Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Perfect White Shirt & The Lean Closet

It's the perfect trifecta: a looming snow storm, the Oscars and a long overdue date organizing my closet! But who wants to go out in yet another blast of winter so, I am canceling all plans, putting up a pot of soup and finally tackling the long avoided task of ruthless culling.  As a nod to the Oscars, I thought I might look to some of the greats to inspire me to edit my white shirts, my biggest challenge. 

Isabella Rossellini

I have to say that I am a little embarrassed at this state of my closet since I probably only wear twenty percent of it. Lately I have been inspired by the idea of editing one's wardrobe (as well as life and home) to that which is essential and classic. In the end it creates a calmer atmosphere and makes it so much less stressful when one is in a rush as is my frequent state.

This has always been the Parisian woman's approach and it is actually the way I was raised by frugal midwestern Scot's, but I clearly wandered off that path when I moved east and ended up with a career in NYC's design world. 

 Cuyana is a beautiful website with a no nonsense mantra  of FEWER, BETTER THINGS and refer to their philosophy as creating the Lean Closet : "We want to love every item in our closets. We want to revel in the tactile beauty of the world’s finest materials and marvel at consummate craftsmanship. We believe in style, not fashion; in quality, not quantity. We celebrate fewer, better things and strive to live a life of inspired simplicity." 

 What better place to start than with the versatile and chic white shirt? 

Paul Newman
Grace Kelly
Charlotte Casiraghi
(apples don't fall from the tree!)
Jackie O.
Gene Kelly

"Sometimes you don't have to try so hard, just be yourself and let it come." - Gene Kelly

Audrey Hepburn
Cary Grant 
Carolina Herrera
Tilda Swinton
Diana Vreeland

Who do you think has the best white shirts?  Anne Fontaine is the mecca of white shirts, though the choices can be overwhelming sometimes. I was recently in Hong Kong on business so I treated myself to a few custom made shirts at Ascot Chang.  It is actually a good value when you compare the cost of a custom shirt to an off the rack from JCrew or Theory, both of which I love but save for their ginghams or Liberty prints. I have recently become smitten with Everlane's simple cashmere sweaters and thinking about trying their shirts.


I'd love to know who makes your favorite white shirt ?  

Fred Astaire

This is what I'll be doing if I get through the whole closet tonight!

More fabulous white shirt icons @ Chemise Blanche Pinterest board


  1. I'd be happy with your cast-offs, Alex! My own white shirt fave: a Brooks Brother slim cut men's shirt. Love the starch in the collar. - Kim