How to buy less, choose well and style your new favourite white shirt so you'll always love it.
Photography I DANIEL Archer
styling I naomi barling
The white shirt. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing particularly new, but not without merit as a well-regarded wardrobe staple. Reliability, versatility, utility – a sartorial get-out-of-jail-free card. Whatever your mood, this evergreen purchase is always ready to be plucked from the closet at a moment’s notice. So just how do you give that shirt-for-all-seasons an enduring quality?
The white shirt may already be your go-to for those days when you, naturally, have a full wardrobe and yet have nothing to wear. To ensure optimum wearability, opt for quality fabrics, such as cottons, which are more durable for day-to-day wear than silks. If it’s for the office, consider getting yours tailored or made-to-measure, so it fits perfectly. With simple garments, quality resides in the details and fit. Subtle design comes in unusual buttons, closures, stitching and cuffs.
Find one point of difference and that is the pathway to your perfect shirt. What is it that distinguishes that shirt? Designers like Jacquemus are constantly giving us some exquisite sexy shapes, Monse offer slightly off-kilter classics, while Joseph and Jil Sander deliver perfectly understated numbers.
Styling is the key to making your classic feel fresh. Be personal. Mix with some manly trousers and kitten heels, or a skirt and trainers. Combine the white-collar piece with something a little unpredictable; if you’re wearing suiting opt for a silk shirt instead of cotton to play with contrasts. Keep it buttoned up to the neck and add statement jewellery - layering chains so they reveal just below the collar line, or leave your shirt slightly open with a peek of a lacy bra for the evening and pair with some jeans.
“The white shirt is perfect for smartening up any jeans and doc combo I throw on. At the moment I am wearing straight leg jeans (my current obsession is my twisted R13 ones) and chunky Doc Martins as my go-to on any day. I have been opting for silk options with my shirts recently as It add a nice feminine touch. I keep the top two or three buttons undone, overlap up my necklaces and make sure I have a roll neck under to stay layered up and warm. The silkiness of the shirt contrasted with the chunky boots makes this work appropriate, whatever my day looks like.”
NAOMI BARLING, BURO. FASHION EDITOR
BURO. edit of the season’s top white-shirt investments.