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Monday, 17 June 2013

A Simple White Shirt aka the Whistles Freya Shirt



You can't beat a white shirt ... with a big stick (Avril's favourite saying).

So she's just a teeny bit cool. An iddy biddy bit.


I think she has a point. Here's mine.

Whistles Freya Shirt (no longer online)


It's taken me a long time to get on board with this white shirt thing. White shirts are one of those things which appear on those lists along with a trench, little black dress, grey cashmere jumper etc etc - you know - the list of perennial classics. I knew I wanted one but I was in no hurry because I would have said they are actually quite challenging to wear outside of the work place. If you want a sort of formal white shirt/blouse for work, there are plenty to be found. But a good white casual shirt for a SAHM - they're a bit slim on the ground.

I thought I found "the one" last year in Zara. A relaxed fit and made in a kind of ramie type fabric which I thought would soften with a wash and wear - a bit like a linen shirt after you've worn it for a couple of hours and your body heat has relaxed the fibres and then it takes on that funny acceptable crumpledness. The fit was almost there ... almost. A couple of weeks later, I did what I always do when I'm not sure about something - I returned it. I contemplated the perfect white oxford shirt from Gap too. I love my blue version but I didn't get on with the white - it looked too officey. So that was a no go too. And any other ones I came across were either too detailed/stiff/formal/frilly or just not right. 

But roll on a year and guess what - I think I found the one. Okay, I know I found the one. I found the white Freya shirt from Whistles. It was one of those items which you flick past on the rail and you run your hand across it and you think "ooh Andrex puppy soft" and smile. Then you pull it out and you realise it's that cotton voile which you like so much. Then you take it to the changing room and you try it on and it all comes together and you just like what you see.

Anyway, I walked out of the shop without the shirt mainly because it wasn't the cheapest shirt on the high street and I needed to do my research. A Gap linen shirt was a potential but when I went back in to Whistles to try on the Freya shirt again, I just knew it was "the one". The shoulders just fitted, the cotton was so soft and the length was good. Yes it's rather sheer - but hey it's the summer - it will keep me cool (any excuse) and the pockets help with the modesty factor if sheer bothers you.

And the thing about this shirt is that I can style it .....

  • Tomboy style in chinos. I swear I must have been a bloke in a former life.

Maison Scotch Chinos, Converse, Susie Ho Denim Crystal Bracelet

  • APC style in button up heaven and white leather sandals. Just have a look on their website and you'll get the measure of their clothes. This is me doing the APC look on the cheap.

Zatchels Bag, H&M Low (not very) Skinny Jeans, White Primark sandals.

  • Chilled out/weekend style. Err ... I wear these chambray drawstring pants for gardening normally but they're good for hols too. And the shirt works as a good cover up.

H&M Vest, New Look Drawstring Chambray Pants, Tesco Silver Flip Flops (all old)

  • Classic white shirt & jeans style. Any old pair of blue denim jeans will do and a pair of sandals or flip flops. Or pop on a pair of heels to switch it up if you want/can be bothered/that way inclined.

Susie Ho Simple Pearl Necklace, Zara sandals (old)

  • Blogger(ish) style. Whack a necklace and a posh bag on. Reminds me ... I need to return the bag to my sis.


Primark necklace, Topshop Jamie jeans, H&M shoes, Chanel Bag

  • Trying to be cool mum in a skirt style. I'm making it up now as I go along. This little denim skirt is my holiday abroad denim skirt - it doesn't normally come out in the UK - I deem it a little too short (for me) over here.

French Connection denim skirt, River Island espadrilles, APC bag. Susie Ho necklace

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark style. Told you I was making this up. Stick on the old faithful Namesake boots and an old Russell & Bromley messenger ..... and a hat.



Office Namesake boots, Susie Ho pearl wrap necklace/bracelet, Primark hat
Russell & Bromley bag, Jack Wills jeans


Okay, leave the hat and time to quit. Anyway, I think I've more than demonstrated the versatility of my white shirt. I'm quite tired from the dressing up shenanigans and the Grumps has shook his head once too many times at me prancing about on the landing over the weekend. Will love you and leave you to contemplate your own white shirts. Do you have one? Where's it from? What's it like? How do you wear it? It's different things to different people as seen here.

