describe me as “skinny”, but I’m not. I dress only in scoop or V-necks, layers, and/or semi flowing shirts that still have some shape to them. I never wear button down blouses. I look like a tank. I tell my 18 year old daughter, also full busted, but 5’11”, who wants to grab the latest trends for teens, to just close her eyes in the dressing room. Just FEEL the garment first, then look. This way, the latest fad she’s trying on won’t be the main focus. Just because you love the garment, doesn’t mean it will work on your body. Just because you love a bright pink, green, and yellow print pillow, doesn’t mean it belongs on your pink beige sofa. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I’m going to go find something to wear now…..

    • Maria Killam says:

      Great advice and unfortunately I have not found a single fashion stylist in Vancouver with a blog that would show they know what they are doing and can work with colour. They wear dresses in their posts (which anyone can do) which does not show their ability to put an outfit together.
      If anyone knows of a great stylist in Vancouver, I’m all ears!! Thanks for your comment! Maria

    • Rhonda says:

      I know that Maria has consulted with Angie of You Look Fab and knows the styles and colors that are best for her. Maybe the J. Crew stylist just got to her!

    • Deb says:

      Best, most considered, accurate, honest and kind response I have seen in eons.
      Listen to this person Maria, she has demonstrated a true intent to help you with very thoughtful advice. Be YOU!! She has pointed you in the direction of finding out exactly who your best “you” style-wise, can be found. Have fun!!

  • Bristol Sunset says:

    I am 50 and have always had muscular shoulders/upper arms. I wear blouses/shirts very rarely. When I do, it’s often tucked in front, open in back. I love t-shirts…but need a regular-width sleeve: no capped sleeve for these broad upper arms! Knit jersey or a drapey blend is best for me.

  • Stacy says:

    T-Shirts are perfectly fine if they are fitted AND have no words on them! A “Boston” t-shirt, for example, that is not fitted as all tourist shirts are, is a NO. A fitted t-shirt paired with a cotton skirt or jeans or shorts and then layer with accessories like giant drop earrings or a scarf….the possibilities are endless. Maybe that stylist doesn’t like t-shirts, but that doesn’t mean they are tacky (which she seemed to imply). You also have to decide if v-neck or crew neck work better for your face and shoulders. I prefer crew neck for my long face and neck.

    If you’re going to half-tuck, tuck the front, and not the back. It’s looks weird to tuck half of the front–like you were in a hurry and forgot to tuck the rest. Just looks sloppy.

  • carol jane says:

    I have alot of tee shirts and wear them all the time. That being said, Im sick of tee shirts and would love a new look. In the summer, its just so hot, that blouses are not comfortable for me. Think I will change the tees to prettier tops in the fall.

  • Angie says:

    I live in white tshirts. J Crew white tshirts, that is. Ironic, isn’t it? I have every single style they sell and replace them every season. The key is accessories, whether it’s a fabulous piece of jewelry or scarf, or another piece of clothing to layer under or over. Of course, some Louboutin pumps or Ferragamo Vara flats don’t hurt either.

  • Loribeth says:

    I know the half-tuck is all the thing right now, but I just don’t get it. It looks sloppy to me–as though the person wearing it didn’t care. Oops! Good enough, gotta go!

    I’m on the cusp of changing my personal style, and I am floundering a bit. I know it’s time to change, as I’m getting to that age where I want to look timeless and elegant. I’m just having a hard time figuring it out for myself.

    T-shirts have their place, but they have to be cut right. I find I don’t wear them very often at all, because they feel a little to casual for me.

  • mrsben says:

    Must agree with ‘J. Fisher’ …. “Whether your style ends up being youthful ultra casual etc., it needs to be geared to what is most flattering to YOU!”
    Bottom line, trends come and go which not only includes styles/fabric/colour ‘n pattern but how you wear them and when. The latter of which you would be amazed at the number of people who do not know how to dress for an occasion which is a whole different subject. (My son who is a certified Fashion Designer who has his own successful line of Made In Canada clothing will tell you the same.)
    As for T-Shirts; with all said don’t be so quick to rule them out as they definitely have a place in fashion as many others have pointed out. -Brenda-

  • Eileen says:

    I totally disagree! There are so many types of t-shirts that I believe you can style to make however you’d like! I respect someone’s individual style preferences. Mine is to include t-shirts in my wardrobe. On the other hand, the half tuck just doesn’t work for me! Style is such a personal and individual phenomenon!!

