In the pursuit of effortless elegance, a man’s shirt is every woman’s secret weapon.
Or certainly should be — oversized cotton styles stolen from boyfriends/husbands/best mates and worn haphazardly with a pair of jeans create the ultimate off-duty look. Alexa Chung has emerged as the ultimate modern-day ambassador for this aesthetic. Sporting a soft collar shirt from of-the-moment label Basic Rights — a sustainable men’s essentials brand founded by The Vaccines guitarist Freddie Cowan, Chung offered a masterclass in big shirt energy. To make this work for you, team your big boy’s shirt of choice with a streamlined silhouette — straight-cut jeans are the dream companion.
The pop of colour
The not-so-basic incarnation of this basic is decidedly neon — a peruse of the rails in Arket serve as proof of that, with violet, fuchsia and eye-searingly bright lemon among the shirt shades of choice for spring. Undoubtedly, this look is a strong statement built on simple foundations. The joy is that these shirts are easy-to-wear office attire that are far from shy or retiring. A bold pick implies effort has been made without demanding it. To choose the bright shirt for you, pay careful attention to fit. Anything too streamlined will look more “dodgy nightclub staff uniform” than “new decade cool”.
The blue-collar classic
No one does minimalist luxury quite like The Row, making the Manhattan-based fashion power player the best resource for truly contemporary executive style. At the label’s show last September, it was the classic blue collar that emerged as an unlikely protagonist, with founders the Olsen twins riffing on the style throughout. In its chicest incarnation, the shirt — super soft cotton, and in the perfect shade of sky blue — lent a sense of sharpness to a navy roll neck. Let this be your office-ready inspiration this season.
An emerging label founded by a former Vogue stylist, With Nothing Underneath is a shirt brand which is all about celebrating simplicity. Based in London, the label has had the seal of approval from the Duchess of Sussex — a woman who appreciates the value of a good shirt — and deals in low-key, carefully made styles spanning brushed cotton and striped poplin. The warmer (winter proof) brushed cotton is the ideal layering item. Team with denim, a marl sweater and then your favourite cut-off shorts once the weather breaks.