One Tee Styled Six Ways for Here and Now

Okay, by now we all know I am a big fan of the clothing company Universal Standard. I've been wearing Universal Standard for years and have loved seeing the brand grow and improve over the years. I think it was last year when they came out with Foundation, a line of super soft, stretchy knit pieces. They sent me a Foundation turtleneck, and I bought myself another one. I now have a long-sleeved Foundation tee and three short-sleeved ones. I wear these Foundation pieces all of the time, and am impressed by how well they keep up, even if my husband accidentally puts it in the dryer with a load of jeans or towels. Just a few weeks ago, Universal Standard had a buy-one-give-one offer of Foundation where if you purchased a piece, a piece would be donated to a healthcare worker. Universal Standard donated $500,000 worth of Foundation pieces to doctors, nurses, and other medical workers fighting COVID-19 on the front lines. It's so awesome to see the Universal Standard tagged photos on Instagram and see these healthcare workers wearing their Foundation pieces under their scrubs or at home when getting a moment to decompress.

I've noticed in the past few weeks I have worn my Foundation pieces more than before, but they haven't really been seen on the blog because they're the kind of pieces I wear when I don't really think about taking pictures. The pieces I put on early on Sunday with pajama pants and my robe to let Oscar out and then leave on when I crawl back into bed. The thing I wear under my fleece, the thing I wear to bed when it's chilly, the thing I wear just with underwear when I'm sitting in bed writing my Weekend Reads, the thing I throw on after a shower so it can absorb my Neutrogena Body Oil and not get all icky with oil stains and then smell super good the next time I put it on. They truly take a licking and keep on ticking. So today I am showing how my well-loved and well-worn Foundation tees have been worn recently, and how they should be worn more often.  I have the short-sleeved tee in three colors; I show how to wear each one two ways and also show how Universal Standard can work with a variety of personal style aesthetics.

universal standard foundation tee

If you watched my Instagram Live yesterday, you know I wore a variation of this exact look.  This is the Foundation tee, XS, in navy with the Universal Standard Tresa Pants in XS Petite.  You've seen me wear the Tresa pants before in this outfit post from last August.  I love that the navys match quite well, elevating the look of the t-shirt.  And while these pants look all fancy, they're stretchy and machine washable and I've started wearing them around at home because… why not?  Why keep “the good stuff” for whenever they can be worn again?  Who knows when that will be and who knows if I'll still want to wear them then so if they can be machine washed and they're comfy, I'm rocking them now!  And with it, my silver Birkenstocks and silver hoops (they're from Jenny Bird but no longer available).  For my Instagram Live, I wore the same top and bottom but with a silk scarf from Talbots tied around my neck and my thin gold Jenny Bird hoops.

universal standard seine jeans

Same Foundation tee, this time with the Universal Standard Seine jeans.  These are the Seine High Rise 27″ length in size 10.  They're the same jeans I'm wearing in this Instagram post from early March. With these jeans, I recommend you size down a minimum of one size because they do stretch and mold to your body.  That being said, these are really comfortable jeans, some of the only ones I've worn while staying at home. The scarf and the earrings are the ones I mentioned I wore on the Instagram Live.

universal standard foundation dress

I'm 5'3″ and these Foundation tees could legit be minidresses on me if I was the kind of person to rock a minidress. But it's not annoying, I mean I wear this black Foundation tee all the time (it's my oldest one).  I am wearing it in this post, this post, and this review of jeans from last February.  I often wear it more like a tunic with leggings when hanging out at home.  The leggings here are the Soma Essential ones which are super soft and also super durable; I'm wearing a Large.  The earrings are from Etsy.

cabi lido crop petite

Same t-shirt, but this time with white cropped pants.  These are the Lido Crop from cabi, size 12 and I had them shortened a bit by my tailor before lockdown.  I love these pants, I throw them in the washer and dryer and they look great.  They are thick enough that you can't see my undies through them, they have nice deep pockets, have a bit of stretch so they're comfy, and I think they look cute with or without a belt (or a scarf as a belt!). I added some pops of color with my orange EVA Birkenstocks and my pink lucite hoops from Baublebar (they're over a year old and no longer available but these are similar).