  • Dot says:

    I agree with J Fisher’s comments, as well. Do NOT take style advice from the paid employee of a certain brand… You need to find your OWN style and own it! And don’t rule out anything, just yet! T-shirt is a BASIC…perhaps you need other pieces to elevate them to “going out” status…ie: jewelry, a jacket, a scarf. You can do this, Maria, you’re a genius!

  • B.J. says:

    I don’t wear too many t-shirts myself, for some reason I feel dumpy in them. I do wear a lot of v-neck tees though, especially the white ones. They just feel like they have a clean simple look to them.

    I’ve seen the tucked in front look before but not the “half shirt tail” tuck. I have to say the half tucked shirt tail in the front looks like a person was drunk when they got dressed. Not a fan of this particular look. Nothing personal Maria, still love ya.

  • Mary says:

    Maria, J Fisher’s delightful explanation above is spot on! Each woman needs to find her OWN style, yet doing so is easier said than done. Some gals seem to be naturals, whereas others struggle…throw in all the variety of figures and cross reference that with run-way absurdities, and it’s a nightmare indeed! That said, hiring a fashion stylist who is familiar with ALL brands might be the trick to give you more confidence. Gap & J Crew are geared for younger gals and it tends to look all the same. Ralph Lauren has a lovely look with HUGE variety and the clothes are made well, not to mention all his design expertise! Watch for sales and try buying some basic classics, stick with those, and then add to them a variety of accessories (tops, scarves, purse/belt/shoes) in trend colors without following a silly fad. Check Amazon for a few books about how the French always look chic! It’s because each dresses with what always looks best on HER and has her OWN style. Voila. As an interior designer, I know that all design ultimately comes from historical reference and fashion, one way or the other, repeated or tweaked, so the two are intrinsically linked. One can not do one without some knowledge of the other. Follow fashion for one year and see how your own style begins to emerge. And ultimately, which one of us wouldn’t be thrilled and feel chic in anything if we could just dump that extra 10 lbs?!! I’m over 65, wear nice T-shirts (also shirts & cashmere sweaters) all the time, but never look like my 35-40 yr old kids. THAT’S what would look so inappropriate! Still working on that 10 lb issue! Check out Vicki Archer’s blog “French Essence.” She has mastered all this well and gives lots of tips. T-shirt or not, blouse in or out, the best thing you will always wear is your lovely smile!!

  • BillP says:

    Maria, you look better with your shirts tucked in. J Fisher gives you the best advice. Don’t do something just because it is the “trend”. Do what you are comfortable with and flattering to you and set your own style.

  • Lucy HAINES says:

    Maria, Stick with age appropriate styles. There is nothing wrong with wearing turtle neck sweaters. They have been in style for years. For me, the half tuck does look ridiculous but of course I am no longer 42. If the tuck is in the front and the back hangs down I feel that just emphases your bottom. T-shirts look smart under shirts, jackets and depending on the fabric can look elegant or casual.

    You are a beautiful woman and most people look at your face. Don’t try to be someone you are not!

  • diane says:

    So funny you would ask! As I was putting away my t-shirts after laundering last night and thinking to myself…are these fashionable or too tight to be wearing? I do love a loose/comfy, slouchy t-shirts, esp to sleep in! Love the necklaces you are wearing, are they J Crew?
    You look great!

  • Tristan says:

    I’ve never been one to follow fashion. Because of health reasons I have to dress comfortably. If that means wearing sweats (GASP!) I commit that fashion sin. I wear t-shirts too. I guess I like having money in the bank instead of clothes in the closet.

    So for what little it’s worth my opinion is that tucking in one side of your shirt looks ridiculous. I also think the pointy hairstyles men wear now are a huge mistake and their grandchildren will make fun of them. I could go on but I won’t. I think many “fashionable” people will look back on their pictures and laugh like we laugh over mullets and hammer pants from the eighties.

  • Roberta says:

    Agree…no tees for me! Ever…

  • Peggy says:

    I am thinking that she approves of what her store sells. I find sleeveless anything is unflattering at my age, While an elbow length or 3/4 sleeve is perfect in a shirt or a tee, and, since I am not a man, the length of their shirt sleeves doesn’t concern me. I am glad to be a woman with many fashion options for my age and body type. If you want ideas for styling tees or short sleeve shirts, talk to a stylist in a store that sells them.

