By Shanel Williams-O’Reilly
As infamous as the LBD, the White Shirt is such an effortless overachiever that it is arguably the ultimate wardrobe staple.
I am in love with the white shirt. It all started back in the day as a secondary school shopping novice – but I genuinely believed the term‘wardrobe staple’ was a term that no longer held any relevance in modern society.
Surely a clothing staple was the crazy imaginings of austerity days gone wild? I simply couldn’t comprehend how anyone could confine themselves to wearing the same item of clothing over and over. (*silent screams) What will it be next, a plastic bag?
But the white shirt does bring back fond memories for me.
It wasn’t until I was sent home from school one day by an overly authoritative, unfeminine headmistress for daring to be different and wearing a pair of multi-coloured socks, that while plotting vengeance I had an epiphany…
The white shirt in every shape, size and type,was my genius answer to conforming while not conforming (but most importantly winning) and it was then that I finally got it (cue lighbulb above head moment) and a true appreciation of the term and my love of the white shirt was born.
I wore it with rebellion in different styles, tucked in, loosened out, buttoned right up and half way down. I was suddenly able to be different while wearing what was uniform.
As a classic year round player, the trend’s anecdote for the moment is defined by the detail, from the refined distinction in the collar or a cuff to a flamboyant fold or reckless ruffle, the white shirt seriously has the power to quietly reinvent while strongly affirming a new look over and over; think Audrey Hepburn in The Roman Holiday.
Cropped, long, open, under, dress or jacket; an essential component to layering, you can easily put your investment into overtime on this one and use the white shirt and it’s skilful prowess to transition your summer wardrobe seamlessly to autumnal chic.
The key to buying into this and buying into it well, has to be first in the fabric, then the quality and then in the cut and fit of the style you want to be represented by and then finally think about what it is you want the detail to say about you.
I know, its almost sounds like a psychological assessment but I’m merely offering a strategic disposition to your timeless purchase, as shopping should always definitely be fun.
However, I hope my love of the white shirt is officially contagious and if you’re anything like me then you’ll be making multiple purchases for the multiple versions of yourself… and here are a few currently on my hit list!
1.When you meet the girls for lunch and it turns into wine o’clock. A perfect day to night and season transition piece, layered open over a dress or separates. The Rose Lace Shirt, Stella McCartney.
2. When your casual Friday is hijacked by an important meeting. Structured, minimal and classic with subtle rebellious detail, leave out and wear with a super long pencil skirt and skyscrapers. The Poplin Shirt, Philip Lim.
3. When you jump out of the crazy side of bed and there is no stopping you. Reminiscent of a straight jacket but beautifully refined; deconstruction at its finest. Keep it simple with indigo jeans and let this masterpiece do all the work.
4.When you cant remember how to work the iron because you tend to avoid wearing anything that should require its use. The faux collar is exceptional in its ability to transform almost any look into a formal one. The Mesh Shirt Collar, Wardrobe Wilderness.
Til next time, get the shirts on for a night out, rather than just a day at the office! Shanel xxx