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Last Note :

  • The Whistles sale has started. I checked on the first day and my shirt wasn't reduced. Yippee! Means it was a good pick.
  • It's also sold out online which is no help to you. But there might be some lurking in the stores still.
  • I bought it in the size 8 rather than a 10 and there's still room. Luvverly jubberly.



29 comments :

  1. Love it! It really truly is the one for you! If it were me, I would snatch up another one before they're gone because the one thing that's inevitable about white shirts (for me, at least) is that they do not want to stay white. Some law of physics or something. So I have a handful of them, though my favorites are from Oysho and American Vintage. You are going to love that thing to death!

    www.nomadicd.com

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    1. Well this is the only white shirt I have and if I know anything about me, I will wear it something like 4 times in the year so I don't think it will get worn out. And it would be nice to stock up but funds prevent! I've not had anything from Oysho or American Vintage yet. I tried to order from Oysho the other day but the website was messing up so I gave up in the end. American Vintage is stocked in our Harvey Nicks - just love the relaxed jersey tops they do but not had the opportunity to try anything on to see whether I like on as much as I like on the hanger.

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  2. the perfect white shirt is hard to find. I'm such a stickler for button placement. I hate that when the 2nd button is unbuttoned it's too low, but when buttoned it is too high. I wouldn't mind a sleeveless one to wear ideally underneath cardigans. but nothing urgent. I have 3 white shirts, a french cuff tuxedo pleat one I rarely wear, a white one from J.Lindeberg, and my infamous very long white black fleece shirt dress.

    -ps. 1st picture is very old shot from the sartorialist.

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    1. White shirts are much more difficult than you can imagine - you have to take in to context, lifestyle, uses, material, cost etc and you are right about button placement. I generally like to wear my shirts unbuttoned at the neck and it's a fine line between too high and too low. This one hits me at the right point - no bra show and none of this feeling a little too prim.

      Oh and it's so hard to track down via tumblr the original sources and I still don't subscribe to the Sartorialist. Not sure why but if he does pics like this then I should get it on my blog list.

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  3. Oh too funny! I'm well impressed with this post, knowing how long these take to do. It's a gorgeous shirt - definitely can't be beaten with said big stick. Not helping the shopping ban...AT ALL :)

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    1. Another shopping ban! You have one every month Avril and I love the way you start another one the following month. And thanks about the post. We had a poorly Ben this weekend so was moseying around the house and poncing in front of the mirror :o)

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  4. Sue, I lurve ALL your looks, the shirt is perfect for you! But is it meant to be sheer? I have one which is from years ago by Burberry, the only tiny problem is it's too long so need to chop off about oh...8 inches from the hem! I've worn it on the blog and it's a fairly plain classic cotton style but with a button placket. The cotton is quite crisp which can be a problem for me since I do not need anything that's 'bulky' so have invested in floppy silk versions, same shape, just in silk.
    Drawstring Chambray Pants? Really Sue? I need to know, are these above or below the joggy bots in hierarchy :-)

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    1. I think it is meant to be "sheer'ish". It would show up more depending on your skin tone but if you were paler, I don't think it would stand out as much as it does on me but a good skin toned bra answers all prayers. I don't like white bras under white shirts. It feels a little too much like showing off your undies in that instance.

      I know I didn't want a crisp cotton - I never feel relaxed in anything like this but this is baby soft cotton voile so you hardly notice wearing it. And I'm not a great shirt under jumper wearer - I feel too busy and trussed up like that. Silk is a good alternative though. And a good cotton silk mix is one of my favourites.

      Drawstring chambray pants - level pegging with joggy bots I would have said. Believe me - on holiday - you'd love them! You eat and then release the drawstring and breathe out. What's not to love?

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  5. I am going to steal this phrase ( or you should tradmark it!) "perennial classics"
    That shirt is EPIC. I love what you have done with it.

    I feel very uncomfortable in a white shirt, I don't know why!

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    1. Fiona, I generally don't feel comfortable in shirts and that's usually because it's possibly not the right one for the right occasion. The wrong material, the wrong fit, could be anything and it will make you feel bad. This one is perfect for the summer because it is perfect for relaxed wearing - my style. The important thing is it's got to work for you and not just what you want it to look like. That's where I go wrong .. a lot.

