Fashion Police Poll: Do you own a “classic” white shirt?

White_shirt When I was reading over your answers to our recent Fashion Confessions post, I noticed that, like me, a lot of you admitted to not owning a white shirt. Given that so many fashion editorials list the so-called "classic" white shirt as one of those "wardrobe essentials" that every woman must own, I found myself wondering why this is. Has the humble white shirt had its day? Is it perhaps not quite so classic as the fashion editors seem to think it is?

For me, my lack of white shirts (or any shirts, to be perfectly honest) has nothing to do with appearance, and everything to do with comfort. I just hate wearing the things. I apparently own an upper body that white-shirt makers find impossible to dress. Loose shirts are either too short, and constantly coming un-tucked, or else are so long that I have to walk around all day with a huge amount of material bunched up under my skirt or trousers.

Fitted shirts, meanwhile, generally gape at the bust, are too low at the neck, and still don’t fit at the waits. No matter how many shirts I’ve tried (and to be honest, I haven’t tried particularly hard with this, because there aren’t many occasions in my life when a shirt would seem like appropriate attire), I always end up feeling horribly uncomfortable – not to mention feeling like I’m either at a job interview or back at school.

So tell me, then: do you own this so-called wardrobe staple? And if not, why not?

(PS – the shirt in the picture is £15 from Debenhams)

26 Comments

  • March 26, 2008

    Veronika

    I dont have any WHITE ones but I do have some fancy shiny silk ones, one thats turquios and I LOVE it and fitted really weel. Then a black silky one and a red one, white just isnt my color..

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  • March 26, 2008

    Chica

    No because they gape at the bust and when I find one 3 sizes bigger than I am that covers my bust I look ridiculous!

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  • March 26, 2008

    Beth

    I’ve had exactly the same problem with trying to find a white shirt that’s both comfortable and a good fit.
    I think it’s down to the fact that reasonably priced white shirts are mass produced. Like suiting, a white cotton shirt should be tailored to fit you specifically, but the cost of getting this done is usually very high…

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  • March 26, 2008

    Anne-Marie

    No shirts at all for me, my boobs get in the way! Also, I hate ironing…..

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  • March 26, 2008

    Megan

    I don’t own one, mostly because I’m 20 and have no occasion to wear one.

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  • March 26, 2008

    Natasa

    i don’t own it, and here’s why:
    1. it’s BORING! i’d never give actual money for such a boring thing!
    2. i don’t iron.
    btw, i think white shirts look good only on slightly butch, very thin girls with no boobs.
    btw, this would be more appropriate under the confessions post, but i’ve just remembered that i don’t own a little black dress either! (gasp)

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  • March 26, 2008

    shelly

    Most button downs don’t fit me at all (tiny girls with big boobs have trouble with button downs), but I’ve managed over the years to find a few button downs that do for work. My white one is, oddly enough about $10 from K-mart. I bought it too tight for a costume (sexy librarian), but then I lost some weight and it fits perfectly! Weird. Anyway, I mainly just wear it under sweaters to look a little dressier in the winter.

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  • March 26, 2008

    Julie

    Tucking in your shirts just makes you look shortwaisted. I don’t see how a shirt hitting you in the right place, but not quite long enough to be tucked in, is an issue.
    Also, ladies, if you have huge boobs and can’t button your shirts around them, why not invest in some cute camis and just wear your button-downs open to the point where you CAN fasten them?

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  • March 26, 2008

    Diana

    I do not own a SINGLE white shirt cause I think they are really boring and I do not seem to find an ocassion to wear one… and I hate ironing…

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  • March 26, 2008

    Adiel

    I have two “classic white shirts” but I pretty much never wear them.

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  • March 26, 2008

    gokarm

    The problem with the white button down shirt is that it’s white, it reveals EVERYthing. Every little flaw or self-conscious bit of you is NOT HIDDEN by this garment. That’s always my problem with it. It has to be ironed, hung up, worn with a nude color bra and then you spend all day fussing with it because its too big or too tight. And it’s just not fashionable. I don’t really think it IS a staple. Classic maybe, but not necessary.