  • Kate says:



  • diane says:

    PS…love the leopard shoes too, are they JCrew?

  • Kay says:

    The half tuck looks great on skinny models, not so great on the average person. I think you need a long slim torso to get away with the extra bulk. J Fisher’s advice is excellent. Trends that flatter one are fine, but forget any trend that doesn’t make you look fabulous.

    • Ann says:

      I agree with Ka. I think this look is great on tall lanky types! If you have any curves, your just hiding your “assets!” Seriously! I think it can really add pounds to a frame. I think FIT is the most important. How good do you feel in a perfectly tailored shirt? This could looks so good tucked in or out without any fancy half tucks. I like t-shirts if they fit properly. I think of them as a classic like subway tile….cheap but classic and timeless, letting the other elements of your style shine. Maria, fashion is like decorating! I like my classics with a little trend thrown in for some zing and interest!

  • whitney says:

    I found a program I think designers would be interested in because it promotes dressing according to your particular energy type. It takes into consideration tones, undertones, style line. It makes sense when finding your own style. Every piece of clothing, every pair of shoes, every piece of jewelry in my closet coordinates very much like a well designed room. Discover your Beauty Profile at

    • Dee says:

      I LOVE Dressing Your Truth. Not to oversell but it has really been life-changing. Especially with regard to how I shop. I think it’s worth looking into, Maria. It’s also influenced how I decorate and why I’m drawn to certain styles and colors in my home.

      • Dee says:

        One more thought, I think you might really like it since Carol Tuttle, the creator, includes plenty of answers to why something works….something you taught me that a great designer should do!!! 🙂

  • I wear both T’s and shirts. My pet peeve is how thin t-shirt material has become! My favorite t-shirt of the moment is from….Costco!!!! V-neck, great weight and length and can’t beat the price. bought basic white, gray and black and loving them!
    Maria you look great in everything I have seen you in!

  • Debbie says:

    Not a big fan of the half tuck. IMO it doesn’t look good on anyone. Every time I see someone wearing this trend it reminds me of a bathroom mishap.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Hey Maria, I don’t have time to read what everybody else said, but….some of my soft, close fitting T’s have the best neckline for wearing with a jacket.
    I am past the age to wear them by themselves and, yes, I love the idea of a more feminine shirt like you have on in the last photo. (Wish I could still wear shorts too, for that matter—but my legs are NO longer for public consumption, either!) You look so pretty and rested in all these photos–what a beautiful place—Ahh, the effect of beauty on our souls……

  • sandyc says:

    Age is a factor sometime and so is what you live sometime, but mostly I think it depends on you. A friend of mine who has lived here in Sun City West for years and is in her late 80’s is a t-shirt queen. She only comes up to my shoulders and I’m only 5 3-1/2. She danced for years in the Rhythm Tappers, an amazing group of old broads in our community, and she still exercises regularly. Her look is t-shirts tucked into casual fitted pants and great jewelry – it’s an “Alice” look, totally her, and she always looks great. I, on the other hand, have almost no shoulders and they are sloped (I make penguins look perfect) and significantly wider pelvic bones plus being vertically challenged. I don’t go out in public without shoulder pads. Certain clothes, no matter how “in” or appealing, don’t work for me, and what does work for me is what I’m comfortable in and what I wear no matter how “dated” it might look to anyone else. I agree with the other posters above about finding a fashion consultant to help you develop the best “you”, Maria, just as you do with your clients and their homes. JFisher is right about you being high-profile and an acknowledged expert in your field; you owe it to yourself and your continued success to have your own signature look and style.

  • erin says:

    I think the half tuck is perfect. Untucked and it would look big and frumpy. All tucked in and it would look like 1980s mom outfit. As for t-shirts I love them. They have to fit just right though. I have done the half tuck with my t-shirt to show off my belt. It dresses it up a bit. I can’t do button up shirts because my shoulders are very broad. They just make me look man-ish. I am also with everyone that you should dress however makes you look amazing. If a trend makes you look awesome then embrace it. If it doesn’t work for your body type then skip it.

  • Lisa Lucas says:

    I stage houses most days so heavy weight white long sleeve t-shirts has become a staple item since I can bleach them and use them as the bottom layer under a nice shirt or blazer with scarf to transition to a client appointment at the end of a busy moving day. I would simply ruin too many of my beautiful button up shirts if I kept it to one layer. Love chambray shirts with everything if the proportions are right since I am plus-size and they can look sloppy on us larger gals if not kept to a somewhat tailored cut.

