Not all fashion has to be cutting edge. Sure, we fantasize over a closet full of pink Stella coat dresses and pleated Dior skirts with hip cutouts, but we need those basic wardrobe staples. Today, I’m talking the white shirt. It’s the perfect “I hate everything in my closet,” “all my clothes are making me look fat,” “why have I not bought anything since college,” go-to fix. It's easy. It's dependable. It's available in a variety of cuts and fabrics to cater to each and every one of your specific needs. From a trip to the bodega or a day of meetings at the office, your white shirt has your back (pun semi-intended). But which of the billion variations should you choose? My picks below:
1. James Perse Cotton T-Shirt: This cotton top is universally flattering and is the perfect outfit addition when you start looking like you're trying too hard. Just add a push-up bra to take advantage of the deep scoop neck, and you’ll find yourself the female equivalent of a Rebel Without a Cause.
2. T by Alexander Wang Classic Jersey Racer-Back Tank: He may be the designer of a major French fashion label, but Mr. Wang knows his way around a good t-shirt. The loose fit, low-slung arm holes, and longer 'boy' cut make this the best, “Oh, this old thing? I just grabbed it from the floor of my boyfriend’s place,” type of tank—because, you know, all men wear racerback tanks.
3. Brooks Brothers Regular Fit Dress Shirt: Everyone should have a proper crisp white button-down in their closets. It's not only for ‘80s hearththrobs in tighty-whitey dance montages and J.P. Morgan summer interns—a simple, clean dress shirt is also the easiest way to look put-together without much effort. Go all-American and pair it with jeans, or add a bit of edge and wear it with leather (skirts, pants, shorts, chaps, whatever).
4. Velvet Vintage Shrunken Sweatshirt: Crop tops are the best. They expose your body where us ladies are naturally the narrowest, and they pair well with high-waisted pants or skirts, which is an art form in and of itself. This long-sleeve, roomier jumper plays well against an exposed midriff, leaving you with just a hint of sexiness.
5. J.Crew Carrie Cami: Try introducing a more femme option to your white shirt game. This silk top works just as well under a blazer as it does with a pair of black jeans, as a going-out top. Because going-out tops are back.