November 26, 2012

The 5 Key-Pieces In Your Wardrobe And How To Wear Them: The White Shirt

The classic white shirt (also called a dress shirt, a button-front or a button-up), with its distinctive full-length opening at the front, from the collar to the bottom hemline, was initially reserved for men, as women often used to wear blouses.

While the oldest white shirt in history dates back to 3000 BC (it was found in a First Dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarken), it is a clothing item that has surely stood the test of time. Initially worn only as underwear for men or as a night gown during the Middle Ages, the shirt had neither collar nor cuffs. Instead, it had a hem that could be tightened and buttoned and it was usually fashioned out of linen or silk.

Towards the middle of the 19th century, the shirt went through an important transformation process, being tailored more to the shape of the body and soon after the beginning of the 20th century, was considered an attribute of prosperity (hence, the term “white collar”, coined by Pulitzer Prize winner and socialist Upton Sinclair in the 1930s, used to describe management and administrative staff, versus “blue collars” – manual workers who wore blue shirts, and “brown collars” – foremen who wore brown shirts).

Today, the white shirt has become a must have item in every person’s wardrobe, proving that it can indeed stand the test of time.

Here are a few tips for you, that you should take into account when buying a white shirt ( or any shirt, for that matter):

>> If you are petite, make sure that the shirt does not overpower your figure. Stay away from oversize details such as big collars or bows, lapels that are too wide or a tail that is too long.

>> For a slimming effect, try a white shirt with almost invisible vertical white stripes.

>> Also for a slimming effect, try a tailored shirt.

>> If you have a prominent chest, stay away from ruffles, bows, or any other detail in that area. Also, make sure that the shirt doesn’t form gaps between the buttons in the chest area.

>> If you want to hide your abdomen area, try a shirt that is ruched on the side.

And if you’re wondering how such a simple garment has managed to stay so popular throughout time, it’s because you can dress it up or down, to form any kind of look you might want.

Pair it with a tailored blazer, add a pencil skirt (go for a leather one and you’ll be très en vogue this season), a set of elbow-length leather gloves, stilettos and a few elegant but understated pieces of jewelry, and you’ve got a super stylish outfit appropriate for the office or even for a business meeting.

Alternatively, you can turn a plain white shirt into a glamorous cocktail outfit by pairing it with a floor-length skirt, sky-high heels, a chic clutch and a couple of statement jewelry pieces, such as an oversize necklace, big earrings and one (or even more, be daring!) cocktail rings.

To turn your simple white shirt into a party-ready look, just add some extra sparkle, in the form of a shimmering skirt or sequined shorts, high-heeled sandals, sparkling jewelry and a cute clutch. Don’t forget to have fun with colours, to make the outfit pop even more.

Prabal Gurung blouse


Haider Ackermann blazer


Mango skirt


Mango skirt – €99
Valentino pumps


Valentino pumps – €539
Stella McCartney clutch


Haider Ackermann glove


Emporio Armani bracelet


Oscar de la Renta earrings


Burberry umbrella


Just Cavalli skirt


Oscar de la Renta earrings


Diane von Furstenberg sandals


Reiss clutch


Reiss clutch – €120
Oscar de la Renta ring


Oscar de la Renta ring


Belt


Oscar de la Renta necklace


Shorts


Topshop Shorts – €31
BCBG Max Azria sandals


Kenneth Jay Lane bracelet


Emporio Armani necklace


Kenneth Jay Lane ring


Juicy Couture ring


Lulu Guinness clutch


Roberto Cavalli earrings


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Photo courtesy of: fashion.lnd.com.cn