Wardrobe Essentials: The Versatile White Shirt

The white shirt is the ultimate classic item of clothing in a man’s wardrobe. Suffice to say that a luxurious white shirt is a must-have for every man. It’s a staple for everything from special occasion wear, to day-to-day business wear.

White shirts came to be regarded as the formal attire, when in time gone by, the very fact that you could wear a “white collar” meant that you were a successful businessman—or perhaps even a sophisticated aristocrat. Times have changed but the white shirt has not just stayed the course, it has gone on to become the ultimate classic.

Why a White Shirt?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication! The white shirt has the ability to confer sophistication and elegance on the person that wears it.  Think about some of the best dressed men you know. Often, you’ll see find that their preferred dress shirt is almost always plain white.

1. Elegance

There truly is nothing in elegance that beats a freshly starched bright white cotton shirt. It show that you care about your appearance it—and it also shows that you can afford to!

2. Versatility

A white shirt combines with every coloured suit or pants you might have in your wardrobe. It works with formal lounge suits, a sport coat and dress pants, as well as being the best companion for a pair of summer cotton khaki pants.

3. Contrast

A smart wrist watch is to a man’s wardrobe what wrist and neck jewellery combined are for a woman! A white shirt allows you to do is to draw attention to your wrist watch—or any other accessories you prefer—while it serves as a powerful and elegant contrast to other colors and textures.

It’s easy to see why a white shirt doesn’t limit your sartorial choices, it gives you more.

Celebrities Wearing White Shirts

As you’ve learned, you can wear a white shirt many different ways. To see just how much of a classic and how versatile the white shirt really is, you have see Dean Martin rock the white shirt with a sport coat and a white pocket square on his 1960 album cover of  “This Time I’m Swingin’!”.

this time im swinging

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Time_I’m_Swingin‘!

More recently, with a lesson in how to rock a suit with a white shirt,  here is David Cameron addressing the United Nations.

David Cameron

Source: http://gadebate.un.org/67/united-kingdom-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

We have all tried the Blue Jeans and White dress shirt combination! Tom Cruise to Harrison Ford, actors in Hollywood have all worn that look with great success. This is a sort of counter-culture look, which is at the same time acceptably serious business casual. While that does sound like an oxymoron, the ability of the white shirt to straddle the formal, casual divide is unmatched by any other shirt that you could have in your wardrobe.

Choosing a Fabric

Your choice of fabric weave in the white shirt you wear can help further subtly define the look that you want to convey.

Oxford Weave

The oxford weave is just a bit heavier and textured, it’s also very American.  This is your choice of shirt if the look that you want to present is just short of the complete formal.

Poplin or Broadcloth

The Poplin or Broadcloth weave is a plain flat weave fabric, and this is the fabric for the shirt that would represent the most sophisticated end of the white shirt spectrum.

One more thing. White shirts with non-iron finishes need to be avoided like the plague. They not only look cheap, they are in fact cheap. The crush on a superb white pure cotton fabric shirt is rightly known as the “expensive crush”!

If you don’t already have a white dress shirt in your wardrobe, what are you waiting? The white shirt is one item in your wardrobe that you can fall in love with again and again!

This was a Guest Article – Fazle A Naqvi is an apparel industry veteran and the founder of Artvictus. ArtVictus is an online dress shirt store that allows men to become style co-creaters and design their own dress shirts exactly the way they want them. To read more by Fazle, visit blog.artvictus.com.

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