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  6. Love it! That last outfit is my favourite - sucker for a good hat. I own zillions of shirts but I'm a slob and always reach for a t-shirt first.

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    1. T-shirts are way easier but I'm trying to branch out a little. This is a good slob shirt believe it or not!

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  7. The shirt is amazing Sue, it's so you! I bought a very similar one from H&M a while back, nowhere near as nice obvs (or as expensive) but it'll do the job! To be honest I've never been on the whole white shirt thing either, and like you just haven't found the right one, I'm sure I've at least 4 in the wardrobe. I always end up going back to the silky type blouses, and long for an equipment one- perhaps I should see if they have a white one, it could be the one?! X

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    1. I tried on a white H&M one but it was too long for me which I knew it was going to be as I've already got the black version from a couple of years back and I had to have it shortened. The Equipment ones sound good - they seem to be the holy grail on the white silk shirt front but ouch for the prices for the time being. Maybe one day - if I really need one (gosh - how good and sensible am I?).

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  8. So funny. I have a few white shirts but only really wear my old, longish, Betty Barclay one. Sometimes they feel really cold to put on. This one of yours looks super comfy. I love the fact that you max up the road testing and the 'Harrison Ford' is genius. :). Xx

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    1. I just needed a whip to complete the Harrison Ford look but reigned it in at the last moment ;o) The hat was a bit overkill anyway.

      And it sounds like your Betty Barclay shirt is an old favourite and the most comfortable? And cold to put on sounds like a more dense sateen type cotton is like that. Are they more workish?

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    2. Yes probably more work like ( I don't really like them when they are like that.) x

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  9. Gorgeous shirt. I love the combos with chinos and denim skirt the best. :)

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    1. Thanks Kristina. The chinos was the comfiest look and my most gamine. The denim skirt was actually quite fun - just got to get over the chubba legs phobia.

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  10. aww i love a good plain white shirt! If you haven't already seen Breathless google the photos of Jean Seberg wearing Jean-Paul Belmondo's shirt! She looks just as effortlessly cool as the girl in the photo!!

    Love the shape of this one - think the issue I have is I hate wearing anything that's too clingy cos it just makes me feel like I'm going to end up sticking to it by the end of the day (oh so attractive). I like how this one is loose though without being shapeless!


    hannah xx

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    1. and p.s thanks for the comment RE the French Connection and Zara dresses - i did mean to reply but totally forgot!! Still debating what to do about it! x

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    2. Oh gosh that takes me back to my early twenties and watching Au Bout de Souffle - I had an ex who wanted to be Jean Paul Belmondo. And yes, I'm sure there was more than a little inspiration taken from Jean Seberg for this pic. But doesn't she look effortlessly cool? Almost makes me want to cut my hair off. Almost.

      And no worries about the commenting. I sometimes read a post and think I will go back later and comment on that and then totally forget and then the moment passes. I've come to realise - it's not the end of the world.

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  11. Sue you crack me up! Prancing about on the landing - love it! I have two white shirts (and only ever wear them for work - and even then it's not often as I don't do formal very well). I do like this one styled with the jeans (so predictable am I) xx

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    1. Predictable - hmmm - just call it classic.

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  12. I could never commit to a white shirt - I had all the same experiences as you did when I tried them on. I always end up looking like a waitress. In the end I decided I was more of a blue shirt girl. The fit of yours looks great!

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    1. I went with blue shirts too to get away from the too stiff look of the white ones but I think this doesn't shout office at all. This one would be fab in your climate. I saw your instagram with the temperatures in their 30's. Yikes.

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  13. Since you made me (okay lured me with lots of links) buy that silk Uniqlo ivory shirt, I've only ever worn it once or twice. You've given me tons of different ideas now. Can't wait to try out the various outfits.

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  14. I've always been a white shirt kind of girl, but it does get boring and they need to replaced more often than colors. Recently I've expanded my wardrobe by buying more navy. It seems like a safe choice, but I do feel a little more excited than I do about my same old white top.

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  15. I feel white shirts are so essential! Glad you found yours :)

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