FIMTSO: The White Shirts

Before I left for law school I was seeing a med student who worked weekends as a parking valet at a country club. He would tell me about the perks of sitting in some of the best sport cars in town (this got my attention since I loved anything shiny, motorized, and fast) and taking home lobsters or steaks from the kitchen (this, not so much since I’d gone vegetarian by then). He was quite an Armani addict on a grad student’s shoestring budget. I got a kick out of looking at his Italian suits but often wondered if he was what high maintenance meant.

One day, we were just sitting around and I put on his gold watch, which was his late father’s. It had a huge face and too many links so it rolled down my arm halfway to my elbow, stopping just where the rolled up sleeve of my white (man’s) shirt ended. I looked at my own reflection in the mirror and thought about designer Carolina Herrera who had always been such a fashion inspiration to me. Her uniform of crisply starched white blouses with skirts, pants, and jeans has resonated with me since I first started reading Vogue.

I relate this memory to you because there are more fashion don’t days than there are fashion do moments in my lifelong fashion chase. So when something looks instantly right, the image gets burned into my brain for later references. A sublime man’s watch paired with your SO’s white shirt is one of those instances. I have not yet scored a similar watch since that summer, but I’ve stumbled on to (and been distracted by) other precious things along the way. In my book, there’s nothing sexier than a strand of Tahitian pearls under a white shirt. Always starched.

So without further ado, let’s showcase the next FIMTSO experiment.

Test Item: Today I’m featuring several white shirts because I know we all have more than one. And with white being a neutral yet finicky color, taking on different persona based on its fabric, it would be easier to show a whole rainbow of whites!

Business: For a business casual look, I’m pairing an eyelet Juicy Couture white tank with a JCrew peach cashmere open cardigan. I can throw this over jeans or slacks or skirts and a pair of slingbacks.

The Chanel coral/turquoise necklace is simple enough for me to also wear a JCrew encrusted wide enamel cuff with it. I like large cuffs with short sleeves:

Casual: for warm weekends, I like this stark white lightweight knit ruffled henley shirt from JCrew (no, I do not work for them) that I’ll accessorize with a Gucci silk scarf and Balenciaga leather bracelet. Jeans and strappy sandals will complete this outfit for me.

On cooler days I like to layer a white handkerchief linen shirt (Max Studio) under a rugged cotton jacket. A white feather-weight linen shirt is the only white shirt I will launder and not iron because the wrinkles make the shirt less sheer! Let’s leave some things to the imagination, shall we?

Fun, long necklaces, like this Chanel dog tag one, complete the look.

I’d wear skinny jeans or a slim miniskirt over leggings with this. On a side note, I need to find a mannequin with legs so I can show the entire look with bottoms!

Play: It’s actually difficult to find the perfect dressy white shirt. My favorite ones are of a stiffer silk but all of these shirts in my closet verge more on ivory and beige than white, so I can’t include them here. I’m still looking for that perfect white-white silk shirt to pair with a floor-length black silk taffeta skirt. But I digress…

This is a Dolce & Gabbana white tuxedo shirt; it’s a man’s shirt but at least some Italian labels run on the slim side, making it easier for us gals to poach menswear. I’m pairing it with a pair of velvet low-rise theory pants and killer stilettos. As I mentioned above, I’ll only need a strand of shiny pearls and a patent python clutch to head out to dinner. And just think, I could also tuck this shirt into capri skinny black jeans and some ballerina flats and instantly go from Lauren Bacall to Audrey Hepburn :-D.


  1. larkie

    Eva: i totally agree!

  2. Eva

    Hard to beat Anne Fontaine for beautiful and elegant white shirts.

  3. larkie

    i totally agree! white should be a required color in everyone’s closet 😀

  4. claudia

    I’m wearing white today. I love this color in any season and when I’m having hard time to decide what to wear …my instict goes for white and black. I also take the most care for my whites…love to keep them white..white .

  5. larkie

    Angie: OMG i know what you mean about “discovering” stuff in the back of the closet. it’s better than xmas! i also recently re-found a cc sweater set and thought: oh what a cutie set. it’s mine?!?!?

    i also feel your pain about wearing whites. this is why i can’t carry white bags either. i just admire them from afar!

  6. larkie

    Jelita: that IS a lot of white! those are a few of the long sleeve shirts. too ashamed to get a panoramic shot of all the white shirts lol!

  7. Angie


    Carolina Herrera is an inspiration! I can never replicate her style, but I try nonetheless!

    I don’t know about you, but I’m a MAJOR klutz and can’t seem to go ten minutes without dribbling on myself. (I do think that’s why a majority of my wardrobe is black…not because I’m trying to be “fashionable” but simply because coffee and pen stains don’t show on black!)

    As a result, I steer towards the really inexpensive white shirts, whether they be simple tees or button downs. I recently bought a men’s dress shirt at Jcrew though and think I’ll be shopping in the men’s section more!

    And remember I said I’d try this whole thing with you? Recycling the items already IN our closets instead of buying new things all the time. Guess what I came across?! A great Chanel trench I forgot I had!!

    So, this weekend will consist of me, a camera, all my clothing and accessories, and a notebook so I can start putting together looks and ideas.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Larkie!!

  8. jelita78

    smokin hot!
    love all the combos!
    u sure are an inspiration, larkie!

    p/s: i lurvvv the all-white closet shot.. wow! u sure have a lot of whites there.. haha

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