I was reading an article the other day regarding ‘The death of the white shirt’. The article explains how vibrantly printed shirts are become a staple in men’s wardrobe and attitudes are changing in terms of men being more accepting of variety.
Well, it’s good to hear that attitudes have caught up and men are no longer ‘ashamed’ of a little colour and a little print. After all, I’ve been wearing Liberty print shirts for ages and always advocate colour in one’s daily look.
However, I disagree that white shirts are coming to an end. A white shirt is a versatile garment that is essential in any wardrobe. It gives a fresh look to any ensemble and allows elegance to slip into everyday life. I strongly believe that it’s the look that you convey rather than the type of garment that wins the day whether it be professional or sporty. After all, high end brands are not selling you the garment but the lifestyle of that brand. You wouldn’t buy an expensive bag just because it is utilitarian. You buy it because you’ve seen it plastered in the media with ‘celebrity x’ pairing it with a particular look and you want to be part of it.
Anyway, a white shirt will always be a classic that can never go away. That is why I have always had the dilemma of finding the best material to make the best white shirt. I love my white shirt to be crisp but smooth to the touch, white but not bleached white and convey a message of elegance and extravagance. After all, the price of a white shirt varies from mere pounds to hundreds but it’s the quality that is most important. Obviously, being able to make my own shirts takes the high price out of the equation so even with an expensive fabric, the price will even out with the best quality shirts.
My search for the best material has lead me to using linen (shrinks so I don’t bother anymore), silk (a pain to sew), 100% sateen cotton (sheen too distracting), Egyptian cotton bedding fabric (weave too loose) to polyester mixed fabric (No! Just no!). Eventually I settled down to the most likely choice. Liberty Tana Lawn.
It’s a bit weird that I have always bought Liberty print fabrics with their smooth Tana Lawn fabric but their solid colour fabrics ebbs and flows into the shop. It was on a recent visit (I didn’t like the printed fabric they had on sale this year) that I saw some white fabric.
I was immediately attracted to it and with a few of my white shirts coming to the end of their lifespans, I decided to splurge.
The results are two crisp white shirt; one with a normal collar and one with a mandarin collar. I also opted to use my recent shirt pattern that has some ease at the back and no side seams. I want a looseness to the shirts to keep me cool during summer and let’s face it, it will definitely help when I over indulge in cakes (if you get what I mean).
So will the white shirt ever disappear? Well, can we ever give up a classic? I’ll let you decide on that.