universal standard foundation short sleeve

White tees are hard, but I do love the white Foundation tee.  I also have a white Foundation turtleneck.  I like that they're not thick, but they're also opaque.  Sure, a smooth skin-colored bra will look best underneath, but you're not seeing my freckles and belly button through it.  And it washes up great.  Here I'm wearing it with my cabi joggers (these from Universal Standard are a nice alternative since cabi no longer has these) and my J. Crew hoodie from my stay at home capsule wardrobe is tied around my waist.  And the orange Birks make another appearance!

universal standard overalls

So I haven't had this exact look on the blog, but I have worn this look before.  I mean, here I am in 2018 in pretty much the same outfit but with the black tee instead!  These are the Universal Standard overalls in black (which I featured in my capsule wardrobe for staying at home) in size XS.  I gave them a wide cuff to make them ankle length which I think looks nice with the silver Birkenstocks. I added silver jewelry to give some polish and fun!

This post may feel like an ad, it's not.  I have received free clothing from Universal Standard over the years and that includes some of these Foundation pieces but I wasn't paid for this post or asked to write it.  Universal Standard has been featuring their Foundation lately, and invited customers who love it to share photos of them wearing it on Instagram, especially now as we're looking for some comfort.  I wanted to share some photos because I'm truly a fan!

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25 Comments

  1. May 24, 2020 / 4:09 am

    These tees look like a great staple for anyones closet. You can dress them up or down! I am loving the look with the overalls look!

  2. Sonia
    May 21, 2020 / 8:57 pm

    You sold me on the Universal Standard tee. I love t-shirts and wear them whenever I can, especially now that I’m working from home, and when I was in the office, with a sweater or a blazer on casual Fridays. I could a couple more, especially if the fit is as great as you say. I’ll use the link from your website and check them out.

  3. Kat
    May 20, 2020 / 1:58 pm

    Okay, seeing the black tee just sold me. I am a lot taller than you, but I like my t-shirts long and lean and those are stunning! Thanks for writing such a thorough review. You always do such a great job of explaining the clothes you wear and it is appreciated.

    • May 20, 2020 / 2:28 pm

      Thank you Kat, and I am glad you found it helpful!

  4. Lee
    May 20, 2020 / 1:26 pm

    I love seeing multiple ways to wear a piece of clothing that most of us have. It’s helpful for me because sometimes, I just put the same t-shirt with the same shorts or pants/jeans over & over. And that scarf belt is so cute! I’m still struggling with tucking shirts in because I hate my pooch. But twice this past week, I’ve done the front tuck & I lived to tell it—ha, ha! So maybe I need to pull out some of my old scarves. & give that a try.

    • May 20, 2020 / 2:28 pm

      Baby steps with the tucking, it’s hard to do but once you embrace it you’ll wish you did it sooner! And it gives scarves a second life!

  5. Teresa A Dows
    May 20, 2020 / 12:52 pm

    These Tees look great and I’ll have to try them! I love the navy. Now, if you don’t mind, what bra are you wearing under the tee shirts? They look really supportive and have great coverage!

    • May 20, 2020 / 2:27 pm

      Happy to share!

      Under the navy and the black is the Soma Cooling Full Coverage Bra. It’s the shizz, though if you’re trying to make your bust look smaller it’s not a good choice. Make your bust look perky and fab while being comfy (for real, one of the comfiest bras I own), yes but smaller no: https://bit.ly/2XTVPJ3

      Under the white tee is the Fantasie Underwire Smoothing T-Shirt bra, which is sold at many online lingerie retailers as well as Nordstrom, which is where I got mine: https://bit.ly/2FcyTfZ I’ve been wearing this bra (updated every 8-16 months) for over a decade. I got a bra fitting after having my child and the boutique recommended this. My size has changed over the years but my love for this bra still holds strong: https://bit.ly/2FcyTfZ

      • Teresa
        May 20, 2020 / 2:38 pm

        Thanks so much!

