Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is Your Shirt All White? It Is the Summer Wardrobe Staple but Don't Spend a Fortune When There Are So Many Fantastic High Street Designs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is Your Shirt All White? It Is the Summer Wardrobe Staple but Don't Spend a Fortune When There Are So Many Fantastic High Street Designs

Article excerpt

Byline: MELANIE RICKEY

WITH its resurrected status as a fashion essential for summer, selecting a white shirt has become as nit-picky as buying a pair of jeans. So keen was I to find the perfect specimen, I had one made-to-measure by David Gale, the legendary shirt-maker at Dunhill.

But his bespoke shirt will set you back [pounds sterling]200. However, I was willing to pay the price. These were my criteria: the shirt should have a boyish aura, yet encircle the slender female neck to make a portrait of the face. It should have a feminine, well-shaped arm ending at a slim cuff. Lastly, it has to be a good face-lightening bright white.

A month after Gale mapped every dimension of my upper body, taking into account my posture (sloping shoulders, stupidly long arms), my "perfect" shirt arrived. I loved the way it fitted snugly at the collar, the black buttons were sewn in with scarlet thread and the shirt was a crisp bright white, making my face look more youthful than it is.

But could I find anything to wear with it?

No. I couldn't tuck it into my favourite jeans and the elegant but prominent collar didn't work with my hair down. Don't get me wrong - Mr Gale did his job, but I did not do mine. I focused on how I wanted it to fit my body, rather than how I wanted it to work with the rest of my wardrobe.

And this is the crux of a good white shirt: it should fit, flatter and work with other wardrobe items. I should have asked for the right tuck-in length, should have known to ask for a subtle collar, and not bothered about it being too fitted. And I need not have spent [pounds sterling]200 because there are perfectly good ones on the high street.

The best was Stella McCartney's white shirt from her H&M collection last season. Tucked in, loose, sleeves down or rolled up - it's so versatile. And Gap has released a capsule range of five white shirts (my favourite is the collarless dress shirt). Try also broderie-anglaise style white blouses with Peter Pan collars and puff sleeves (from Zara); dress shirts (Paul Smith's are gorgeous); or boyish slim shirts with subtle collars that look good with a skinny tie or worn open (Lanvin has beautiful ones). …

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