Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Classics and Basics: The White Shirt

I recently got serious about building a wardrobe that makes sense, instead of just buying things only on whim.  Just about every book on fashion and style includes a list of the essentials.  And a classic white shirt inevitably tops that list.  I love a plain white shirt with jeans and boots.  And I wear it in the summer with short shorts and high-heeled sandals or over a bikini.

Encouraging women to adopt men's white shirts as their own is one of Coco Chanel's most significant contributions to fashion, second only to the LBD.  I agree with Coco; I prefer classic menswear shirts, but they will gap at my bust if they fit elsewhere, and if they fit at the bust, they will be shapeless and baggy elsewhere.  I often don't like the shirts made for women with obvious darting or girly touches.

Rebecca & Drew does genius "bra-sized" shirts and dresses which use a double-button system to eliminate gapping.   I think these shirts are great tucked in or with jackets, and if I was some kind of suit-wearing executive, I think I'd buy a dozen.  They have a straight bottom, and look made for women.  Not bad things, to be certain, but I like the curved hem of a man's shirt.

I think Mary Rambin has the right idea here.  Buy a men's or boy's shirt and have it tailored. I like oxford shirts from Pink or J Crew.

Speaking of Coco, there is a biopic , Coco Avant Chanel, coming out sometime in the next year.   It's written and directed by Anne Fontaine, and stars Audrey Tatou.