Wardrobe 101

Style Myth Busted

The Perfect White Shirt

Ha! Dear reader… HA!

This style myth might be one of my biggest gear grinders! Oh, dear. I started this post out without so much as a Hello, lovely to see you! Let me calm down and try again…

Happy day, reader dear!

It IS lovely to see you! The thick of the holiday season is upon us. I know people who started decorating for the holidays as soon as the pumpkins hit the trash bin. They’re in a hurry for 2021 to get here and need the spirit lift of holiday music, bright colors and some sparkle.

Chez Closet Play, we don’t rush the season. We’ll dwell in Advent for a few more weeks. We usually put up our tree mid-month so it stays fresh and can make it until Epiphany. As for bright color and sparkles, I’ll get that in my wardrobe, thank you! I always opt for more color in fall and winter. Color is a power boost for the mood! Here’s this winter’s first two outfits:

Now… Back to today’s Style Myth: The Perfect White Shirt.

2 Problems (Nope. 3!)

Let’s talk about two problems wrapped into that little phrase: The Perfect White Shirt. AKA: The Classic White Shirt (Often described as Crisp.) I’m not sure which problem grinds my gears most fiercely. First? Perfect. Second? White. Third? Shirt.


There is no perfect! There is best for you. I’ve rambled about the tyranny of perfect more than once. The perfect black pump. The perfect LBD. The perfect handbag. I spent SO much time and money looking for perfect that I was never satisfied with what I had. Because the better one might be just around the corner. I wish I knew how many white shirts I have bought and donated… Now I don’t mean we should buy good enough. You have permission to do that if you are escaping a natural disaster. Otherwise, if you wouldn’t rate the item at least an 8 on a scale of 8-10, keep your money and wait until the right one comes along!

All of these posts included The White Shirt… Sigh.

Now that we’ve determined that there is no perfect, there is best for you. That best might not be white!


Launching ahead, let’s talk about white, white shirts that is. White isn’t a color, it’s a neutral! Specifically speaking, white is all the colors (light) and no colors (pigment). If you think white is white, pop into the paint department at your local home improvement store… You’ll change your mind!

Yup. That little circle says there are 260 choices at Home Depot alone…

Not everyone looks good in white. You know. The bright, stark white of the typical white cotton button front shirt. Stark or bright white may make you look unhealthy and sad. (If your coloring is warm, you’ve noticed this!) There IS a shade of white for everyone (Remember the paint department?), so it’s really a matter of finding YOUR white. It could be bright bleach white; it might be bone white, soft white, or slightly greyed or blued, blushed, or ivory.

Hint: The color of the whites of your eyes will often indicate the white that will be your best white.


Here’s where The Classic White Shirt (Often described as “Crisp.”) comes in. Almost every Must-Have wardrobe list will have the Classic White Shirt, the Perfect White Shirt, the Man’s White Shirt, ad infinitum… But what if you don’t wear woven shirts? Or hate collars? (That would be me!) Or cuffs? Or have arthritis and can’t button? There are as many reasons you might not want a white shirt as there are women shopping! Spend some time looking at your favorite shirts. What is it about them that makes them your favorites? Is it the feel? The cut? Use these answers to inform your future buying decisions. You’ll buy less and wear more.

Here’s a sampling of white shirts I have owned and loved. See? No collars! It took me a LONG time to learn that…

What is your favorite top to wear? The one that goes from your body, into the laundry, and right back onto your body again? The answers to these questions play right into your dominant style personality.

Don’t get me wrong. I see the Classic White Shirt’s purpose. Basic. Blank Canvas. Creates Value Contrast. Goes with everything. Bleachable when you make a mess. (If you choose carefully!) That certainly is a fabulous item to have in your wardrobe! But let’s make sure to buy wisely and not blindly. Because informed shopping is SMART shopping!

How about you?

Do you wear white shirts? What kind of white? With or without a collar? Woven or jersey? You’ve seen mine! Soft Cool White, Woven, No Collar, Loose, Some Gathered Detail. It’s handy to have a checklist when you shop! What does your White Shirt Checklist look like?

Stylishly yours,


  • Sue

    I am in my seventies and have never owned a “crisp white shirt” or any other type of shirt. I have not felt deprived. I also do not have the majority of items listed on most “must have” lists. I like jeans, T/shirts in particular a Breton, and cashmere jumpers or similar. Very casual and comfortable and can be as smart as you want it. I have never got on with tailored jackets preferring something less structured. My CP is natural classic with one company and classic gamine with another – do I fit those descriptions. Not sure other than my outfits must be neat.

    • Liz K

      Thank you for visiting, Sue! You sound like my kind of woman, Sue! Those must-have lists make me break out in hives. I think there’s a little rebel in me! Are those style signifiers from systems that use the descriptors: Classic, Dramatic, Natural, Romantic, Gamine, Ingenue? Do you have a personal Style Recipe, or Style Cocktail? By that I mean a two to three word distillation of how you see yourself and want to show up in the world. Those words aren’t category descriptors, but personal.

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