  • franki says:

    T-shirts….yay! 🙂 franki

  • celeste says:

    J. Fisher is a most eloquent diplomat. Listen to her words of wisdom. Find an independent stylist whose only job is to dress YOU. I thought you had one some time ago; a blond woman of Swedish origins?
    I don’t think you can dismiss any particular shirt out of hand. I have scoliosis and simply cannot wear a woven shirt well-there is too much fabric where there shouldn’t be and not enough where it is needed. T-shirts are much more flattering for me and actually camouflage the condition.
    I think the half- tucked in style looks ridiculous once you know it is a “trend”; how much more artifice can one put into dressing? How about mismatched shoes? It looks like you are trying too hard.

  • Carrie says:

    Women with style wear what works best for them. Carolina Herrera and Betsey Johnson will never swap outfits, but they do have style.
    As one who wore St. Germain jumpsuits in the 80’s I can understand you interest in being on trend with the cool kids Maria, but you are cool enough already. I don’t find the half tuck “stylish” in the least and think it will vanish like my jumpsuit and those slouchy boots I thought I rocked. At best it is “styled” contrived to evoke casual elan (oh ick) and only seems to work in print. It’s essentially a sartorial mullet.

    But let me tell you how I really feel…
    (I like t-shirts. V neck, 3/4 sleeve. No logo. No pithy missives. No kittens)

  • Susan says:

    I stay away from as many “trendy” fashion statements as possible. The half-tucked shirt is one of the nuttiest. Sure, you can do it, if you want to pretend you are one of the models in fashion mags.

    Tee shirts are fine; make sure they fit properly, are clean and unwrinkled, and are appropriate for the occasion.

    As for me, I would love to wear more blouses but I have trouble finding those that fit my long arms without being too large in the bodice. When I do find one that fits, I buy them in many colors.

    Above all, be yourself. Don’t be a slave to fashion trends unless they really appeal to you.

  • Ali says:

    Maria – You are an excellent designer, with exuberance, great ideas and design and color sense, along with the unique ability to connect with your internet audience and clients. So why not hire an independent, professional personal shopper/stylist, away from a store, to optimize your strengths and wardrobe? There’s a reason there are professional coaches that help people with clothes, hair, and makeup. Those can make a difference in business and in one’s social life (yes, it’s unfortunate that people judge others’ appearances). My sister-in-law is a model and professional personal shopper for high-end clients of a wide age range and different body sizes and shapes. Her suggestions depend on her clients’ body types, taste and personal style. Sometimes she buys t-shirts, other times she doesn’t, along with other clothes and accessories, The key is that they’re chosen for each specific client’s needs, plus add some flair. Some clients ask her to put together complete outfits with their accessories on a hanger, so they’re ready to go. If they want, she’ll go through their closets and discuss what to keep, what to donate. She purchases items that can be multitasked, to add value to her clients’ wardrobes. And she shops for value, usually at several stores that fit her clients’ budgets. Sorry, but, to me, the clothes in the photos above don’t take advantage of your body shape. The blue shirt appears baggy and sloppy (not just casual) – maybe because, like me, you have a higher waist, so the tucking doesn’t work well. – I know you indicated this was a trial run. Maybe knot the shirt at the bottom or leave it open with a loose, cotton or silk colored t-shirt or cami underneath instead? If you have a tummy, a long, light scarf can lengthen the waist, you know the options… The red and white outfit seems better, but the extra fabric at your middle doesn’t flatter from the side. Perhaps think back to what you do with a house and do it for yourself – what do you want to focus on, what are the strengths of the space (your body), what do you need and what can you donate? Then move forward with a professional to choose what’s best for you. Like designers with houses, you’ll save $ in the long run. Also, I agree with some of the posts above – I’m not crazy about the half-tuck look for anyone, unless it’s off to the side or for casual. It can sometimes look like an oops.

    • Ali says:

      Just saw your comment that you’ve already looked for someone to lend a hand in Vancouver. The one I know is in the San Francisco area. Best of luck finding someone nearby.

  • Pursuit99 says:

    “Frankly, in this photo I look like a stylish wanna-be-nerd but you get the picture.”

