Do you want the bad news or the good news first? The bad news, right? So here goes.
You are wearing your shirt wrong. Yes, you are. Don’t argue; just listen for a minute. You think that wearing a shirt just means putting it on and doing it up with the right buttons?
Well, I am here to break it to you that you do not know how to wear your shirt in 2023.
To wear a shirt right, you wear it with swagger. Wear it the way you would wear a slick tuxedo-blazer shoulder-robed on the way home from a really good party, or a vintage denim jacket on a sunny day.
The shirt is cool now, you see. It is a statement piece. If you still think of shirts as a bit blah and “basic” – like they were when they came in a cellophane three-pack as part of your school uniform – you are wearing them wrong.
You want a big shirt that hangs loose around you. You will take up space, and that’s fine
But now for the good news. Which is that the It piece of the season – the shirt – is almost certainly something you already have in your wardrobe. This is a no-shop, instant look. Because we are not talking any la-di-da special fashion shirt here.
The shirt we want is plain white, preppy blue, or an old-school stripe. You don’t need anything fancy; all you need is the confidence to make it the centrepiece of your look.
Some people have always worn shirts like this. At the beach, there are those cool girls using cotton shirts as bikini cover-ups, who annoyingly make the cute handkerchief-hem boho number you panic-bought from the “holiday vibes” rack at the airport seem a bit try-hard by comparison. Now it’s time for us all to get a piece of that energy.
You want a big shirt, not a fitted one, and you need to let it hang loose around you. You will take up space, and that’s fine. Own that space the way you would if you wore a jacket with shoulder pads, or a frothy party dress. This shirt has main character energy, remember.
Now – concentrate, this is important – resist the urge to tuck the shirt into your trousers because you think it will look more flattering. You want a simple, boxy shape with bold, architectural lines, and cinching it at the waist will kill that vibe.
If you feel like you are swamped under a big shirt (and I hear you: this silhouette can feel tricky for those of us who aren’t tall and leggy), leave the shirt open, with a vest or T-shirt underneath so your shape isn’t completely hidden.
But keep the under-layer minimal. The shirt is the star here.
The easiest outfit-maker for a simple white shirt? A generously sized pair of trousers. Oversized shirts worn with oversized denim jeans were a serial catwalk look this season – although that outfit can feel a little lacking in glamour when you take the supermodel out of the equation.
Pleat-front tailored trousers or wide-legged cargo pants are a more polished option. Instead of wearing a white shirt with black trousers, try keeping the colours of your top and bottom half similar.
That could be two stripes, like you see here. Or it could be two pale neutrals: a cream shirt and beige trousers, for instance. Worn that way, the two pieces feel almost like a featherlight trouser-suit.
Style doesn’t get much simpler than this. It’s easy when you know how, right?
Hair and makeup: Carol Morley at Carol Hayes Management. Model: Suzanne at Body London. Shirt and trousers: Samsøe. Vest: American Vintage. Loafers: Monki