Sunday, January 22, 2012


A crisp cotton white shirt is a necessary staple in every woman's closet. I'm always looking for the perfect white shirt; been convinced at times I've found it only to change my mind and start looking again. At one time a man's profession could be determined just by the color of his shirt. Typically, brown was worn by foremen, blue by manual laborers, and white dress shirts by office workers. American writer, Upton Sinclair, coined the term "white collar" to refer to modern clerical, administrative and management workers during the 1930s.

In the 1920's, Coco Chanel caused quite a scandal when she discarded her corset in favor of a loose white shirt, which at the time was considered strictly menswear. Over the years, we've seen this simple but classic shirt make an impact not only in fashion but also in cinema, or is it vice versa? Fashion icons like Marlene Deitrich, Katherine Hepburn, and Lauren Hutton known for their men-inspired fashions still managed to incorporate just the right amount of femininity to pull off their personal styles with panache. While in Hollywood, cinema stars like Audrey Hepburn, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Kim Basinger, and Uma Thurman put their own spin on the classic white shirt in a wide array of films.

coco chanel

marlene dietrich

katherine hepburn

lauren hutton

audrey hepburn, Roman Holiday

diane keaton, Annie Hall

meryl streep, Out Of Africa

kim basinger, 9 1/2 Weeks

uma thurman, Pulp Fiction

The Spring 2012 runways featured menswear-inspired button-down white shirts, tailored, structured and utterly crisp.

1. Lanvin 2. Jason Wu 3. Jil Sander 4. Chloe 5. The Row 6. Diane Von Furstenberg 7. Hermes

How does one choose the perfect white shirt? Look for cut, shape, and fabric. But don't overlook details like the collar, cuff, or whether you prefer your white shirt dressed up or dressed down. Two labels I usually shop for white blouses are steven alan and agnès b. but I also love this extremely romantic 1890 Meets Today Blouse by J. Peterman.

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