Casual Friday: Why I Left Tee Shirts Behind

Happy Casual Friday, everyone! At least that is what most of the professional world calls this day, but celebrations of casual clothing reminds me of why I chose years ago to officially leave most tee shirts in my past.  

The majority of my time as a working mother and high school teacher was spent in a tee shirt of some type.  So when I went through my reinvention at age 50, I decided it was a look I no longer wanted to embrace….because when I looked in the mirror, I saw someone who did not care about herself.  This is how I typically looked at that time…

Over 50 Feeling 40 says goodbye to tee shirts

I have a couple of what I call “cool message tees” that every now and then I wear under a suit jacket with jeans. The fit better than the oversized ones I previously wore.  But, I cannot remember the last time I have even done that.  I want my casual style to send the message that I care about myself and I am still a strong, savvy, creative, approachable woman.  Working on a large university campus means I am surrounded by school/athletic tee shirts on Fridays, but I will not go back there.  It is not a confident look for me.

Pamela Lutrell wears fall plaid for casual Friday

About this outfit…this little plaid poncho was a recent Marshall’s find and I am wearing it with a long sleeved knit JJILL top; the jeans are from Soft Surroundings; and these are my ECCO booties in the FIG color which are so comfy.  (I have three of these in the slideshow below).

Does anyone else have garments they have chosen to leave behind?  Please share and I hope all of you had a fabulous week. The slideshow below will have a few gift ideas within.  See you tomorrow for Would You Wear It and please, please……..




  1. I am in total agreement on not wearing t-shirts. At a family vacation a few years ago, one of my siblings asked why I “dressed up” while on vacation? I was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and a casual top…but not a t-shirt. If that is being dressed up, well then I prefer it that way. I feel sloppy in a t-shirt and prefer a more put together look. Like you mentioned, it really ups the confidence factor.

  2. That really is a nice look! I can see that going lots of places where you want to look nice, but still be casual. I never worked in a situation where we had casual days, so my casual wardrobe was always for days off and weekends. I do wear fitted tee shirts with jeans and under blazers. I’m behind the times in that I don’t have graphic tees, except the ones with the high school name where both my grandsons are in sports, but those are just for game days. Thinking about what I no longer wear, that’s a tough one. I’d go with maxi dresses, I’ve donated those and don’t plan to get any others. I’m not tall, and feel swallowed up in them. If I ever attend a formal event I’d probably borrow or rent a gown. My style is classic so I have a lot of good basics that are going to be staying around! So it’s maxi dresses I’ve said good-bye to! Your casual yet polished look really appeals to me.

  3. The timing of this post is perfect! As a teacher I wear tons of school related t shirts, but feel like I’m going to clean the garage! Thanks for the updated advice.?

    1. I too have given up tshirts. I love your blog. So happy I came across this. Looking forward to reading more. Thank you.

  4. Excellent post! I stopped wearing tees a while back…actually probably about the time I started reading your blog. A crew neck tee is not a good look for most of us, particularly a full figured lady of a certain age. ahem… Besides, who wants someone reading your chest…just sayin’. You have been a most positive influence. A few years ago, my late MIL asked my husband if I “always dressed up”. (Pretty much the same remark as Miss Michel’s) Miss Pamela, you are cleaning up the women of America!

    1. Oh, thank you for the encouragement Donna! You are so sweet. My sphere of influence is not “that” large but I will try where I can. I want everyone to face each day with joy and confidence.

  5. Dresses, though I currently have a few in my closet. Dare I admit; one being about twenty years old which is in a leopard print and a classic cut. ( I must have had a premonition, it would be back in style and yes it still fits me BUT I haven’t got around to wearing it this season … ☺.) Whereas the others are part of my tropical vacation wardrobe but then again seldom worn.

    On the subject of ‘Casual Fridays’ when I worked; the concept did not even exist and there were dress codes to follow or you would risk being fired. Oh how times have changed!

    1. It has changed…some go to work in warm weather looking like they just left the beach! Sadly it is that way for many events. Thanks Brenda!

  6. No longer do I wear the kind of tee shirts you’re talking about, those Unisex boxy cut ones. I used to wear a lot of sweatshirts. I also find them unflattering, but can’t seem to settle on a good substitute for around the house. You know how you can throw on a pair of knit pants, maybe a tee or a tank (no bra!) with a sweatshirt over? And still be able answer the door. And be able to work around the house or yard without worrying about ruining your clothes. AthleticWear seems to be the replacement option but is often not warm enough.

  7. I don’t wear tees, graphic prints, or leggings, except to work out…then I have fun with them. I wear pullover tops and skinny jeans as substitutes. I also threw out running suits and velour pants. The long skirts are gone too. I just couldn’t carry them off as I aged.