    My two cents: you already are a beautiful, stylish woman. However, even your own comment reveals your underlying doubt about the success of this particular effort. You’ve heard it before a million times from your clients: “I don’t know why I don’t like this, but I don’t.” I think the same thing applies here with the baggy partially tucked shirts. Sure it looks fine on a beach, in bare feet on a 5’11” tall model… The message: “carefree.” However, add a purse, shoes and in a setting with more than sand and water as a backdrop – not so much.

    IMHO, you always look perfect in your bold color-blocked outfits and funky jewelry!

  • Kathy says:

    If I took all the T-shirts out of my wardrobe, I’d have almost nothing left. Us “tomboys” have to have something to wear! 🙂 My husband is the polo shirt and dress pants kind of guy, so we are opposites. And opposites attract….like complementary colors.

  • Felicity says:

    Hi Maria
    I think you look beautiful and I appreciate this post and everyone’s comments. I have found a store in Vancouver in my neighbourhood where the staff are like personal shoppers and help you put a wardrobe together that works for your body type and has a bit of fashion edge with very cool brands e.g Michael Kors, Mexx. I always feel beautiful and put together when I wear outfits they’ve helped me pull together for work or weekend. I sometimes find when I buy one off pieces for home or fashion that I don’t always choose the right thing as sometimes it may only work with one thing and I’d have done better to buy with their advice and put outfits together….just like your advice with putting a home together. Check out their website

  • Maureen says:

    I think that the Seattle stylist you saw seemed to match your style better, but sounds like you are ready for a change. Love the shoes! the other clothes are making you look bigger than you are I think, sorry….

    I love T-shirts, but like a few others, it is because I am a bit busty for my size. I am 55, but buy nice ones by Velvet that have a shape to them, so skim the body rather than overly stretch to it. Judith and Charles in Pacific Center have good appropriate clothing I find. More pricey, but I think buying fewer but better items ends up way better than buying cheaper and more.

  • First up Maria! You could wear pretty much anything with those killer shoes and look fabulous! LOVE them! You look pretty in both your outfits! On the subject of t-shirts…I wear them quite a bit and I think they suit my style. I think it’s a very chic look to wear a white t-shirt, boyfriend jeans and YOUR shoes with some simple jewelry. On the other hand, I haven’t found a single chambray shirt that feels right. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I can’t seem to find one with the right proportions for me.

  • deb says:

    Hi Maria,

    Sorry, Maria, I’m not a fan of either style on you. If you compare where the bulk of the blouse lands on you vs. the model, you’ll see that the bloused part lands near the model’s hips and accentuates a smaller waist. The bulk of the blouse in your photo lands right at your waist, making it look wider at the waist, rather than curved in, which is the goal, I would think.

    I have a boxy figure myself, so I try to find tops that create the illusion of a smaller waist by being a little flared out at the hips, like a blazer or a blouse that is a little wider at the hips & wear it untucked. I spend a lot of time shopping on eBay for nice quality, wrinkle-resistant blouses that indicate the chest and length dimensions. There is just no way that I’m spending hours ironing, that’s for sure! But I’d still like to look sharp and professional. I’ve had success with eBay blouses as long as I take the time to find all the things that I want (the right dimensions, plus wrinkle-free).

    Something snug-fitting at the waist looks terrible on me, because it bunches up and that just looks awful.

    I personally love t-shirts and have always had a more sporty/casual style. But now that I’m older (and bigger), I have to wear a button-down type blouse to avoid looking dumpy. T-shirts tend to accentuate my short neck and stocky shoulders and waist. The only t-shirts that look good on me now have a narrow plunging neckline that gives the illusion of a longer neck and minimizes the look of my stocky chest and shoulders. Unfortunately, I usually can’t find that style in my size.

    Happy clothes hunting!

  • Linda Fitzgerald says:

    1 of 2 ‘uniforms’ for me..
    Tee: White only and good 100% cotton
    Worn with jeans or khakis and a neutral jacket/blazer (black, navy, grey) with rolled-up sleeves. The ‘tuck’ is a must, but just a small one, slightly to one side of the middle – especially effective if you’re wearing a large belt buckle, good ‘runners’ or flats and a substantial shoulder bag.

    2 of 2 ‘uniforms’ for me..
    big, white linen shirts (rumpled, not ironed) sleeves pushed/rolled, with jeans..
    Age 67 and counting.. :))

  • Maggie S says:

    I love t-shirts but I NEVER wear sleeveless shirts! After a certain age (unless you are bone thin) the sleeveless look is not flattering,.

