what Elle Wears Zara shirt leopard pocket

How to update a classic: The white shirt

Post by TM

Because it’s been the topic du jour for the past two years, everyone knows that in order to claim a semblance of style you need a capsule wardrobe. If you don’t have a camel coat, black going out pants or invisible strappy sandals, your closet needs to grow up.

One of the most important capsule items is the white shirt: it’s so basic it’s brilliant. You can wear it with anything! But here’s the thing; while capsules are classic, they are also, I’m daring to say it, rather boring, and there is no harm in putting a new spin on an old gem. That, in fact, is what style is all about.


Of course the way to jazz up your shirt is to wear a cool necklace or neck tie (we like the white shirt and black ribbon look at the mo) but to update it, you need something completely new.

Olivia Palermo wore a Zara shirt this week that is the perfect example of a white shirt revamp.

Olivia Palermo Zara white shirt with leopard pocket

That leopard print pocket takes it from classic to quite cool, leaving no need for any other embellishment. Note her jewellery? No? That’s because she doesn’t need to wear any.

Cementing this as this spring’s must have item (and such a bargain at €29.95) is Elle; Digital writer, Katie O’Malley, wore it on  What Elle Wears.

what Elle Wears Zara shirt leopard pocket

Other ways to give your white shirt an interesting slant is to choose a slightly less traditional design. This Victoria Beckham shirt is wider and shorter than average and though structured, is relaxed. The cinch detail at the waist opens even more options: leave it open for that touch of laissez faire, or tie it for a posh down home country kind of thing.

victoria beckham poplin shirt

Another update is actually a flashback to frillier times: put some ruffle on it. Now is the time to get your ruffle on before it gets way too passe. We recommend not flashing the big bucks (unless you want to save it for your children for the next time the style comes ’round); this one from M&S will set you back €34. And LOOK! A built in pussy bow. Hurrah.

Don’t let the sleevelessness puzzle you. I’m thinking ahead to autumn and winter, when you’re in a crowded bar and your arms are screaming to be set free.

marks and spencer white ruffle blouse

M&S is the place for shirts and blouses. I found this grandad collared number with the subtlest of embroidered detail that you will either look very sensible in or very sexy. You choose.

M&S white shirt

Be sure to keep your crisp white classic white and crisp, but don’t be afraid to mix it up too. Once you have the basics, you have ready made outfits for anything else to buy. This is the fun part.

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