It’s such a simple combination that it extends across ages, races, and any spectrum of chicness—a white tee and jeans. Of course white tee evolves into just a white shirt (see photo), but the pairing has the same effect. When the weather gets as hot and sticky as it did this past weekend a white tee and jeans are a go to. Great for walking the dog, having brunch with the girlfriends (or boyfriends), or just taking a bike ride around the Mission, the white tee and jeans combo is both stylish in its simplicity and functional (aka comfortable).

But the white tee wasn’t always so well received, and sometimes still isn’t. As the white tee jeans combo became more popular in hip hop culture, often dubbed as the “hood uniform” for guys, some hangouts began to crackdown, prohibiting males from entering their venues dressed in a white tee. Air Lounge in downtown Oakland won’t allow guys to enter on their busy nights dressed in a white tee (as seen with my own eyes and heard as a complaint from male friends). But while many thought it was a way to discriminate—keeping blacks and Latinos out of “posh spots”—some argue that the white tee took on forms of such ridiculousness that it should be banned. Some shirts were worn so big and so baggy that they could be mistaken for a dress or hospital gown from far away. I have actually seen young guys wearing white tees that went past the knee, covering up their saggy pants or shorts.


But then there is the more fitted white tee look, or the one that just plain fits. Neither the jeans nor the tee have to be tight, but like anything else you put on, they should compliment the shape. One of my favorite white tee and jeans combos was worn a few years ago by Beyonce, and ended up splayed all over fashion and gossip magazines. She wore a fitted white tee, with fitted (not too tight) dark blue jeans and red stilettos (and Beyonce I do forgive you for the stockings and open toe shoe combo no-no), showing that bringing a small bit of color to such a simple palette can really make a difference. I love the white tee and jeans combo  for just that reason. She could have gone with an electric blue stiletto, a cork-heeled platform, or an espadrille. The look is so simple and versatile that almost anyone can pull it off and look put together without pulling out an ironing board or trying much at all.

Though I’m often the first to talk about dabbling in color and being bold with patterns, I admit that sometimes you just have to keep it simple.

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