Both on trend and timeless, a classic top-quality white shirt belongs in every woman’s wardrobe. Here’s the best one we’ve found.
BUY RIGHT | The fashion media everywhere is reporting that “a great white shirt” is a must-have item this fall. This fall? A great white shirt is a fashion basic that always belongs in every woman’s wardrobe. It’s a constant (like a perfect pair of black pumps), a fashion equalizer that does not reflect a particular age or generation. And while it may be “in fashion” right now, it’s definitely not a trend item but a staple.
Which explains why beautiful menswear-inspired white shirts are a perennial with Ralph Lauren, a designer who does not follow trends. In his current collection, Lauren’s elegant black label white shirt Antonia is priced at around $400 (U.S.); his Curt boyfriend shirt, part of the Lauren line, is around $70 (U.S.).
“I have a Ralph Lauren black label white shirt in my closet,” says my fashionable friend Amelia, “but I won’t buy another one. These shirts are fabulous, but they’re an unnecessary extravagance when you can have a of shirt of black label quality—at least I think so—for a quarter of the price.”
Amelia’s latest white shirt love is the Brooks Brothers (BB) Classic (it’s interesting to note that Ralph Lauren worked for Brooks Brothers before he launched his clothing line and has been accused of overly referencing the BB aesthetic). Priced as low as $84.50 in Canada and $74.50 in the U.S., it’s easy to see why this shirt has earned a cult following.
How Do I love My Brooks Brothers Shirt? Let Me Count The Ways.
Brooks Brothers “Miracle Non-Iron Shirt” comes in three styles: tailored, fitted and classic. While fashion editor Stacy Wallace-Albert insisted on Oprah that the perfect white BB shirt “must be fitted,” Amelia begs to differ. “The fitted shirt, which is darted, looks great while you are standing, but when you sit down your rib cage expands—you don’t want to be thinking about gaping holes between buttons when you’re going into meetings at work.”
What Amelia loves about her shirt are the kinds of details you find on good men’s shirts: French seams; a straight point collar that is “great for flipping and staying up, and when you button it up, it won’t wimp out on you”; a shirttail hem. “I love their sleeve length, too,” she says. “Cuffs are the first thing on a shirt to get dowdy. I keep mine rolled back and put them down only if I’m wearing a jacket. The Brooks Brothers sleeve length is perfect for rolling back twice and still covering your forearm.”
One of the things Amelia likes best about her BB shirt is the no-iron feature. She washes hers in cold water and hangs it to dry, though technically this isn’t necessary—and she gives it a quick pass with the iron, though she doesn’t really need to that either. “I took my shirt with me to Italy recently and never ironed it once. It travelled like a dream.” —Annabel Lee
In Vancouver, Brooks Brothers is located at 1026 Alberni St., 604-678-2260; to see the Brooks Brothers catalog, visit www.brooksbrothers.com
Photo: Brooks Brothers white shirt, Brooks Brothers