A white shirt has to be extremely versatile, and this instantly rules out almost all fabrics: silk is too delicate, linen is too stiff, cotton is too hot, even plain cotton is probably too showy. But the most important consideration when choosing a white shirt is how you plan on wearing it. The basic rule of fashion is to avoid wearing a shirt in places you don’t plan on wearing it: if you’re planning to wear it on a Friday night, it’s not very classy to wear a t-shirt with a pair of slacks on a Tuesday evening. Conversely, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a white shirt with a t-shirt and pants on a Wednesday night.
The white shirt is the garment du jour, so here are some tips for putting it to good use: The key to putting a white shirt to work is to avoid being too conservative. Keep in mind that in general, less is more: too many buttons, too many pockets, too many different fabric types. Too many different textures and colors will turn an otherwise nice outfit into an eyesore. If you must have buttons and piping, put them in the back, out of the way where they won’t interfere with the outfit you’re planning to wear.
Don’t forget your denim trousers! A white shirt and a pair of denim jeans are the classic combination for a summer wardrobe. It would be impossible to think of a good outfit for the summer without both a white cotton shirt and a pair of dark wash jeans. Or you could choose a vest over your jeans for a dressier look.
Tailored White Shirts: This wardrobe staple is always a great choice for a formal occasion. They’re just perfect for picking up wrinkles and keeping a bit of formality in. And they’re just as comfortable as regular trousers. For a summer wardrobe revamp, wear your tailored shirt with a pair of leggings or a skirt. Dressy or casual, you can wear a white shirt with almost any pair of jeans. Just be sure to wear slim-cut jeans (preferably tapered, with no slouching or lumps) with the tailored ones for that smooth, slimming silhouette.
Trousers + a Low Skirt: When wearing a white shirt with low slacks, it’s very easy to look like you’re wearing a skirt. The classic button-down shirt looks especially good with a skirt. But you don’t need to always look like you’re wearing a skirt: if your dress is simple, you can wear a turtleneck shirt under it with your jeans. If you have a bit of a thicker neckline in your turtleneck, you can dress up a long sweater, such as a cardigan, with your white shirt. These are the easiest ways to keep a bit of formality, without going overboard.
White Tank tops + trousers: Many different ways to wear white tank tops with trousers. If you’re in the mood to look dressed down, you can always wear a long-sleeved v-neck sweater with your tank top. This gives a more dressy, informal look, perfect for those rainy days. If you’d like to dress up your whole outfit, put a pair of dark jeans over your tank top and a vest or cardigan over your trousers. You can wear your white shirt with these too, of course. But don’t wear them all at once; it just looks too busy!
With Pashmina’s: Although pashmina is not a traditional fabric, many different cultures have been wearing it for hundreds of years. If you want to wear one yourself, or you know someone who does, simply throw your white shirts, t-shirts, or cardigans in a few pashmina piles and you’re all set. There’s nothing else to worry about. Not that it helps much, but it will add a touch of texture that will help your outfit stand out more than if you were simply wearing an average white shirt.
White Jeans: If you have a pair of straight white jeans (which means they run to your knees, not your hips, ) you can easily pull off this look. Just wear a thin blouse over your jeans, and some dark tights. Then top that off with your white shirt and tights. Or you can also wear your white shirt over a pair of jeans and then add a thicker-than-usual pair of jeans.