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How to wear a white shirt

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    ^ I am about as close to anti-OCBD as you get on this forum (I own one and really don't care for it), but I think a white shirt needs some more casual features to work in an outfit like the one posted above. Of course a blue end on end or royal oxford spread collar shirt would solve this for me.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Andrew Ryan

    Andrew Ryan Senior member

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    Interesting. Do you think it needs to be an OCBD and/or ecru or blue because the jacket is brown, or because of an opposition to white shirts with odd jackets in general?

    I like OCBDs, and wore them in fits like this (not in white) for a long time before my recent switch to a white-dominated shirt wardrobe. Something about the white shirt move (and perhaps in conjunction with how I've always worn half-windsors and a clip) made this seem off, and a spread collar seemed more coherent with the look I'm seeking (again, basically as citified of a look as you can get within the realm of country fabrics and odd jackets). As I said, trying it with a white OCBD didn't seem to have an effect as conducive to this as the spread collar white.

    Would it be, within the context of the look I'm after, be more coherent if I switched to white OCBDs, or if I kept the white spread collars and stuck with blues and greys/blue-greys as my color palette? Interested in your take on this.

    For comparison's sake, here's the exact same jacket in midnight navy/white, which in all light I've tried actually reads as a grey - hence the grey tie for the monochromatic look I'm after.

    [​IMG]

    Also: in regard to the SC fabrics, I don't care for heavily country odd jackets, and all I tend to wear are semi-solids that read as solids except up close. Part of the look I'm after.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  3. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

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    You're seeking an incoherent look and asking for people to tell you it's coherent.
     
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  4. Andrew Ryan

    Andrew Ryan Senior member

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    ^ I'm wondering if it is possible to make it coherent, and if so how. So far opinions seem to be mixed - are you saying there's essentially no way to blend city and country in this context? If so, point noted.
     
  5. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

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    I thought the whole coherence concept struck a chord because there were a lot of Styleforum members who looked bad because they were mixing city and country. It wasn't that it wasn't that they weren't doing it well -- it's that the whole concept is incoherent.

    I wouldn't wear a white spread collar with an odd jacket. If you need to wear a white spread collar with a textured brown fabric, then the fabric should be used in a suit. If I had to wear it with an odd jacket, it would be with a navy hopsack or fresco. A white OCBD is fine with an odd jacket, if rarely optimal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. Andrew Ryan

    Andrew Ryan Senior member

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    Hm. Perhaps my new allegiance to white shirts will require me to switch to OCBD's - perhaps even open collar with odd jackets, and stick to casual suits for tie wear. Appreciate all the feedback.
     
  7. Andrew Ryan

    Andrew Ryan Senior member

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    TM, another question -
    Is this why, or is it incoherent in all colors?
     
  8. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

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    A white, broadcloth spread-collar shirt is the most formal shirt you can wear (outside of formal or semi formal dress), while a brown, tweedy odd jacket is among the least formal tailored items you can wear.

    Personally, I can't see any color of tweedy fabric working with such a shirt, but dark blue or gray would be less incoherent than brown.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    The shirt is this picture looks off-white. Just compare the pictures shirt to the white background of the SF webpage. I think off-white or cream goes quite well with brown. Stark white often looks too cold when paired with brown. If your shirt is really stark white, perhaps you should adjust the white balance on the photo to reflect the true color.
     
  10. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know if this hasn't been said, but stop tying your tie like that, and get rid of that tacky tie clip. I agree the collar needs work.
     
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  11. kulata

    kulata Senior member

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    if you keep the fabric textured and you have an interesting collar then it can be a successful look

    If you need inspiration on how to approach it like it's been described above by many ppl, here is one

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
    2 people like this.
  12. Andrew Ryan

    Andrew Ryan Senior member

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    I'm having some taller banded, longer point collars made up right now. I can't stand the aysemetry of the FIH; tried it plenty.

    I love my tie clips :(
     
  13. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Well, your symmetry and tie clips suck. Just keeping it real.
     
  14. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    pB doling out the tough love today...
     
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  15. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    @The Thin Man summarized my thoughts on why the white shirt doesn't work pretty well here. In addition, one of the central points of this thread is precisely that white shirts are NOT the staple that some people think they are. You need a few white spread collar shirts for times when you are wearing a suit and must be conservative. You could probably do a wardrobe of all or nearly all white shirts if you wear a blue or grey suit and tie every day (see, e.g. @patrickBOOTH). If your circumstances don't permit that or your preference is to wear a lot of odd jackets, having an excessive allegiance to white shirts seems like the wrong way to go. Having white OCBDs solves some of the formality bridging issues, but it doesn't solve the aesthetic issues.
     
    2 people like this.
  16. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This is the point at which I remind everyone that white shirts were THE shirt as what we know as tailored clothing came into being. The anti-white shirt stuff is revisionism.
     
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  17. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    +100
     
  18. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    Well, we're not (at least most of us are not) dressing for the 1950s anymore. If you wear a tuxedo 5 or more nights a week for dinner, you may disregard this statement.
     
  19. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    This sounded snarkier than I intended. What I'm getting at here is that at the time the white shirt was "the dress shirt" so to speak, we had a greater percentage of the population in suits (ideal domain for the white shirt other than formalwear and IMO a blazer and greys) and there was also a social expectation that one would wear white shirts. Even if a light blue shirt may have been a better choice aesthetically, it just wasn't done by a lot of people. The white shirt was in a sense more versatile because it was so commonly expected. We don't live under such a system anymore, so it makes a lot more sense to only make white shirts the mainstay of your wardrobe if you regularly wear suits and dress conservatively each day. Otherwise, the light blue shirt works a lot better with a lot of odd jackets (and ecru works pretty well with tweed too) and serves as a better ground for some ties even when one is wearing a suit.
     
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  20. Andrew Ryan

    Andrew Ryan Senior member

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    I do agree, and agreed with Manton's OP as well. I've just been experimenting in the last month or so with trying to see how far I could go with blending the white shirt into my look, as there have been some notable exceptions in the thread. I thought it was working okay so long as I sticked to some basic principles (keeping it simple and monochromatic, etc) but wasn't entirely convinced. The feedback in this thread has slowly started to win me over, and I think after I get my new collars in and decide on one optimally, I'll probably be placing a large order of those - in blue with white ground (I always wear a plain white square so I never go with completely solid blue). I so love the look of the white shirt, but I do not wear suits or blazer/greys regularly, so I think I'll have to give in.
     

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