Fashion Lesson #25: The White Shirt

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The white shirt is the most versatile and timeless staple in any woman’s closet.  In today’s Fashion Lesson, we will discuss what to look for in this perennial classic and how to get the most for your money.

Are you one of those people who go into a store, try on a shirt, then another, then still another, until you finally find the right fit, not really knowing why a particular shirt looks good? 

Wouldn’t it be great to know what to look for on that next shopping trip?

I’ll let you in on a few secret tips that Fashion Sensei clients already know.

When looking for a new shirt, think of the three F’s.

  1. Fit
  2. Fabric
  3. Finish

The first of my top three tips centers on fit.  To get started, there are a few definitions that we should know when searching for the most flattering garment off the rack.

Collar– The area of fabric that folds over and comes to a point on each end.  The points may come in a wide range of styles including a sharp long point, button down and rounded. The area between the points, is referred to the spread.

Fashion Tips: Some people feel that the wider the spread, the wider you face may look.  I think that these effects can be quite subtle, so check them out for yourself the next time you are trying on a shirt to see if it makes a noticeable difference.

When looking at the points of a collar, think of them as arrows–792V_White_enlargedlong points that are vertical, will draw the eye down.  A varsity collar or a collar that points outward, may help to broaden shoulders.  Rounded tips may aid in softening a woman with sharp features.

It sometimes goes without saying, but the higher the collar, the more coverage it provides.  If you have a long neck, a tall collar may put your neck in better proportion.  Tall collars can also hide the sins of aging, such as a wrinkly neck.

Yoke- One of the most important components of a shirt, the yoke is the area between the shoulders that connects the other panels of the shirt together including the arms.  _5726469

Placket- The area of the shirt where the garment will be buttoned.  You may find hidden placket shirts where an extra piece of fabric covers the buttons.  

Darts– A method in sewing to taper a garment to your body shape.  When shopping, this may be called “fitted” or “tailored”.

Fabric–  Many of the shirts that you buy off the rack are made from cotton broadcloth or cotton poplin which tends not to wrinkle as easily.  

When handling the garment, you will notice the weave density, weight and texture of the fabric.  Generally, a bargain shirt from a discount store will be lighter weight,  have a bit looser weave and the texture or feel of the fabric may not be as soft.  This has a lot to do with the quality of cotton used and the length of the cotton fibers.  Longer fibers create better shirts, but cost more money.

See through shirts are not always the hallmark of a poor quality garment.  Some designers will create a thin fabric for their shirts in the summer season or for layering purposes.

There are also a wide variety of blended fabrics to choose from.  Some incorporate polyester to reduce wrinkling or add a wrinkle resistant finish to the fabric.  Others, add spandex for added comfort and movement of the garment.

Finish– When examining the final product, be sure to notice the overall construction and finishing touches.

Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • How is each section sewn?  Are the stitches wide or loose?  If so, this shirt will not endure as many washings as its better constructed sister with tighter stitches.
  • Are there loose threads?  This could be a possible sign of poor craftsmenship.
  • Do pieces pucker?  Each panel of the garment should lay flat.  If it puckers on the hanger, it will pucker on you.
  • Is the hem even? 
  • Are the buttons secure?
  • Are the points on the collar even?

Finally, here are a few suggestions in different price ranges to consider the next time you are out shopping.

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                                   Gap                  Sandra Ingrish Mitered Shirt

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Craig Taylor Jet Set Twist Shirt

(Click on any of the above images for shopping information.)Reference

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Don’t forget to check out the Sensei Services page for more information on Fashion Consultations in the Metro Detroit area and more.

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Filed under Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, fit, Metro Detroit, personal shopper, retail, Style

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