White shirts are the perennial "must have" item on many a stylist's list. Though I've long thought they do not suit me, I'm taken with a series of portraits of striking women in theirs, featured in The Gentlewoman and The New York Times' T Magazine.
They remind me, as the stores fill with brights and prints, that while tempted, I end up not wearing brights much. The soothing calm of the shirt draws attention to the woman, not her clothes—and what women!
The English singer Alison Moyet, retrieved from The Gentlewoman:
Also from The Gentlewoman, the great model Pat Cleveland:
In the Times' T Magazine, designer Phoebe Philo in one of her current designs for Céline:
English film director Clio Barnard in a white shirt, black trousers and a beautiful silver-link necklace (which looks like Georg Jensen to me), in The Gentlewoman:
David Lewinski shot the ever-sassy Elaine Stritch for another NYT profile, in her trademark white shirt (actually ecru) and black tights. What legs at nearly 89!
Stritch, who has openly discussed her struggles with drinking, was abstinent for years and has returned to a moderate level of consumption because, as she says, "I’m not going to have three drinks, I’m not going to have four. I’m
going to have two, and that’s it, folks. I just want to enjoy life and
relax a little bit and go out with the rich ladies in Birmingham (the Detroit suburb where she now lives) and
enjoy them. And you can’t enjoy them sober."
The article about Philo mentioned the concept of invisibility, but as a desirable outcome. Isabelle Huppert, who modeled a chalk-white Céline sweater, said: "You are not visible with Phoebe's clothes, it's not too obvious. It's a way of not being seen."
This is a different perspective from that of women who object to "being invisible", especially as they age, so choose the vivid or eye-catching.
I'm of the Huppert school myself, and at the same time can exhale in rapture over a citron coat paired with a red skirt printed with lemons and peonies!
There is room to enjoy both attitudes in spring sunlight. I will try the shirt; my avoidance may be one of those ingrained prejudices that turn out to be no longer valid—but just might get my head turned by a fresia-pink scarf.