  8. Hi Pam, I know you wear Soft Surroundings jeans…and after my success with your Sari Caftan suggestion, please tell me which ones you wear…how do they fit? Size up or down? Particular styles…you like. Colors? Any tips you can give me would be helpful. You look great! By the way, after almost 30 years of junior high “spirit shirts” that were schlumpidinkle! I gave them all away…we were forced to buy them or not wear jeans on Friday or designated days…as I got older, they looked less attractive! You are an inspiration!

    1. First of all, that word is awesome! Love it: schlumpidinkle! It is my new favorite! Holly, look through my slide show below and I put in the slide show the Soft Surroundings Jeans I currently love. I am wearing the black ones in Weds post on bookclubs. I did size up from what I usually wear. I am wearing them right now at work…these are the skinny not the bootcut.

  9. My mother enrolled me in a “modeling” course when I was thirteen. Though I did a tiny bit of modeling as a result, the real purpose was to polish me up heading into my teenage years. Mabs Martin was the proprietress and doled out words of wisdom along with modeling a proud carriage and understated make-up application for young ladies. Anyway, she said and I’ve always remembered, “dress to leave the house as if you expect to run into everyone you know, and you’ll never go wrong.” As a child I didn’t grasp this sentiment completely but with time it became invaluable advice. I try always to present myself with the thought I may run into a former student or student’s parent, and it often happens living in a small town! No graphic tees for me, and tees in general are something I rarely wear. I prefer blouses.

    1. Love your story, Connie and I have written these words often. They do ring true…when you least expect it you will run into someone you know! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Pam, you look great and 10 years younger than you did at 50 in the long tee shirt! I don’t wear any big boxy tees and have given up short skirts. I wear knee length skirts with boots. Also I’ve given up anything too tight or too revealing. Also I’m replacing my sweatshirts with nice athletic wear. Classic comfort is key. I feel better when I’m put together!

    1. Yes…I feel so much better when put together and I love your statement: Classic comfort is key! Thanks Dawn

  11. I have never been a fan of boxy unisex style t-shirts. I have 2 logo t-shirts. One for my son’s non-profit and one for my church. I wore each of them once! My post-menopausal body has thickened through the middle and I avoid anything that shows off my muffin-top! I do wear what I’d call t-tops. They are semi-fitted and have a v or round neckline. I really can’t stand anything tight around my neck! Yesterday, I wore a denim skirt and a Lucky-brand “t-shirt” that has an all-over scroll pattern on it. I like to dress so I feel confident and comfortable.

  12. I too smiled at the “dressed up” comment as it just happened to me! And I was wearing what is my everyday look….tunic top, leggings, poncho and short boots. I wear T-shirts for gardening and at the beach. I have abandoned ruffles and frills – just don’t feel right for me anymore. I am 69 and my style has definitely gone more classic and streamlined. Love your blog!

  13. I have stopped wearing form-fitting tops since I’ve gained weight in my middle over the past few years. I really don’t care to display a muffin top! But, I do still tuck my tops in (loosely, and with a half-tuck in the front) and I always wear a belt with my pants. I guess I’ve adjusted my style to what works now.

    I also wear more accessories now than ever before because I like the finished look they give. A scarf adds a lot of style with a minimum of effort and I have several colors and styles.

    As always, Pam, you are such an inspiration to women!!! Thank you!

  14. Oh my, Pamela. You’ve come a long way!

    I gave up wearing low cut tops. No one wants to see 60 year old decolletage. I wish I could give up tennies and hooded sweatshirts. They’re just so comfy and warm. It’s 27 degrees and the snow never quits here. Sucks the perky right out of a person.

  15. I have given up flip flops & sweat pants. I don’t care how you try to dress them up, flip flops are not shoes. They are also bad for you feet. Sweat pants are just too sloppy looking, even at home.

  16. I never really liked or wore t-shirts because i felt that I looked sloppy in them.. My current standard uniform is a nice plair of slacks and a shirt or top of some kind. At home, denim or something like that and a more casual shirt. Flats with both because I have lots of mobility problems and don’t want to fall! At least I always feel presentable no matter what the occasion and that always helps with the confidence level! Did I add the smile?

  17. Love the Marshall’s jacket. I put all the clothes I’m parting with in a box in my closet. When I travel, I wear those and leave them behind. It allows me to return with an almost empty suitcase. I’ve almost stopped wearing pants hose. I used to destroy at least 3 pairs weekly.

    1. I remember those days, Kathe. I destroyed about that many when I traveled for work. I do not miss them either!

  18. Unfortunately I’ve taken to wearing my hubby’s freebie tres from his work, but only at home! I consider this “loungewear” only!. For public outings, I wear nice, dark jeans with a nice blouse with a collar, and a jacket of some kind…even “casual” outings, so some would say I’m Sometimes I get very tired of the “slouchy”, look, and I’ll dress better even sitting at home. Hubby thinks I’m going out somewhere! Ha! – My motto- “you look better, you’ll feel better! ” Worth a try! And you can’t go wrong with a smile as the main “accessory”. ?. I’ve totally given up fitted tops/tees, especially with too-short sleeves. All are gone from my closet!

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