ESSENTIALS | WHITE SHIRT

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“To create something that lasts, the first thing is to want to create something that lasts forever”

Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann

The White Shirt seems an appropriate place to introduce our Essential series, where we focus on timeless, enduring wardrobe items that are the backbone of a functional wardrobe.

The versatility of a classic white shirt or blouse is hard to beat. It’s the perfect sartorial blank canvas, adapting to moods and styles infinitely, morphing from elegant to sensual, from casual to formal and everything in between. It is imbued with that “forever” appeal that few items of clothing have and it has certainly been a staple in my wardrobe for a long time.

To demonstrate its adaptability, Santhya and I have pulled our favourite white shirts and blouses from our closet, really explored its possibilities and styled a few different looks. We hope this inspires you to get creative with your own essential white shirt.

 
COMFORTABLE, LAID-BACK, RELAXED. Blouse: Maje (similar    here   ); skirt: bought in Barcelona (similar    here   ); shoes: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar    here   )

COMFORTABLE, LAID-BACK, RELAXED. Blouse: Maje (similar here); skirt: bought in Barcelona (similar here); shoes: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar here)

 
 
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CHIC, ELEGANT, SENSUOUS. Blouse: &Other Stories (similar    here   ); skirt: Zara; shoes: Buffalo London

CHIC, ELEGANT, SENSUOUS. Blouse: &Other Stories (similar here); skirt: Zara; shoes: Buffalo London

 
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OFF-DUTY, EFFORTLESS, COSY. Blouse: Maje (similar    here   ); jumper:    Cuyana   ; trousers: Sisley; belt: Review; shoes: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar    here   )

OFF-DUTY, EFFORTLESS, COSY. Blouse: Maje (similar here); jumper: Cuyana; trousers: Sisley; belt: Review; shoes: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar here)

 
 
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CLASSIC, VINTAGE-INSPIRED. Shirt: Marks&Spencer (similar    here   ); skirt: three Quarter (similar    here   ); shoes: Zara; brooch: vintage

CLASSIC, VINTAGE-INSPIRED. Shirt: Marks&Spencer (similar here); skirt: three Quarter (similar here); shoes: Zara; brooch: vintage

 
 
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FRAGILE, UNUSUAL, SOFTLY STRUCTURED. Shirt: Marks&Spencer (similar    here   ); trousers:    Elizabeth Suzann   ; shoes: Zara

FRAGILE, UNUSUAL, SOFTLY STRUCTURED. Shirt: Marks&Spencer (similar here); trousers: Elizabeth Suzann; shoes: Zara

 
 
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INFORMAL, LIGHT, SIMPLE. Linen shirt: Grana (similar    here   ); Trousers: 3.3 Field Trip; shoes: ASOS (similar    here   ); earrings: vintage

INFORMAL, LIGHT, SIMPLE. Linen shirt: Grana (similar here); Trousers: 3.3 Field Trip; shoes: ASOS (similar here); earrings: vintage

 
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Where to buy

For shirts, I usually head straight to the men’s department/selection. There is just something about a man’s shirt on woman’s body - that touch of sensual appropriation - that is hard to replicate in a shirt specifically designed for women. If you are petite and flat chested like me but still want that oversized, androgynous look, try on the smallest size in slim fit in the men’s department. If you have more curves, try the regular fit and/or a larger size.

Petite Notes

Both Santhya and I are petite (< 160cm/5’ 3”), albeit with very different body types. We know that it can be challenging to find wardrobe pieces and styling inspiration for a smaller frame, which is why all our fashion related posts will include “petite” notes - our thoughts on dressing a petite body frame.

I personally don’t believe in rules when it comes to dressing yourself. Clothes for me are a way of expression, a reflection of mood and state of mind and of course aesthetic values. Clothes should allow you to feel at home, to be you, whatever that looks like on any given day. The notion of clothes needing to be “flattering” for your body type is deeply offensive to me as it implies a need to conform to certain ingrained outside expectations, a need to subdue your body with the clothes you wear to make it appeal to a certain standard of “beauty”.

Hence the nature of your petite notes; you will not find us prescribing rules or recommending to dress a certain way. Rather, we want to encourage and inspire you to experiment with the clothes you have, to grow into your own style and to offer resources to find those enduring classic pieces still missing from your wardrobe.