The Perfect White Shirt
“I have been wearing a white blouse all my life…They are classic with a modern twist and they are very feminine, for a real woman. It is about simplicity — they don’t look complicated — it has to look effortless.” Carolina Herrera
A crisp white shirt, particularly one that stays looking that way the whole day is a beautiful thing.
The white shirt is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you can own. It is a must for any women's wardrobe no matter her size or body type.
A white cotton shirt is crisp, clean and sophisticated. It provides instant polish whether worn on its own or under a suit or sweater. It’s the ultimate all-season wardrobe essential.
How to find the Perfect Fit
There are three areas to consider when buying a white shirt:
the fit at the bust line, the shoulders, and sleeve length.
Women who are large busted often have to go up a size or more just to get the bust area to fit, particularly if it's a fitted shirt.
- Shoulder seams need to land at the edge or pivot spot of your shoulder.
- Long sleeves should be long enough to reach the first knuckle of your thumb or just above it. ¾ sleeves should land just past the elbows or a little more.
- The body of the shirt should land at the top of your hipbone where you can leave it on the outside. At the same time, it should be long enough that you can tuck it in if you choose.
The perfect year-round shirt is a pre-washed, natural fiber (cotton) with 1-5% Lycra in it. That little bit of Lycra gives it some stretch, making it more comfortable.
The classic white shirt is made of 100% cotton, with a collar that's neither oversized nor too small; not too pointy and not too wide-apart.
The hem can be cut straight across, but a menswear-style shirttail hem, with a curved bottom and cutaway sides, is nice because it reduces bulk when tucked in and is visually slimming when worn out.
No matter what your shape and size, the most flattering shirts are tailored with darts and seams to fit closer to the body. Boxy shirts tend to look frumpy.
If you're concerned about wrinkling, try a fabric with a small amount of stretch. If you love cuff links, opt for French cuffs. If you prefer a cleaner, minimalist look, consider a shirt in with the front buttons hidden under the placket.
Details to Look For When Buying a White Shirt
- Structured collar: The shirt collar brightens the face and adds a refined finish. Shirts with substantial, sturdy collars that will stay standing are a must.
- Stretch cotton: Adding a bit of stretch to your classic cotton shirt staves off wrinkling and allows for comfortable all-day wear
- Seaming: Regardless of your body shape, when it comes to cotton shirts, a tailored style is always more flattering than a loose sack shape. Princess seaming or darting ensure smooth, long lines in body-skimming styles.
- Sheer Factor: Lightweight enough to be layered and opaque enough to wear without an underpinning. No need to fear unwanted lingerie exposure.
- Shirttail: A rounded shirttail hem reduces bulk when tucking in and draws attention to your center as opposed to your hips when worn out.
No matter what your size, ensuring the right fit and proportion is key to looking your best.