Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Basic White Shirt

Yesterday we got an order for 4 white western shirts. Our daughter's comment was "you sure got to love white to order that many white shirts". Though these are western shirts it had me thinking about patterns for basic white shirts for anyone to wear.

My first pick would be our western shirt pattern without the front or back yokes. This pattern has a 2 piece collar and a nice button band. The cuffs are average in size. The body could be left straight, have the sides curved in, or vertical darts added to the front or back. A person could put a V neck pullover over top of this shirt and look classy, roll up the sleeves, or use a necklace or clip bracelet to make a statement if worn to the office with a classic skirt or trousers. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of picture of this shirt even though I have made 2 horsemanship shirts that followed this design.

Some pattern ideas that would make great white shirts has been dancing through my head. What are my choices if I didn't use the western shirt pattern?

Vogue 8689

This is a very simple shirt with horizontal yoke lines, princess seams, 2 piece collar, and an average sized cuff. Great for a good basic shirt that has different sleeve variations included.

Vogue 8598

Another simple shirt that has no yokes, princess seams, 2 piece collar, and an averaged sized cuff. Another great basic shirt pattern that has variations included.

McCalls 4079

The ultimate and long lived Palmer Pletch basic shirt. A bit boxy in the body, it has a back yoke, basic sleeves and cuffs, and a 2 piece collar.

There are a lot of other nice patterns out there for a white shirt but they are not basic - the sleeves do not have plain cuffs on them. I feel plain cuffs is one criteria for a basic white shirt.

This morning I came across this article from Dlish Couture that I thought was perfect for today. Strangely enough, I recommend to our customers what Simon Kneen has said.

Allure’s April 2010 issue addressed how to wear a white shirt. For the article, the magazine interviewed Simon Kneen, the creative director for Banana Republic. Here is what he said:

Every woman should have at least one really good white shirt in her closet. It’s a staple she can mix into her wardrobe year after year. Here’s how:

Get the right fit. A white shirt is simple and unadorned by definition, so its best to choose one made of a high-quality fabric…Choose one that is neither skintight nor baggy; it should just skim the body. And be sure to sit down in the dressing room. If the shirt then gaps at the bust or hips, you need to go up one size.

Pair it well. If you’re wearing the shirt with a skirt or classic pants, it looks best tucked in; with skinny jeans, try it untucked. Rolling up your sleeves to a point just below or above the elbow is a great casual look, but make sure you won’t need to roll them back down since wrinkling is inevitable. If you throw on a sweater, make sure it’s a v-neck that’s low enough that you can still unbutton the second button of the shirt-otherwise it can look fussy.

Dress it up. All that crisp white cotton is a great blank canvas for accessories, but that doesn’t mean you should pile them on. Stick to one piece, like a statement necklace or a great cuff.

Handle with care. You should launder white shirts, but don’t dry clean them- the chemicals can cause yellowing. The gentlest treatment is to wash them at home in cold water and hang them to dry; you can always have them professionally pressed rather than ironing them yourself. No matter how careful you are, lotion, fragrances, and perspiration will inevitably lead to discoloration over time. If your white shirt is even the slightest bit dingy, its time to say good-bye, so when you find one you love, consider buying two.

And buying two could mean making two.