Three years since Meghan Markle wowed all with classic white shirt and jeans for her first royal appearance, it remains a commonly searched look. A stylist shares how to ace it for different occasions
The pandemic has made many conscious shoppers rethink their wardrobe choices. While constant prompts to shop online are tempting, with so little to do, it's a smarter decision to invest in classic staples and recreate different looks with limited pieces that make for an environmentally friendly choice, too.
One such classic that continues to catch everyone's attention is The Husband shirt worn by Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, on her first appearance with Prince Harry in 2017. Much before the Duchess was bound by the royal rules of dressing, she wore a classic white shirt by designer-friend Misha Nonoo, casually tucked into her jeans. As much as the excitement the public appearance created, the simple shirt became an instant hit, and continues to be so even under the lockdown, when web searches for the particular shirt increased. According to Yasmine Bachir, a royal expert, it's the shirt that grabs eyeballs among the pieces in Markle's wardrobe.
"The classic white shirt remains a favourite because of its versatility. It's acceptable to wear a white shirt everywhere, so when you are confused about something, you can just pick a white shirt and style it with pants, shorts, tights, or skirts — whatever the occasion demands. It's equivalent to a little black dress," says celebrity stylist Reann Moradian.
With its adaptable nature, a white shirt does not come with a set of rules to go by for styling. The only deal-breaker can be your choice of innerwear. "Never wear a white bra under a white shirt if you don't want it to show; wear a nude-coloured bra instead. And if you want it to be seen, wear a sexy lacy bra in any colour, which will look great even if it shows through," suggests Moradian.
A popular trend has been to pair oversized and structural white shirts with jeans, which can sometimes mess with the proportions of the look on petite women. "I wear boxy oversized white shirts all the time. What you should do with larger shirts is half-tuck the shirt from one corner so that more of one leg is seen. This balances the proportions with more of your jeans or any other bottom seen," she shares, recommending five classic looks you can create.
Deepika Padukone. Pic courtesy/Shaleena Nathani on Instagram
What makes a white shirt effortless is that it acts as a blank canvas. "You can completely change your look with the choice of jewellery with white shirts. Leave a few buttons open and layer multiple strands of gold or silver chains, or button it up and wear a choker or an antique collar necklace on top, depending on the occasion," the stylist recommends.
Pick a long breathy linen shirt to wear as a cover-up over your swimsuit which also looks like a cool shirt dress. "Pile on poolside accessories such as hats and slides for a relaxed look," says Moradian.
"For work-wear, play around with different kinds of pants, be it culottes, formal trousers, cropped trousers, and other styles. You can also wear it with a skirt, under a suit, or a pantsuit for a formal evening. When leaving the shirt out under a jacket, the length of your shirt and jacket should ideally be similar, but it all depends on your body proportion," says Moradian.
Rakul Preet Singh
Britney Spears in a knotted white shirt in the video for Baby One More Time is an iconic look from the '90s that you could try out. "Leave the bottom few buttons open and either tie it in the front, cowgirl style over high-waist jeans, or you could even tie the ends at the back," says Moradian. Another tie trick is to leave the top few buttons open and pull back your shirt to create an off-shoulder look to show off your collar bones, and knot it at the base to keep the shirt in place. "You can also wear it on top of a figure-hugging plain slip dress and pair it with keds or heels," she adds.
Aditi Rao Hydari
Anushka Sharma's shirt with a lehenga look from the 2016 movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil continues to inspire desi fashionistas today too. "Keep in mind the occasion and the amount of embroidery on your lehenga before styling the shirt. Tuck in the shirt in the lehenga and pair it with either a long necklace or an antique collar necklace on top. If you love to contrast, you could also pick a modern piece of jewellery which will change the look," says Moradian. If wearing with a saree, match it with the fabric and pick the right fit or the many layers can overwhelm you and make you look frumpy.
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