6 Perfect White Shirts for Women
The easiest way any woman can look great without really trying? Invest in a versatile white blouse. If you’re one of the many who think of a plain white shirt as boring, let Coco Chanel be the one to correct you: “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” Perfect is just the word for it—a white shirt goes effortlessly with any ensemble, whether dressed down with denim, or up with a ball skirt a la the designer Carolina Herrera’s most famous look. Instead of thinking of a white shirt as a limiting, boring piece, consider it a blank canvas on which you can create your own personal style. Not sure where to begin? Let these six stylish women—who range from the creator of cult skin care line Rodin Olio Lusso, to a millennial yoga instructor, to a photographer and mother of twins—show you the way. They each picked a slightly different variation on the closet staple, and then showed us, in six very different ways, how they would style white shirts for women and work them into their own wardrobes.
Being creative comes very naturally to the interior stylist and the founder of the online magazine Billie. While Lili Dialo has a design pro’s eye for eclectic decor, she understands the power of simple basics to pull her wardrobe together beautifully. “Everyone should own a white shirt and a little black dress,” she says.
To buy: Unfortunately, the Sandro cotton shirt is no longer available. A similar shirt can be found here. MiH jeans. BCBGMaxAzria belt. La Mer wrap watch. Charles Albert cuff. Lili’s own earrings, necklaces, and rings.
A true style chameleon, Linda Rodin has a white shirt to suit every mood—10 of them, to be exact. But the creator of the skin-care line Rodin Olio Lusso says that one button-down can be just as dynamic. “You can make it downtown cool by messily rolling up the sleeves,” she explains. “Or button the cuffs and you’re as prim as Audrey Hepburn.”
To buy: Unfortunately, the Treasure&Bond boyfriend poplin shirt is no longer available. A similar shirt can be found here. Rag & Bone jeans. Marc by Marc Jacobs sneakers. Linda’s own jewelry and sunglasses.
Classic style is her saving grace when she’s on the road as a photography-studio manager and producer. A button-down’s refined tailoring and versatility let her look polished straight out of a suitcase. (Lisa’s wrinkle-prevention plan: Fold the shirt with a plastic kitchen bag.) “I bring five great pieces to mix and match with it and I’m ready to go anywhere.”
To buy: Equipment silk shirt, $218, nordstrom.com. J.Crew sweater. Shoshanna pants.
Her vibe is more boho than buttoned-up, so this yoga instructor and photographer usually gravitates toward romantic, flowy dresses. But the poet blouse she wears here is no stuffed shirt, thanks to a relaxed fit made for moving. “I love that the top is gauzy and soft—not what I would normally think of in a white shirt,” says Kiersten Rowland.
To buy: Unfortunately, the Joie silk shirt is no longer available. A similar shirt can be found here. Ella Moss pants. Melanie Auld earrings. Stella & Dot necklace. Danielle Stevens bracelets. Pamela Love ring.
She always looks for a modern edge. To make the traditional staple feel fresh, this agent for hairstylists and makeup artists seeks out unexpected details, like dramatic dolman sleeves. Another reason that she digs a white shirt? “It creates a nice base to play with bold, chunky jewelry,” says Layla Carroll.
To buy: Unfortunately, the Max Mara cotton shirt is no longer available. A similar shirt can be found here. Theory pants. Stella & Dot necklace.
Elinor Carucci and her daughter, Emmanuelle
Low-maintenance sophistication is the goal for this photographer (whose book, Mother, comes out next winter). “I’m so busy with my 8-year-old twins that I don’t have a lot of time to shop,” says Elinor Carucci. A white wrap blouse ensures no buyer’s remorse, since it is elegant and adjustable and requires minimal fussing, whether she’s on the job or totally hands-on with the kids.
To buy: Unfortunately, the Donna Karan cotton-blend shirt is no longer available. A similar shirt can be found here. Karen Millen skirt. On Emmanuelle: Pip-Squeak Chapeau shirt.