I have been drawn to a white shirt like the proverbial moth to the flame since my early twenties. To me, this piece combines all the best that can exist in any single clothing item: it is classy, flawless, handsome, and adds that extra bit of something to every outfit. It is my go-to wardrobe staple for year-round wear and has come to my rescue for many a last-minute fancy occasion.
But what is it about the white button-up that makes it so alluring? I can think of at least 13 good reasons.
1. Effortless Elegance at Its Best
Whereas effortless elegance may not be quite as easy to achieve as the name suggests, it is also no nuclear science. Especially if you happen to own a perfect white shirt.
Effortless elegance is mostly about looking amazing while also looking like you haven’t tried too hard. It’s about picking out a piece in your wardrobe and instantly knowing multiple options of what will combine well with it.
This is exactly what you get with your perfect white blouse. Even if you haven’t worn them together yet, you just know that you can combine it with anything and the whole thing will come out amazing.
2. White shirt is flattering
White is a “highlighter” colour, and the white shirt does exactly that – it reflects light up to the face and to our eyes highlighting them. Beyond that, the tailored lines of a fitted shirt also create figure-skimming shapes.
3. You Can Wear This Shirt with Everything
The quote from designer sisters Barkha ‘n’ Sonzal sums up this point nicely, “Since white is as pure and as blank a colour you get, a white shirt is a versatile piece of clothing that can be worked with just about anything. However, no matter what it’s teamed with, the white shirt will always be the star. You can choose a look depending on the occasion you’re attending, and it’ll work brilliantly. Opt for a stiff-upper-lip sophisticated look, a casual look, chic look, or even a rock look – the white shirt will work all these looks.”
4. It lifts your outfits up
The perfect white shirt can elevate any outfit from decent to exceptional and from good to gorgeous. Let’s take jeans, for example. They are an essential item of clothing most of us rely on for a multitude of occasions.
If you feel like wearing the jeans for a more formal event, combine them with a white collared blouse and a suitable blazer. The combination of these elevates the jeans to a more sophisticated look.
The combination of jeans and the white button-up is a good example, but the truth is – this shirt also lifts all other clothing items from a classic suit to a knitted sweater, making them look much dressier.
5. It calms your outfits down
The white shirt can be used to dress down and add some solidity to an outfit that might otherwise appear too crowded or overwhelming. For instance, if you are in the mood to sport a bright coloured skirt or patterned pants, combine them with the white blouse. It lets those colourful pieces do the talking while keeping your outfit neutral and well-balanced.
6. Your Ultimate Weapon for Layering
For anyone who likes to layer, the white shirt is a godsend. Layering adds interest to your outfits by introducing more texture, colour, and pattern to your look as a whole. But it also ensures that you are not left shivering in those chilly fall and winter months.
You can wear your white shirt underneath a blazer or a jacket on warmer autumn days. For a streamlined look that works well on colder days, try layering a sweater or a cardigan over your white button-up. Because of its versatility, you can layer this shirt with just about anything in your wardrobe.
7. It is Easy to Accessorise
White shirt is a blank slate that combines well with a multitude of different accessories. These add just the right touch of glam to your outfit and make your white shirt go from understated to statement-making.
There’s nothing like a beautiful scarf to accentuate your white shirt and add a dash of colour. Scarves come in all sorts of sizes and patterns but there is one thing that is true to all of them: they all combine perfectly with the white button-up.
Bow tie is another accessory that has been adopted by the fashion-conscious women. It has a chic attitude and can be the classic black or a lavish one with floral pattern.
The combination of a white shirt and pearls suggests elegance, quality and an innate simplicity. They may be a little old school, but their subtle gleam suggests elegance, quality and an innate simplicity.
And then there are the cufflinks that add personalisation to your look in an instant. In order to wear cufflinks you just need shirts with the appropriate cuff holes – the French cuff shirts. A French cuff shirt features a double-long cuff that folds back over itself. There are no buttons just buttonholes that should be aligned to be closed with cufflinks.
If you are interested in learning more about accessorising the white shirt, the article “5 Classy Ways to Style a White Shirt” talks in detail about it.
8. A Statement Piece on its Own
The crisp, clean lines of the white shirt make it a statement piece that is perfectly suited to be worn on its own. Which is awesome, because it is not always that you want to have a blazer or a sweater on.
Your white shirt can jazz up just about any pair of pants or any skirt without making you look as if you were trying hard. It shows the world that you can pull off simple and sophisticated at the same time. Roll up your sleeves to give a youthful and cool look to your outfit.
9. Your Business Wardrobe is Never Complete Without the White Shirt
No business wardrobe is complete without the perfect white shirt. A must-have for every working woman, it can be styled an endless amount of ways and can easily be dressed up or down. It gives you a sharp look and puts you in a professional mindset.
The clothes that you choose say a lot about you. Your white shirt sends a message that you are confident and pulled together. It exudes elegance, oozes professionalism and commands respect for all the right reasons.
10. White shirt is your saviour when you don’t know what to wear
When in doubt, reaching for a white shirt is always the right choice. For all of the reasons mentioned above. And also, because this is what the famous designer Carolina Herrera does, with utmost finesse.
“When I don’t know what to wear, I choose a white shirt. You can wear them with or without jewelry, with jeans or with a long or short skirt. It can be worn for special occasions or even for work,” says Herrera.
11. The White Shirt is Timeless
The white shirt has been a symbol of wealth, fashion and status for more than 200 years. It has been worn by style icons from Katherine Hepburn to Patti Smith for generations and fits the definition of timelessness to a T: it fits everyone well, it’s comfortable and safe, and makes a good investment.
It has survived the revolving door of fashion without ever going out of style and thus has earned the title of a timeless classic.
12. It is Also Seasonless
The white shirt does not conform to typical seasonal trends but can, on the contrary, be worn throughout the year. The key is choosing the right pieces to go with it as the seasons change.
You layer your white button up for the colder months, you wear it on its own in the warmer months. With dress pants and pencil skirts in the winter, with denim shorts and flowy maxi skirts in the summer.
And no, you don’t need a white shirt with short sleeves for the warmer season. Rolling up the sleeves when you feel warm gives your outfits much more style and character.
13. You Will Shine Your Brightest
White shirts come in all sorts of shapes and forms. To me, the classic one with no frills, fancies and distractions has always held the most appeal. Partly, because it is the best canvas for any kind of outfit. But partly also because it lets you and your personality shine through when you have your white shirt on.
Classic white shirt can be your deal making, power piece. It requires confidence to wear but projects the same. Walk into a meeting in your perfect button-up and everyone in the room will peg you for a confident person who knows what she is doing.
Now the only question remains, just how do you stand out when the white shirt is one of the most common wardrobe choices for women from all across the world? I’d say by choosing a truly remarkable piece that is sure to stand out from any other white shirt.
Author of the article:
co-creator of Ella Hopfeldt brand