  • Cathy says:

    I tried the half-tuck and i always feel like i’m trying too hard to look cool. Maybe im too old for that look? (46)
    I have to say nay. I love a good tshirt. A very stylish (and wealthy) woman once told me that everything looks better and more expensive when it’s properly pressed. I iron a lot of my clothes now. She also told me “jamais quitter la maison sans sa toilette” never leave the house without looking well groomed or as I say… Better to arrive late than ugly. Obviously this doesn’t work in all late situations but you what I mean 😉

  • April says:

    Hi Maria,
    I agree with others that it’s all about what looks good on you, T’s or anything else. I have seen you in photos wearing a more fitted look than the above photos and thought that look suited you really well- chic, professional, smart, cute. You were wearing bold, chic jewelry that looked awesome with it. The blouses seem too “blousy”, and don’t seem to do you justice, as much. Also, IMHO, the blousy pants would look great on you in a casual setting and “look”, like at the beach, with the long tank and barefoot, and rolled up. But I don’t think are professional or chic enough(to suit you and the work you do) even when paired with dressy shoes, purse, etc. It seems like taking a casual item and dressing it up, to me, looks like trying to “stretch” the wardrobe. I love the way you have so many people to ask as “advisors”. I would love it. It’s not always easy, esp. since we all need/want to look good EVERY day and face the world looking and feeling the best way possible!

  • Alison says:

    I love T-shirts! They are so stylish and can always be dressed up. A few of my favorites are James Perse, splendid, wilt…to name a few. Maria- it’s just like in design,… You can’t trust everything you hear from a stylist. Oh, and racer back flowy are the best!

  • Absolutely LOVE T’shirts! with a Jazzy necklace, a pair of flip flops, some great linen pants, and maybe a denim shirt for a jacket, is a fab look in my opinion! It’s like combining Rustic, bling and modern all together in one design! The look is comfortable yet chic. T’s are the basic layering garment for many of my outfits! Try a black T-shirt and white linen pants, with a great necklace. It’s just enough!!!

  • Jeffreyanne says:

    Maria, it’s like this; ask 6 stylists the same question and get 13 different opinions. Just about anyone of any age can rock a t-shirt provided it fits correctly and doesn’t look sloppy. Then, wear it like you mean it. Seriously!

  • Cathy says:

    Maria, I agree with everyone else about t-shirts and dressing them up.

    I think the most important thing about any piece of clothing is the fit and the color. I personally try not to wear baggy tops. They make anyone look bigger than they are. I am slender, but not skinny skinny. I used to buy Ralph Lauren t-shirts, but I don’t wear them any more. They are boxy looking. Chico’s has some t-shirts that look great. They are a little longer but not baggy. Also they have short sleeve t-shirts that are not too short sleeved. The length makes you look slimmer. If you have fabulous arms show them off with sleeveless tops.

    I don’t wear baggy pants or shorter pants. I like skinny white jeans in the summer. I will wear a bright color, like orange or turquoise. I get a lot of positive comments. My hair is the same color as yours. My skin coloring is about the samealso.

    You like yellow from what I read in your blogs. Wear a yellow t-shirt. Blondes look great in yellow, orange, and turquoise. Black and white stripes look great also on a blonde.

    I think baggy, looks old laddish! I am 63 years old and I don’t think I look like or dress like an old lady. I don’t wear super short skirts though, but mine are above my knees.

    I personally think tucking in a shirt part of the way looks stupid, not stylish. I don’t care what any one says.

    Wear what looks great on you. Also wear your clothes according to your figure type.

    You have a nice figure, so you could wear the skinny jeans or pants that are more fitted. Also if they are longer it would look better. Nice tan shoes close to the color of your skin and high healed make a person look taller. For a skirt, wear a pencil skirt that looks great.

    I have a larger waist so I look good in a Peplum top. It actually makes me look like I have a waist. Go to the Saks Fifth Ave. website and look up the clothes under the designer Akris/Arris Punto. That’s the kind of fit and style I’m talking about. Very modern and not too baggy. I can’t afford that designers clothes myself, but look at the style.

    I was a Graphic Designer for a very long time, so I have some design back ground. Actually it took me years to learn how to dress, so that I can look the best that I can. I think I pick out clothes better now than I ever did when I was in my 20’s.

