17 June 2009

Four Ways: White Shirt

[1]
Nearly any magazine article you run across touting the “basics” that all women should have in their closets will no doubt include a crisp white shirt. Think classic Carolina Herrera! But that is one basic that has always seemed to elude me. Since I’ve been toying with the idea of simplifying my wardrobe I decided to revisit the white-shirt-as-an-essential rule. I think part of the problem has always been the white shirts I have found just haven’t suited my fancy. They’re either too frilly or too boyish or too boxy or too wrinkly. I tend to be super particular about the fit of my clothes and I’d never found the one that was juuust right. I think those days may be over. I finally found a vintage one that may fit the bill. It’s got the cutest little tag embroidered with a Union Jack that says “Tailored in Nottingham". Since the "white shirt" is pretty much virgin territory for me, I decided it would be perfect fodder for a Four Ways post.

[b]
  • The first look is a little bit bohemian, mixing the white shirt with beat up Levi cut-offs, a vest and vintage accessories.
  • I had the hardest time mixing the shirt with skirts but it seemed perfect under this 30s style jumper.
[a]
  • Bring out your inner beatnik. This plays into my current obsession with stripes. It doesn't get any easier than this. I threw the white shirt on with a pair of cuffed black jeans, simple flats and a black beret. A striped sweater tops off the look. This was my favorite combination.
  • Hmmm. I was going for boyish but I think I ended up more Amish. In retrospect, this one isn't quite workin' for me! I like the suspenders but somehow the rest of it just didn't gel. I think there's potential here, but it needs a little tweaking.

In the end, this was a bit harder than I expected it to be. I thought it would look really classy paired with a black pencil skirt and a scarf, but somehow I just ended up looking like a flight attendant or hotel desk clerk. A navy pleated skirt made me look like I was heading to Catholic school. And then there's the little Amish boy. ;) Despite a few missteps, I can see myself reaching into my closet for this more often than I thought I would.

40 comments:

REread said...

cool ... love the Audrey pic

Meaghan Kelly said...

i like your black and white look! i have had the same dilemma finding a white shirt i like, although i think if i were to wear one, i'd want to wear it with fitted capri pants and my hair up to TRY and replicate the first pic!

helenlouise said...

The fourth one's my favourite actually! The bowler and the shoes jazz it up and I love those jeans.

Lexie said...

i think it's the high/mid rise on the jeans that makes it not quite work? maybe try a different pair?

i agree with you - the third look is my favorite!

Sarah said...

I love your blog, your pictures are beautiful !! I'll come back :) Have a nice day !

morgan said...

You do officially live in amish country now.. so the 4th look is fitting!! :-) The first ensemble has to be my fav overall though!

dearilou said...

I am just loving the beatnick option. Maybe I should get a crisp white shirt? I do have one with a Peter Pan collar that is satiny.. I think that could pull off different, more girly looks than just a plain white blouse, eh?

LandGirlontheHomeFront said...

White shirts are de rigeur! It's all about darts, sister! I don't know if you have the store Jacob in the US, but I can't wear any dress shirts unless they are cut for a woman's body and with a tiny bit of stretch. The way Audrey worked the white shirt is inimitable!

jayne said...

i love the white shirt, but I've found that as a cheap college student without time to iron they're quite hard to wear alone since after 1 wear/wash I'm totally full of wrinkles

love your variations, i miss these 4 ways posts. i think i like the first boho look the best, so effortless and a different way to wear the white shirt. the beatnik look is fun too, i can't help but mention that you definitely remind me of Don Draper's beatnik affair Midge aka Rosemary DeWitt, and since she's gorgeous that's an awesome thing!

i laughed outloud at your amish comment haha...I have to admit I agree

keli * said...

#2 is my favorite! very well done :)

Marie Lemondrop said...

White shirts are fabulous, but I can sometimes feel like a waitress if I wear a solid skirt or pants, must be scars from my college work experience. I love your jumper shirt combo, so ladylike. I always loved the way Jacki O looked in a white shirt, even a tee. This Vogue cover compares Carla Bruni to Jackie, and she does get the great riding outfit down pat:
http://lemondropvintage.com/carla_bruni_vanity_fair.jpg
Thanks for a great post about a wardrobe staple that actually is a challenge to pull off sometimes!

eep! said...

i actually love that amish look. really adorable yet menswearish.

Katy said...

I always have trouble with white shirts, too. Really, with any button-downs. If they fit nicely in the shoulders and waist, they gap over the chest. If they fit in the chest, they're too baggy in the waist. But I do love the IDEA of a white shirt. Personally, I always have visions of wearing a white shirt with a beat-up pair of old jeans, my Frye harness boots, and a big chunky turquoise-and-silver bracelet and necklace set. Very Southwest and comfie, but classic too.

Anonymous said...

