Still convinced your wardrobe should be built around a crisp, white shirt – despite it looking more Apprentice than Audrey Hepburn? Lauren Bravo’s on a mission to bust those fashion myths and set you free…
I have a theory (actually, it is my mum’s, making it a hand-me-down theory which is actually quite fitting), that your school uniform bears a lasting impact on your wardrobe choices ever after.
Unless you were some sort of gilded Taylor Swift-alike, wafting down corridors like a soft summer breeze and being voted queen of things, the chances are this will be a negative impact, and your uniform associations will haunt you for at least a decade after you left. It’s the reason navy pleats, red berets and anything vaguely reminiscent of gym knickers still bring me out in a cold sweat – and why, despite it having been fiercely on-trend for a couple of years now, I still can’t bring myself to wear a blouse buttoned right up to the top. It feels like I’m doing it because a prefect told me to.
The shuddering school uniform link is also the first reason I’m invoking for why a crisp white fitted shirt is categorically NOT the foundation of your wardrobe. Not now, not ever. Not unless you are in the navy, or an Apprentice contestant, or possibly Gwyneth Paltrow.
There’s nothing wrong with a crisp white shirt, of course. By all means have several if you’re that way inclined. But aside from instantly taking you back to a time when ‘your greatest badge of style was a Kangol pencil case, the problem with the crisp white shirt is that fashion people are determined to have us believe it is some sort of one-style-suits-all chic-ness solution. “Throw on a crisp white shirt!” they bellow. “You’ll look so terribly French! Now leap across a puddle, holding a balloon!”
“Even better, don’t buy a shirt at all – borrow one from your conveniently-sized graphic designer boyfriend, throw it on with an insouciant shrug and go out to brunch.”
What they don’t tell us is how to avoid that embarrassing boob-gape down the middle, or how to scrub ketchup off our fronts in a portaloo, or how even if you follow the rules to a T and wear it with a fugly nude bra underneath, you will still probably feel more like a promotional model doing ‘saucy secretary’ than you will Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Besides, slavish devotion to the crisp white shirt in 2013 seems a bit like refusing to try peanut butter bacon biscuit swirl because you’d rather stick with vanilla. There’s a whole world of shirt out there, gang! And if you don’t tell the prefects, I won’t either.