  6. Kristi
    May 20, 2020 / 12:41 pm

    These tees look so good on you – and love you in navy!

  7. Linda B
    May 20, 2020 / 11:58 am

    I totally love these looks on you, Alison. I have two questions about this garment, both related to the fabric. The first is key for me, down here in the Arizona desert–does this breathe sufficiently for a very hot climate (for 5 months of the year!)??? And is this fabric a synthetic that is worse or better for the environment? I am trying to be more conscious than before about that issue. Seems like some modal is better than ohers.

    • May 20, 2020 / 2:23 pm

      The tees are primarily modal with a bit of elastane. Modal is made from wood pulp and is a pretty breathable fabric that is often used in activewear. I wear my Foundation tees during the hot days of Maryland, which isn’t Arizona but is incredibly humid in August. Modal is better for the environment than cotton as it uses up to 20% less water; the main issues with modal are the need for chemicals to process and that it is made from beech trees which means cutting down trees. I found this article incredibly helpful in understanding modal: https://goodonyou.eco/material-guide-ethical-modal/

      • Linda B
        May 20, 2020 / 3:05 pm

        Thanks so much for the further info, Alison!

  8. Book Goddess
    May 20, 2020 / 11:02 am

    Every single outfit looks great on you!

  9. Heidi
    May 20, 2020 / 9:35 am

    I LOVE my purchases from Universal Standard – 2 T Rex tees and the Seine jeans! I LOVE that they gave health care workers a free Foundation piece (my sister got one, loves it and is now hooked!). I wish the Foundation line came in petite. . . seeing how long it is on Alison makes me think it is not for me. 🙁

    • May 20, 2020 / 2:17 pm

      Yeah, these aren’t shirts you leave untucked unless you have a long torso or like the look of them ruched on the hips.

  10. Alyssa
    May 20, 2020 / 9:27 am

    I’m always looking for the perfect t-shirt that will be flattering to my postpartum body and not shrink or fade – perhaps this is it! Excited to try them!

    • May 20, 2020 / 2:16 pm

      Let me know what you think when you do!

  11. Barb
    May 20, 2020 / 9:13 am

    I’m a big fan of the Universal Standard V-Rex and T-Rex tees because they come in petites! I have four and counting. The white is opaque, and all are silky and drapey. They wash and air dry beautifully.

  12. Kathy
    May 20, 2020 / 9:09 am

    I have a black Tee Rex and sm in need of a couple more colors. I’ll be wearing with full-leg crops. Do you recommend the Foundation tees or Tee Rex? Is the fit similar?

    • May 20, 2020 / 9:12 am

      The fit is different. The Tee Rex is more like a traditional t-shirt in regard to fit and fabric. The Foundation line is very fitted and softer and stretchier, more like a non-athletic legging if that makes sense. The Foundation will skim the body and the Tee Rex is a looser fit. Both are great, I have both, but the Tee Rex is more the kind of thing I wear half-tucked or untucked with shorts and crops and the Foundation I like better when balanced with a fuller bottom.

  13. Krista
    May 20, 2020 / 9:04 am

    I do love US! Not every piece is a hit for me. But that’s okay. The quality is outstanding. My black T-Rex has been washed countless times and still looks brand new. And their jeans are absolutely the beat I’ve ever owned. The Foundation line is no different. I wear the tanks under everything; kimonos, leather jacket, strappy sundresses for a little more coverage. Love the way you changed up the same basic for so many looks!

    • May 20, 2020 / 2:14 pm

      Thanks Krista! And same, I don’t love everything I’ve tried from US but what I do love, it’s pretty awesome.

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