Soooo cute! I love your blog and especially this kind of posts.
Actually I have three white shirts and no one fits me very well...What a shame...I'm looking for the perfect white shirt, but I can't drop the ones I have off the window, so I'll try to pull them off as you advice.
Hope for the best...:)
XO
And sorry for my english...
Silvia

CaitieCatherwood1314 said...

Ooh! I LOVE the second outfit! So lovely! <3

~ Caitie

Anonymous said...

Great 4 ways post, as always.

I think on the Amish outfit it would work as-is with a different hat (maybe the beret?), or with that hat and a different pair of jeans (darker wash: black or grey could look cool). I think the silhouette of the pair you're wearing works really well. And I love love love those spectator shoes.

-Victoria

Ann said...

Great post! Love the beatnik one especially. Maybe it's the suspenders in the 4th outfit that make it go the way of the Amish? Or maybe you might switch out the hat or shoes for a more feminine option to balance it out?...but then the hat and shoes are so awesome. Humph.
:) :)

Isabel said...

Is that Mia Farrow beside Audrey in the first pic? I want to wear a white shirt with floral pants like that!

In Bug's Drawers said...

I love these posts of yours. You are very good at designing outfits.

Darla: Retro Ways said...

Such a great post, that 1930's inspired jumper is amazing. ♥

Jessica said...

Oooh, I'm droolin' over the second outfit in the first set of outfits!! That jumper is gooorgeeouss!!! I always love your four ways posts, each look is always so different too--almost like just different personalities (that probably sounds strange!)!

Gracie said...

I have the same trouble with the white button down. I think you may have just shed some light on this dilemma though.

Love Grace.

Allyson Zinnia said...

I have trouble with white shirts, too. I have a small frame, so if they aren't perfectly tailored I look like I'm wearing a tent. And if by some off chance I find one that fits well, I hate ironing so much I'm not likely to wear it past that first wash. I only have one white blouse, and even though it has short sleeves, a peter pan collar, and is well-tailored and wrinkle-resistant I still barely wear it. I love the looks you put together, especially the first two, so I may try to recreate them and get my money's worth out of that blouse!

Hmmmm... it wouldn't go with your boyish theme, or black+white color scheme, but I think that last outfit would look great (and less Amish, although I think it's cute anyway!) with a different hat. Maybe a beret in a brighter color or a fedora.

corrie said...

The 3rd look is totally my jam and has lead me to realize white shirts are sorely missing from my wardrobe.

Chicken Dinner Candybar said...

love your use of hats here! i think my favorite is the 3rd as well. i haven't tried the classic white shirt, but now i think i may just need one!

Quixsa said...

I love it when a basic like a white button down is taken and shown the various ways one can wear it with drastically different looks. Love it!
The only thing is that I had to wear a white button down for four years as part of a uniform for catholic school so I'm conditioned to avoid the white button down if at all possible.lol.

Paula said...

Thanks for making this post! And at the right time too - I recently bought a white button down shirt for my trip to China, and found that I could mix it with almost anything. It definitely saved a lot of space in my luggage. Whooh! :)

Penny said...

i love the beatnik one!!!!

R. said...

Oooh, I love all of them, but I think what pushes the amish one over the top is the hat. I really like the jeans and suspenders but the hat plus the suspenders is definitely a bit amish. Still cool though!

libby said...

I love #4, actually. But, I'd toss the hat and go for a messy top knot with the hair and then add some black ballet flats. Keep the purse, love that purse. Maybe even add a tie tack with a dangling chain and bar to the suspenders for an added masculine, yet delicate detail. These are my fav posts of yours.

Join the Gossip said...

This is awesome!! I love how you take an item and match it up with different styles. I like the 2nd outfit the best, but they're all great.

Great blog, glad I came across it!!

glam.spoon said...

that jumper is fantastic. but I wish I were taller!

strawberry fields said...

i like outfit #4. very cute tomboy look.

p.s. i adore your shoes!

me melodia said...

I'm flipping out over all these looks.
Love that jumper skirt!

Dalena Vintage said...

i most certainly agree with strawberry fields...outfit four is uber adorable in a tomboyish way!

tuzifashiontips said...

You gave me some ideas with these pics!
I hope it won't be a problem if I took one of your shots to do a post on my blog, here you have the link: http://tuzifashiontips.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/random-inspirations/
but if it is, just tell me and I will eliminate the shots from my blog immediately!
Thank
Tuzi

Eyeliah SS said...

oh great outfits, always need a new way to wear a white shirt. :-)

The Barely Tattoo'd Artist said...

The last one...you need boyfriend pants that are cuffed...it'll work that way...

Or even better yet, if you still feel amish, change the suspenders out for a gray vest left open... but untuck the shirt...

Anonymous said...

I like your white shirt paired with suspenders. Recently I started wearing suspenders, too and I think they are great - not only stylish but also extremly comfy. Love to wear them.
Caroline

daniel john said...

Awesome. It is amazing how some people come up with cool ideas.

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