White Shirt Wonder

Never underestimate the power of a plain white shirt. T-shirt, button-up, Henley, sweater, doesn’t matter. White shirts have a crisp effortlessness about them. They look so relaxed, but also a little like a rebel without a cause.

Sure, white button-ups can be the most formal of shirts, but they don’t have to be if you ditch the tie and/or layer up. In fact, all white shirts look great with layers. Leather jackets toughen them up. Blazers class them up. Cardigans are cozy and casual. Trench coats make you look like you walked out of a Burberry campaign. And let’s face it, life is better in a Burberry campaign.

ALL the white shirtsThe real key to your go-to white shirt is caring for it. Wash it before you wear it, every time. Some shirts you can get away with doubling up, but even if you don’t see it, you’ve probably spilled something on your white shirt and it is noticeable. Also treat it aka use bleach or safe stain removers in order to help it last longer.

It is not a bad article of clothing to have a few of, in fact you probably already do. You’ll know it is time to toss and replace your favorite when the fabric begins to ball, it gets holes, or pit stains. And please stop wearing them in public as soon as these signs appear, especially the pit stains. Also you are less likely to get said stains if the shirt is looser under the armpit.

Find ones that you really like the fit of and have a good neckline because this should be a comfortable piece of clothing–both physically and confidently so.

white shirts

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All buttoned up Or…

So I kind of touched on this in my last post, but I’ve noticed two competing trends in menswear: The buttoned all the way up and the letting some chest show. Now obviously you are all buttoned up when you are wearing a tie, so this is for more casual, non-tie days. I honestly don’t have a preference between the two, they are just different looks, but I’ll try and offer some tips on how to do both properly.

I first saw the top-button-done look during my time in England, so I still associate them, and while it is steadily working its way across the Atlantic it is still a look that reads a British aesthetic.

This look take commitment because if done with the wrong shirt it  could look like you just forgot your tie. For that reason I suggest more casual shirts, be they chambray or short-sleeved. Also I would say it is easier to pull-off when the shirt is tucked in, but that doesn’t mean un-tucked is totally out of the question.

All buttoned up is definitely complemented best by skinny or slim cut jeans to keep the correct proportions. In general men want to have a V shape; the top-button-done narrows the top, so you want to balance it with a narrow bottom.

all buttoned up

Now for the opposite side of the spectrum. Another thing that’s making a comeback? Chest hair. Believe me, I never thought I’d say those words. However, we are not talking Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day, but something more manly and less caveman-y.

Like I mentioned in the Tom Mison Spotlight, you just want a glimpse of the chest, not a full-frontal accost. We are talking the top three or so buttons undone (top two is pretty standard and top four could be too much).

This is a sexy and confident look that draws attention up to the face. It also elongates your torso a bit and makes your shoulders seem wider. All pluses, but it can veer into disco or pirate, so be tasteful. Wear with slim fit pants, but not skin-tight.

Three undoneI’m also going to include wide-necked shirts in this latter category because what we are really after here is collar-bones. For some reason showing off the clavicle is super sexy on a man or woman. The same open neck effect of the slightly un-buttoned can be achieved with a V-neck, boat neck, or other wide necked t-shirts and sweaters. Henleys are good for this.

the wide neck route(Hello Tom Mison’s eyebrows)

A great neck for Joel McHale

 

Spotlight: Tom Mison

Sleepy Hollow returns from hiatus this week and it is easily my favorite new show of the season. It has everything you could want: a strong lady lead, a sassy police captain, demons, apocalyptic prophesies, and of course, a sarcastic British soldier with a photographic memory straight from the 18th century. While fans of the show, actor Orlando Jones included, are clamoring for Ichabod Crane to get a makeover, real-life Tom Mison is doing just fine in the wardrobe department.

Tom Mison is an impressive chameleon, and you may say that all actors are or should be, but he can actually look completely different by just varying hairstyles or facial hair. (I honestly didn’t recognize him from Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, One Day, or Lost in Austen, all of which I saw before Sleepy Hollow premiered.) However, he is most often seen with a pleasant amount of scruff. He also keeps his hair nicely tousled.

tom mison

Mr. Mison also seems to have mastered the art of showing off his collar bones. Now, I know that sounds super weird, but it’s a sexy and hard to perfect style choice. The trick is not looking sleazy or like a pirate (which, you know, actually works fine for Colin O’Donoghue). Having that many buttons undone can be risky territory, but his shirts don’t pull too tight across his chest, so that it offers more of a peek, rather than a full chest reveal. Another, safer approach to collar bone display is a wide-necked shirt or sweater.

He is also unafraid of variety. All of his looks here are pretty casual, but he doesn’t just rely on a t-shirt. He’s got sweaters, sweater/shirt combos, button-ups, chambray, scarves, beanies, and all of it looks pretty classic and relaxed. I mean, the guy makes even his Revolutionary War gear look pretty effortless.

tom misonAs an unabashed fan of the show and Mr. Mison, I urge you to go check it out. It has already been renewed for a second season and is worth watching from the beginning to understand all the twists and mythology. Just take your fashion advise from Tom, not Ichabod (WAMSW retains the right to retract this statement after Ichabod gets a makeover)

draw people in