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  • March 26, 2008

    V

    I have one. I needed it for a job. The boob thing is a problem for me as well, so I bought a really stretchy one and then sewed it shut, so the last few buttons before the collar can still be opened, but it doesn’t gape at the bust. The stretchyness also makes it more comfortable. But I still don’t like to wear it – not my style.

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  • March 26, 2008

    K

    I have several, but none are just plain white shirts. Two have woven in stripes and interesting cuffs, one has puff sleeves, one has ruching in the front and cuffs that tie, and two are cream, one with pleats and one with ruffles. I find them to be indispensable in dressing for work. If you have boob issues, get one custom made or tailored. If you don’t look that good in white, wear it under something, with a scarf, or with a statement necklace to break the white before your face.

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  • March 26, 2008

    K

    I have several, but none are just plain white shirts. Two have woven in stripes and interesting cuffs, one has puff sleeves, one has ruching in the front and cuffs that tie, and two are cream, one with pleats and one with ruffles. I find them to be indispensable in dressing for work. If you have boob issues, get one custom made or tailored. If you don’t look that good in white, wear it under something, with a scarf, or with a statement necklace to break the white before your face.

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  • March 26, 2008

    The Fashion Police

    I should possibly point out here that I don’t have giant boobs – mine are tiny, but the shirts still always seem to gape somehow. Mind you, I don’t have any reason to wear one, so it’s not really an issue!
    I’m actually more intrigued now by the people who don’t iron: maybe that should be the next poll 🙂

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  • March 26, 2008

    Gemma

    Well…I have one white shirt that I absolutely love. Not expensive – think its was from Wallis in the sale – but its really soft cotton. Its quite loose with a tie that goes round the waist. Its quite long but I’d never wear it tucked in. I like to think it looks kind of effortlessy stylish and can be casual or smart. I do HATE most reasonably priced white shirts though…just make me look like I’m wearing school uniform!

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  • March 26, 2008

    hannah

    i don’t find them ‘boring’ at all. i think the trick is to stay far, far away from ‘contemporary’ or ‘updated’ versions of the shirt – those will make you look like a soccer mom. i own a few that are slim-cut with proper buttons and i find them essential for layering with vintage cardigans or pairing with houndstooth/tweed skirts and jackets. you gotta rock the classic sex appeal…

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  • March 26, 2008

    Alex_F

    Well, I don’t own one mainly because 8 years of swimming gives a lady some very manly shoulders, and shirts without stretch don’t usually fit the lower part of my torso. Basically, all of my shirts are a size up to fit my giant shoulders, and T-shirts and polos just tend to look better.

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  • March 27, 2008

    Thea

    I own at least 3 white shirts. There are however part of my school uniform, making them essential.
    I do however wear them with a wide ribbon as a belt if I’m out of pretty tops for formal occasions.

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  • March 27, 2008

    Claire

    No. I’m too pale for white. I do have some guys button down shirts for wearing around the house on study-for-exam-days. But those are not to leave the house.

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  • March 27, 2008

    Claire

    No. I’m too pale for white. I do have some guys button down shirts for wearing around the house on study-for-exam-days. But those are not to leave the house.

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  • March 27, 2008

    Stephanie!

    I bought a Wolford shirt “body” – available in white or black – see their website for mail order. Just love those nifty little poppers! It looks great with a suit, black trousers (yep, I own them too)or even jeans. Tip = buy a size smaller than you usually are, as they come up big big big.

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  • March 27, 2008

    Brynn

    Well, i own one because I have found it very useful for layering purposes. I love layering a vest over them!

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  • March 27, 2008

    anna

    I do own a white shirt, but I don’t own one that fits well. I’m very narrow in the ribcage and shoulders, so even a size 0 (which I believe is a 4 in the UK) still doesn’t quite work.
    I suppose I could always take it to a tailor…

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  • May 3, 2008

    Zoe

    I own FOUR button down white shirts. And man do I love them. I love wearing them with jeans and some sparkly flats or killer stilettos.

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  • September 16, 2008

    Cassie

    I own many shirts, not many like this however – most of mine are frilly or have other patterns etc.
    Im only 14 – so the only reason I possess all these is for my work as a waitress 🙂

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