Who wore it best? Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, Patti Smith, or Susan Feldman? Whether or not you chose correctly (obviously, it’s Susan) the true fact of the matter is that white shirts look good on everyone. Once the province of the rich, Clorox seems to have democratized the look.
Round collar, like Peter Pan or popped collar like James Dean, nothing says.” I’m fabulous” like a white cotton shirt. Treat them right and they will return the favor, which why you’ll find our guide for the proper care and feeding of a white shirt, below our five faves.
Bonus: 5 Tips for keeping your shirts their whitest-white and some of our best tools.
- Wash them. Don’t dry clean.
- Wash whites separately in a moderately full washer.
- Use a soap that contains some kind of bleaching agent. We love The Laundress Whites Detergent. It’s concentrated, so don’t use too much.
- Consider carefully adding a bluing agent to your laundry bag of tricks. Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing Agent is one of our favorites, but you should know it’s potent and needs to be diluted.
- Remove from the washer, give the shirt a great big ol’ shake and hang to dry on a light colored hanger. Iron if you are that kind of person.
All of our recommendations are curated by Susan & the In The Groove editorial team. In some, but not all cases, we receive a small commission for leading you to what, how and where to buy all this wonderful stuff.
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Tailor Fit Shirt, $98
The OG of white shirts. Stays fresh, is fittingly feminine but bossy. The go-to when you want a sturdy collar with staying power. I call this one a “planes, trains and automobiles” shirt. Wash, tumble dry and give it a shake. Good to go.
Vince Classic Button Down, $175
Just ideal. The perfect weight of smooth cotton poplin. A back pleat, waist length and the button placket make this one femme with possibilities.
When you want cool, crisp cotton and don’t want to fuss with tucking it in or tucking in half or belting your pants…this one is all ease and simplicity. Even the buttons are quietly hidden. Thinking of calling this our “Skirt Shirt” as it works so well with a pencil , a-line or full skirt.
J. Crew Classic Boy Fit, $69.50
Even if you don’t have the boyfriend, you should have this shirt. For Saturdays, Sundays and laundry days because it washes so darn well.
ASOS Boyfriend Shirt with Pleat, $40
Simplicity with a twist. Some of like to cover the derriere and this shirt makes it happen in the loveliest way.