Almost all my wardrobe is made up of black clothes only. I obviously vary the materials, the cuts and the shapes, I accessorize... but you are unlikely to see me wearing another color, except the bright gold of the jewelry I love. Let's just say my style oscillates between Wednesday Addams on ecstasy, Mr. T. in rehab, and the White House Christmas tree.
Working mainly from home, especially for fashion brands, my looks have never been a subject of debate. That said, the situation changed a few weeks ago, during a mission for an automotive company. You can imagine that neither my 5 cm thick soles nor my jeans torn from belt to ankle had a place in such a serious environment. Like so many people dressing for the office, I put on a blue suit. Fortunately, since absolutely every man present had done the same...
Surrounded by collaborators in white shirts, I then wondered: often the prerogative of a formal repertoire, should this piece necessarily be confined to a professional environment or to significant occasions? Can we wear it differently? In what ways? Button up your collar, let's take a look...
A garment like no other
With a refined heritage, a white shirt will always manage to give a more elegant dimension to your outfits. It will help you look presentable, even if your face bears nothing more than the stigmas of the previous night. Then, it's up to you to choose how smart you want to look: with tailor-made pants for a "good family" feel, accompanied by a flamboyant blazer for an original elegance, or coupled with a worn jacket for contrast.
It also has a particular effect on women, who, by appropriating a traditionally masculine garment, convey a kind of power that is as singular as it is seductive.
A blank canvas
A basic par excellence, a white shirt adapts to more daring elements. It then serves as a binder, neutral enough to mix with more bolder takes. The strength of pleated pants, XXL darted ones, oversized coats or even culotte skirts will thus be softened.
In addition, it easily finds its place in layering looks. One can imagine it tied at the waist, showing a crop top or an athleisure bra, or completely open on a tee-shirt with a complex print. Similarly, over a thin turtleneck, or a loose item whose volume you would like to control. On the other hand, it will slip under a knitwear or a designer sweatshirt, with the collar and bottom showing out.
Besides, it is the ideal accompaniment for your jewellery and accessories. Beyond these good old ties, take it out of its comfort zone with layers of necklaces, vintage bandanas or scarves, and broaches pinned to her chest.
Not so nice...
Some pieces are so iconic that they easily move from one repertoire to another, regardless of their origins or the context that popularized them. In this case, the material and its texture, the cut, the shape of the collar, or the length of the sleeves, are all factors that will make it possible to play on different influences, more or less distant from the classic wardrobe. While an oversized model, cut in linen, will evoke the idleness of holidays and summer, a short-sleeved nylon version will be more similar to sportswear and the baseball supporter's uniform.
Twist it, tie it to your hips like a grunge dandy, or turn it into a dress. Moreover, the immaculate option is not the only one available. I personally only have one white shirt, a model adorned with a black gothic print by the small Scandinavian label Minimum. Without necessarily going so far, give in to the colours of the graphic patterns of the 80s trend, turn to color block options, or adopt light stripes for more subtlety.
After all, isn't that finally the ultimate achievement? Transforming the most classic piece into the central element of your outfit... •