    One more thing. I don’t think maxi skirts look good on hardly anyone–unless you are super skinny like a model.

    And that’s my opinion for what it’s worth!

  • Cathy says:

    I agree totally with J Fisher.

  • Carol J says:

    You always look great, but I wouldn’t rely on the J. Crew stylist’s opinions. Off topic, you always look stunning when wearing bold colors like red, navy, and dark pink near your face. I don’t generally think white near your face does you justice.

    I love t-shirts. They are easy to dress up or down. I spend a lot of my time gardening, hiking, dancing, woodcarving, cooking, and today I husked and cracked open a coconut! I live on a tropical island…where would I be without t-shirts? I do look for nice fabric and well fitted t’s, though, and don’t care for ones with writing or pictures on them. When they get a bit worn they are primed and ready to be worn for the messier things that I do.

  • April says:

    After reading other emails, and then starting to close out my email, I re-read the title of your post and realized I didn’t stay on-topic! Sorry about that! Putting outfits together is just a topic I love. You always look super stylish! And I think T-shirts can look super stylish on you!

  • Joanne says:

    It really depends on the t-shirt and how it is being worn. One of the top stylists for Vogue will mix a “street” fashion Tee with high end trousers. It depends on the colour, cut, what it is being worn with ….how the Tee fits in with the whole look. I am not a fan of arbitrary rules…however baggy, stained, Tee with baggy, sweat pants….is a big no-no!!!

  • t-shirts, skinny jeans, exercise clothes. what ever is comfortable to you. I happen to love t-shirts, would never give them up and could live in white, black & gray and navy.

    time for ice-cream (greek yogurt ice cream) Ben and Jerry, yum.

  • Linda Selvage says:

    Here in So. Cal, t – shirts are definitely and always will be “In”….. The fit and fabric is critical to your body shape and what you’re pairing it with. I wear a well fitting white t – short with various below – the – knee skirts and a low slung belt or various styles and it’s a cool Ojai/Santa Barbara look. A scarf, cute little jacket, black skinny – style pants, fabulous earrings and flat sandals or wedge heels and you can go in any restaurant or event any time of the day. But then, I live in an area where casual elegant works 99% of the time. I say, SAVE THE TEE’S!!!

  • Cyndia says:

    I’m a big fan of wearing what you feel good in! And what I feel good in are well fitting trousers, flats, and tshirts with 3/4 sleeves, accentuated with a scarf or necklace, and always a great pair of earrings! I wear cardigans or shawls instead of jackets. I don’t want to feel restricted by buttons or stiff fabrics, so comfy knits are always number 1 in my book!

  • Kristin Smith says:

    The two outfits are great, they only need minor styling tweaks. Outfit one justs needs the chambray shirt to be tied in a knot in front. Outfit two needs a tank/cami underneath and the shirt needs to be open, worn like a jacket.

  • OtherMary says:

    Stylish women don’t wear T-shirts? Google images of Jackie Onassis in a T-shirt. There’s your answer. Effortless, timeless STYLE.

  • megeranski says:

    The half-tuck is trendy, and if a person enjoys chasing trends and looking trendy, go for it.

    on us short-waisted folks it looks High Dork.

    I am as short-waisted as can be, and tucking in ANYTHING add a Most Unfortunate 50 pounds and immediately puts me in “dumpy” category.

    the mode was tall and ultra thin and VERY long-waisted, in photo above. although I would rather see ‘elegant’ than trendy, SHE can carry it off. Those of us who are short-waisted cannot. alas. lol

    Part of being stylish is knowing what looks good on oneself.

    p.s. t-shirts are not created equal. some are trashy, some are amazing. finding a great one is a lot like searching for that perfect color… lol

    i like t-shirts cause they so often have a high neck (crew neck). having a short waist/torso, i need that.

    • Angela Taylor says:

      I’m a ‘young’ 68, and like you I am short-waisted.
      I recently found a great Eliptical t-shirt from JJill and just love it teamed with slim pants or leggings.

  • I really appreciate you sharing what the stylist said. I’m always curious what professionals would do — in the same way I love hearing how you would fix a room.

    That said, I think the hardest thing about hearing advice from a professional is taking the advice. It’s very hard to change our ways, even when we ask someone if we should.


