DocHolliday’s White Shirt Blues
Most people wouldn’t think twice about wearing white shirt, as they are really the most formal of shirts. I used to wear white shirts all the time but then I discovered StyleForum and I found out I had been doing it wrong the whole time. The argument against white shirts goes something like this (as spelled out by Manton in an epic thread on StyeForum):
First, understand what a white shirt is. It’s a citified shirt, a formal shirt, an upper class shirt. White shows dirt easily. It’s hard to clean and it used to be harder. White near the skin used to be the mark of money. It meant that you had a lot of shirts and someone to clean them. White is not a country shirt. White with tweed is the mark of a stooge, someone who knows only that white is “formal” and a tailored jacket is “formal” so they “go together.”
White is thought to be the perfect background for a variety of ties, a “blank canvas.” But this is not so. Many colors look absolutely terrible with white: yellow, orange, rust, lavender, purple, nearly all greens. Even red, a very common paring with white, always looks better on a blue background (not that you should be wearing true red ties) and burgundy or maroon looks better against pink.
Therefore, my suggestion for this week’s Friday challenge on StyleForum was to wear a white shirt in a situation where it actually is the best choice. One way to do this is to embrace the high contrast and combine it with other high-constrast items. In the photo above I relied on one of most my basic sartorial principles - WWJBD (What Would James Bond Do?). James Bond, as portrayed by Sean Connery, was often seen wearing a simple, high-contrast outfit consisting of a mid-grey suit, white shirt and black grenadine tie. If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for me.
Vintage Caraceni birdseye suit, Eton shirt, no-name cotton ps, Shibumi grenadine tie, Grenson G Zero dress boots in black calf