I know, I know… the iconic white shirt has almost become a cliché. If you pay attention to those “Five Things Every Woman Must Have in Her Closet” articles, you’ll have read that a white shirt is a “must have” in every woman’s closet. Apparently. Well, I don’t know about that. I mean, if you don’t like white shirts, then don’t wear one. And clearly we shouldn’t pay attention to those silly, bossy, one-size-fits-all lists. But I will say this. I love a white shirt. Always have, since I was a kid. And a white shirt is always on my personal “must have” list.
I mean just look at Lauren Bacall in her white shirt in the 1948 movie Key Largo. She looks cool and casual and elegant, doesn’t she? And Bogie doesn’t look half bad in his white shirt either.
And nobody could rock a white shirt like Elizabeth Taylor in my opinion. I love her in this shirt in a scene from the 1958 film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the notched collar, and the sleeves rolled up just so. Gosh, I love that movie. So, even if you don’t want to wear a white shirt yourself, there’s no denying that it is one item of apparel that never goes out of style. It’s pretty much timeless.
Last year I eschewed the white shirt, ignored the fact that my old Theory white shirt was looking a bit tired, and bought a blue shirt
instead. I branched out, so to speak. I still love my blue Equipment shirt. But this year there was just no getting around the fact that I still needed a white shirt. With my old white shirt now looking downright exhausted… I really, really needed one.
So I’ve been looking for a white shirt for a couple of months. Every time I’m out and about, in whatever store, I do the rounds of the white shirts. Most of them are too short and tailored, or too long and baggy, too wrinkly, too thin and too cheaply made. Well, you get the idea.
Then last week, I discovered this shirt at the newly opened Massiimo Dutti store here in Ottawa. I’ve admired Massimo Dutti ads in fashion magazines for a couple of years, the minimalist feel, the clean lines, the classic clothes. I was excited when I emerged from the parking garage at the Rideau Centre, and there in front of me was the new Massimo Dutti store. Took me about ten minutes to find the perfect shirt. It’s loose without being baggy, neither too short, nor too long. Collarless, which is nice for a change. Made of crisp cotton poplin. And with just enough seam detailing at the waist and on the sleeves to make it interesting. Perfect.
|You can find this Massimo Dutti shirt here
And today I decided to try to take some shots of my timeless new white shirt. In a timeless location, you might say. At the historic mill here in Manotick. Perfect.
|Historic Dickinson Mill in Manotick on the Rideau River
Okay, to be honest, we have workers at our house demolishing our old deck in preparation for building a new one. And I just couldn’t see myself prancing around our sun room posing for pictures while they were right outside the patio doors. So I scouted an alternate site on my way home from my walk this morning. The mill and the dam on the river would be perfect. But then when I arrived back at the mill this afternoon, there were workers doing repairs on the dam, so I was relegated to the little park on the far side of the river.
My shots are pretty bad, aren’t they? I’m a total newbie when it comes to “shooting on location.” Ha. But, at least in this shot, you can kind of see my new grey All Saints tote that I bought at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July.
And in this shot, at least you can see some of the details of the shirt. I’m also wearing my black Vince leggings and my Stuart Weitzman loafers.
And in this one, bleached out as it is, at least you can see the split at the side of the shirt. And the fact that I’m wearing my new old bracelet which I bought at the Merrickville Antique Show in August.
Here’s a better shot of the bracelet. The vendor said that it was made by Léa Stein, a French jewellry designer who worked in the mid twentieth century. My bracelet is probably from the sixties.
And in this shot you can see that I’m a bit worried about all the bird action in this little park. Of course, as you know… me and birds… we don’t get on. Crap… is that one coming down here?
While my very first “shoot on location” was not perfect, my new white shirt is. A versatile addition to my curated closet, it will go equally well with dressy pants or with jeans. Under a coat sweater, or a jean jacket, or a blazer. With or without a scarf.
So I’ve been thinking, instead of reading all those lists written by other people who say what we “must have” in our closets. Maybe we should make our own list. Scratch that. We should definitely make our own list. Five things we “must have” in our closet. And if they wear out we “must replace” them. My list would include great blue jeans, black pants, a heavy turtleneck, a good blazer, and a white shirt. I have other pieces, of course, which I love equally as much. But these pieces are always there. They always get replaced when they wear out. Decade after decade. They’re timeless, at least in my closet.
Your list might be completely different.
Now, do tell, friends, what five things must you have in your closet? And does that list include a white shirt?