point of difference

Scott Trindle for "Untouched"

Hurrah for the the nth picture of a girl in t-shirt and jeans on this blog. I can't help it - I love a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, it's my idea of the perfect outfit. It looks good on men, women, old, young, it's timeless, it's practical, and there are tonnes of shapes and styles you can choose to define the look your own way. I love how the simplicity of it seems to set off a person's personality - you really see a person in an outfit like that, it's a confident look.

In an outfit so simple, the thing menswear blogs call a "point of difference" is important. First of all, the fit and quality has to be as good as you can buy. The texture of the fabric, the colour of the rivets on the jeans, the thickness of the cotton, the fit - it's all going to be screamingly obvious and you should be particular. You can tell when someone isn't.

Most of my t-shirts are white, with a couple of greys and blacks. I like my t-shirts soft, but not too drapey - it needs to feel...cotton-y. I also like a linen knit tee. No silk for me, the beauty is in the basic. As for jeans, I like them to have as little stretch as possible, and I prefer them faded - I get a lot of satisfaction watching my jeans fade over the years.

Accessories are another point of difference. I prefer something non-intrusive because it's an outfit like that is not about a statement accessory. I keep it simple with a belt with my jeans - always the same mahogany woven leather one I've had for years. My watch adds a touch of polish. Unless I want to make my shoes the focal point, I stick to my Converses, and plain ballerinas. Never heels.

If you're Raquel Zimmerman, the point of difference should be obvious...

Picture from models.com


hannah-rose said…
your blog is full of tee shirts and jeans mine is full of bit jumpers and long skirts. :) :) I love this post. the point of difference is the key to dressing when your style is quite simple and unchanging. My point of difference is normally a bag - I have a few lovely red ones that make a big change to an outfit.

I love tee shirts and I love flat ballerinas. I only wish I could find a perfect pair of jeans. Correction - I only wish I could wear my perfect pair of jeans. I have a pair, but they have a rip where pants shouldn't have rips and thus I can't really wear them out in public.. because it's really embarassing haha.

Catherine said…
i love that anyone can wear this simple outfit, but it can still look so different from person to person.
A said…
The point of difference is a lovely concept, elegant in its simplicity. I remember now that t-shirt and jeans used to be a classic uniform of a certain type of 80s and 90s portrait photograph, as though the simplicity of the clothes lent a deliberate undressed, candid quality to the portrait.

The point of difference for me is sometimes a watch or bracelets, more often leather sandals in warm weather, and sometimes... the fact that I haven't ironed my t-shirt. I quite like the rumpledness that brings to it.
Aïssa said…
What's incredibly unfair is how mistreated is this tee and jeans combination. I often read or hear that it's supposedly a "no look" when I actually think it's the outfit that brings out your own sense of style. Sure, it's easy compared to some volume or material association, but finding the right tee and jean as you point out and wearing it with confidence is rare to achieve.

By the way, I'd like to invite you to my blog but can't find a way to contact you by email. I'm leaving you my own here if you wish to get back to me : afropeenne.blog@gmail.com
lin said…
hannah-rose: constancy is a virtue :) And yes, I agree your Celines are excellent points of difference.

I think shopping for jeans is one people have to be exceptionally patient with, because no one pair or brand works for everyone...in the meantime, you have plenty of beautiful skirts to enjoy before the perfect jeans turn up. I love wearing jeans until they're unwearable! So far this has only happened once...

Catherine: Precisely!

A: I didn't think about it that way, but you are right, so much for the 80s being all famed for "bad taste".

I love it when people rock the rumpled look well.

Aissa: You're absolutely right. And I've been meaning to write to you about your blog, thanks for the invite :) My email is outofthebaaag@gmail.com
Amanda said…
Hah, I'm a jeans and tee girl all the way through, but somehow I've never managed to post any such outfits on my blog for fear of it appearing dull. I also don't fit very well into jeans because I have a rather rotund bottom but yes, the jeans/tee combo is something that never fails me.
James Dean, Johnny Depp, and Charlotte Gainsbourg have that innate ability to look effortlessly cool in just jeans and tee.

I’m very basic with jeans: no crazy colors, no designs or embellishments on the back pockets, no rips, no contrast stitching on dark pairs, preferably a thicker cotton, not tight at the knees. I have 6 pairs: dark wash flare, black wax slim jean, weathered black/grey straight leg, medium wash bootleg (never wear anymore but keep for nostalgia/future—and I like the rivets), medium blue slim “boy”ish jean, and dark wash straight leg. Plus, I’m actually selling off a pair of black jeans that never fit right below the knee—very expensive, but we live and learn. Minus those my jeans wardrobe is still complete, as I prefer to wear my black wax ones over these. I suppose my extra is that I’m always wearing a sweater/jacket/outerwear with it.
lin said…
Amanda: I never find jeans and t-shirts dull, not if it's worn with confidence and conviction. And isn't great that it's something you can slip into without thinking too much about it because you know it works.

Pret á porter P: It helps that James Dean, Johnny Depp and Charlotte Gainbourg have spectacular charisma! I know what you mean by nostalgia reasons, I have a couple pairs I keep around for the same reason.I consider my denim wardrobe very complete too. Sometimes I'm tempted something in a beautiful material, but I haven't had to buy jeans in 3 years now.
Anonymous said…
hi! may i know where do you get linen tee here in singapore? :) thanks!
lin said…
Anon: Mine are a bit old, from Massimo Dutti a few seasons ago, and I got one from Zara last year...I thought I saw something similar at Zara recently, but I haven't been into Zara for a month, so can't be sure. It's still on their website though.
Siobhan said…
I love a jeans & tee combination! It suits everyone but can be worn a million different ways to convey personality. Personally I like jewellery as the way to add the point of difference - or a really good jacket slung on top. Siobhan x
Garderoben said…
I love jeans and a tee too, and wear it all the time. Like all great besics, the rigt ones are pretty hard to find! With some nice shoes or boots it's the perfect outfit.
Austere said…
I absolutely agree about points of difference separating the way one person wears something simple like jeans and a tee and another, great observation. I feel like I do the same thing sometimes. I'll wear simple pieces and then personalize them with scarves, necklaces, etc.
lin said…
siobhan: I agree, there's not one "right" way to wear it.

Garderoben: I find it especially tricky to find perfect t-shirts, so I'm grateful to what I have already. Hopefully they'll last long enough.And agree, for, the right pair of shoes is all I need for a jeans-and-t-shirt combo.

Austere: Being able to personalise it allows you to repeat the outfit endlessly without it looking tired too!

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