  • Chris says:

    I love tshirts, not the boxy crew neck styles, but figure flattering styles that hug my hourglass figure with interesting necklines or simple details that add a bit of style. I hate the half tuck I think it looks sloppy like you were put together but have now come all undone. I would much rather see it tied in front at the waist or cinched with a belt. Don’t care for the boxy style shirts either. They are not flattering on me at all. hate to say it Maria but I dont like the look on you either. Finding the right look is more about what works on your body type, not what a stylist says.

  • Jean says:

    I’m wondering if the stylist from J Crew was an imposter! J Crew is famous for both pairing T’s with structured blazers or dressing down sophisticated pencil skirts by adding a well fitting cotton T. I wear them occasionally (I’m nearly 60) and am pretty generally considered a fashionista! As to the “trying too hard” half tuck look, NO! NO! NO! That will definitely land in the category of “what WAS I thinking?” in the near future. It is the current bad deco tile of the fashion scene. I think you just aren’t applying your own design principals here. I’m doubtful that you need a stylist—I think the only reason you posted this is because in your gut you already knew something was “off” about it. Trust yourself—we all do:-)

  • Cheryl says:

    My personal rule is to only wear styles that make me look taller and leaner. (I’m not overweight). And only colors that make my skin glow or sparkle.

    This means no horizontal lines cutting the body in half – as the half tucked shirt does. Sorry, Maria – it does add weight to your middle that you don’t have! Especially in the white shirt pic.

    Less applicable, but still a factor – pant length. Short pants (first pic) may be trendy, but that’s another horizontal line cutting your height. The young lady on the beach is so young and slender, she gets away with it beautifully. Oh, and don’t even ask my opinion about capris unless you’re on the beach wading. They flatter no one.

    And, at least in this picture, the pure white may not be your most flattering color (isn’t for me, either). When you hold colors next to your face, don’t look at the color – just watch your face as you change colors and the best ones will be obvious. The type of lighting will also change the colors a bit. Try more than pastels, too – you might be surprised.

    Sometimes you have to decide whether you want to look as good as possible … or just follow trends.

    My suggestion is to hire a professional since you are asking our opinions. People hire you for your expertise, so do the same. Hire someone whose expertise is to help you find your style, colors, hairstyle, etc. so you always look fabulous and confident … and that’s almost never a store clerk anywhere.

    And, based on what I see around me, it usually isn’t the average person either.

  • Connie says:

    Here is the best style blog EVER. Tells everything you could possibly need to know regarding dressing for your body type and size, age, and tastes. You will all love it!


  • Carrie says:

    Such passionate responses! Sounds like we are all trying to stop you from installing a trendy backsplash in an already beautiful kitchen :).
    Thanks for sparking a fun weekend topic.
    (I think it’s t-shirts over JCrew gal by a mile)

  • Virginia says:

    MEN look good in shirts…WOMEN look great in tee shirts…provided they are of high quality, weighty fabric and nicely skim a woman’s body without being clingy or overtly sexy. They are a classic wardrobe item. I will never give mine up.
    The half tuck? Looks a little ridiculous…as though it was conceived by a half wit.

  • Jean says:

    When my boys were little, they’d run to the bathroom and come back with the front of their shirt tucked in as they fumbled to get the snap on their pants fastened, but not the back. So every time I see the shirt tucked in the front…..

  • tracy says:

    J Crew has tons of t-shirts. That is the stupidest statement I’ve ever heard. Look at their website! They are mostly crappy thin t-shirts, but they have tons!

  • m says:

    T-shirt not stylish? Obviously she’s not familiar with Jennifer Aniston.

  • Carol says:

    Depends on the female’s shape. Even slender pears look absolutely HORRIBLE in a t-shirt. The neckline makes a pretty neck look scrawny. A feminine tiny waist is totally hidden. Shoulders look much too small for the pear’s hips. I wouldn’t wear one even to the grocery store!

  • Nancy Markon says:

    As a part-time nanny, I’d wear t-shirts frequently — much more comfortable when chasing kids around the house or playground. I’d put an oversized linen shirt on top for a dash out to run errands. The linen shirt would cover childcare-related spills I may have picked up during the day, so I’d feel fresher making stops on my way home.

  • Diane says:

    My body looks best in minimalist type clothing, not the bare skin type, but clean lines, no extras. Even a button front shirt isn’t the best on me. I’d love to wear all the styles other women do but they don’t work on me. I wear few shirts other than t-shirts; even my dresses are t-shirt style. I’d sure love to find a source for fitted, dressy t-shirts.

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