A timeless, versatile wardrobe staple, the white button-down shirt transcends both season and dress code. It can be sexy or professional; it acts as a great choice for weekend racing, a beach tripor one black tie event in equal measure. A soft oversized number can even work as pajamas.
The White Button, or WBD as I like to call it, also happens to be one of my favorite souvenirs to bring back from a trip – not only because they can fit in overpacked luggage – but put one home allows me to momentarily return to the places I have been and the person I was when visiting.
In my closet, tucked between the slightly wrinkled oversized button-up shirt I’ve worn all summer and the vintage Ralph Lauren “borrowed” from my mom in 2008, is another favourite, lightly textured with a clean, bag purchased while visiting friends in New Delhi. Another, crusty and without a collar, was picked up as he book a visit In Mexico City. Then there’s the WBD with a bib of tiny perfect pleats worn extensively when my luggage was delayed on a trip to Florence. The newest and whitest closet member was purchased closer to home in Paris at Chloé Stora the day before there back to school (in French, “le retour”, an expression used to refer to the return from the country of the summer holidays to work, school and the routines of the first week of September).
The ease and satisfaction of achieving something classic, familiar, And à la mode checks all the essential boxes with minimal mental uplift and acts as a balm for anxiety about what to wear. As a friend recently described the WBD to me, “put one on and you’re dressed.”
I love white button-up shirts that are loose with a nice drape, subtle design touches — an oversized collar, unexpected embroidery, especially roll-up cuffs — and machine-washable fabric. A non-negotiable white button-up shirt, whichever is removed from the mix: a good stain removerand, with any luck, a suitcase with just enough room to bring another home with me. Below are the perfect white shirts I pack on a regular basis.
This article has been updated with new information since its original publication date.