Lessons from The White Shirt Challenge

by Belinda


 

My lacy, broderie anglaise top, with pin-tuck details, worn here with a pair of dusky pink trousers. The top is cotton and the pants are viscose, so both are great fabrics for the summer.

White shirts are a great staple for the spring/summer seasons. They are light and airy and generally work for all skin tones. And of course, there are variants of white, so if a bright/stark white, doesn’t work for you, you could try off-white, stone, beige, cream or taupe. So many options.

It obviously helps in this season, to wear a breathable fabric too. This is not the time to wear polyester! You will melt! Fabrics I most gravitate to for these months are viscose, cotton and linen. I love silk too, but it’s just quite an expensive fabric and also takes extra care. I’m not the kind of person who wants to make wash days a chore. My life needs to be as simple and uncomplicated as possible. The few silk shirts I own, are hand-washable. I however, do not own a white one – yet.

Matilda and I enjoy the fun aspect of setting challenges for ourselves. The challenges are not without method. Each challenge, although it gives us interesting content for our social media feeds, also provides a personal test for us. We are making the transition to slow fashion. Matilda has always had a great, budget-friendly approach to fashion, whereas I have been far more wasteful. Exploring the reasons for my shopping habits, and I dare say, I am a self-confessed shopaholic, has revealed so much about my inner struggles. But those revelations, are for another post.

So then, what does the challenge assist us with? For me, it has shown me that I have more outfits than I actually need. In creating new outfits for different challenges, I get to really know whether I like an item or not. If I don’t, I donate it to our pre-loved store, Belle Whimsy. Although I love my clothing items, I am becoming less attached to them – yes, I have attachment issues… But in taking the photograph, I am able to see whether an item compliments me or not. It’s also helpful in showing me if I’m wearing the piece in the most flattering way for my body type. I have learned far more from taking selfies in my own clothing, than any fashion and beauty magazine was ever able to impart. A tuck here, a knot there, all play an important part in creating those balanced proportions.

A white cotton shirt teamed with a linen skirt – perfect for hot summer days. And an upstyle too, because I couldn’t be bothered to wash my hair AND it’s cooler off my neck.

So, as we come to the end of this week’s challenge, this is what I can say I’ve learned – I love white shirts! They really are a closet staple of mine. Each one of the shirts I chose to wear this week, I have both loved and been impressed at how cool they’ve been, literally. I’ve loved the fact that although I’ve worn a white shirt each day, my outfits have not felt or looked stagnant or boring. I have discovered new ways to wear white too. I love the outfit here, with the linen skirt. This skirt is about 13 years old, and has stood the test of time. It’s not only a fantastic fabric, being 100% linen, but it has washed well, and is a great style that never seems to date. The print is not gaudy or over the top. I have discovered that this skirt is an absolute essential in my closet!

Another revelation is that I don’t only have to wear white tops with jeans. Tuesday’s look was kind of my go-to, and choosing specifically to wear a different bottom each day, has shown me I have great options within my closet already. This challenge, although not particularly difficult, has once again brought into the light, that I can be a little more adventurous with my clothing. You might look at these outfits and say to yourself, “What is adventurous about these looks?” but I assure you, this challenge has shown me I have options. So on a final note, don’t be afraid to drag out that old pair of dungarees, that pair of shorts, or that strappy dress, and add a white shirt to it. You can get many variations on a look, just by adding a third layer eg. a white button down over a tee and pair of jeans. Play with your pieces. Have fun. Oh, and lastly (really), DO take that selfie. You will be surprised how much it will reveal to you.

Belinda xo

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