The Power Of The Classic White Shirt

And why you should always have one in your wardrobe, not only for WORKWEAR but for EVENINGWEAR too …

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At Carolina Herrera’s AW18 show, held at MOMA during New York fashion week last night, the classic white shirt was front and centre. It was announced earlier this week that Herrera, founder of the eponymous label, is stepping away from her creative role to instead become the global brand ambassador. In her place will be Wes Gordon who has worked closely with the designer as a creative consultant for the past year.

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And what an exit she made after 37 years at the helm of the brand. The AW18 collection was an unapologetic tribute to Herrera and her white shirt uniform. Opening the show, the white shirt was paired with both black trousers and a black skirt, the designer’s go-to classic workwear outfits. The finale was a show-stopping walk with models dressed in pristine white shirts and a rainbow of colourful, full evening skirts belted at the waist, an evening look that has become synonymous with Herrera.

This transition, from the beginning to the end of the show, reminds us once again of the versatility of the white shirt. It’s quite remarkable how one piece of clothing can offer such a variety of uses in a wardrobe. Which is why it deserves a place in yours.

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We’ve spoken before about how a white shirt will see you through every sartorial eventuality, and Penny McCormick, deputy editor of THE GLOSS, has even shared some of her favourite designers to pick up while travelling.

“When I travel, I like to pick up local designers. For aficionados, an Anne Fontaine shirt is a must-buy. The ultimate in France though is surely a bespoke Charvet version? I once worked for a high-maintenance woman who ordered hers (or rather I ordered hers) with Peter Pan collars in every conceivable shade and I marvelled at how well the perfect poplin laundered. In Italy, Nara Camicie is the go-to quotidien label; I love their mandarin collar iterations, though I still pine for my cross-body tie shirt by Gianfranco Ferré which I wore by day or night swapping jeans for black trousers. I also have Austrian Mosers and have realised over the years that my mood defines collar choice. I wore a Laura Ashley Victorian confection, reminiscent of Simone Rocha’s romantic iterations for SS18, for a shy 21st birthday photo, and a less prissy, collarless style a few years later at graduation.”

It can be worn over trousers and tucked into skirts, under dresses and sweaters to reveal a hint of collar, even over a swimsuit while lounging at the beach or by the pool. The possibilities of the white shirt are endless. Carolina Herrera, a designer who epitomises femininity, realised the power of the classic white shirt. And although she won’t be at the head of the label anymore, we will still look to her when we need a reminder that sometimes the simplest uniforms are the most effective.

Síomha Connolly

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