Before the days you could drop off a week’s worth of dirty shirts for a clean and steam for $12, the challenge of keeping a white shirt stain and wrinkle free was a little more arduous. In fact, the terminology of ‘blue collar’ workers and ‘white collar’ workers was coined from that very issue; those in more lucrative corporate jobs could afford the luxury of having their white shirts cleaned and pressed each day, while those in manual labour opted for (at least, symbolically) the more robust and dirt-proof shades of blue.
Leading Man: An Icon of Cinema
Politics aside, the white shirt also has a storied history across the silver screen. A tour through cinema’s most sharply dressed icons showcases the versatility, elegance and timelessness of the classic white shirt - Humphrey Bogart breaking hearts and farewelling planes (and loves) in a trench coat and fedora in ‘Casablanca’, Gregory Peck wooing courtrooms with elegant southern charm in a seersucker three-piece as Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, Jude Law unbuttoning his way to Italian yachting style in 50’s-set ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’, all the way through to Don Draper and Roger Sterling’s seemingly endless supply of white shirts - hidden in secret office closets for the long nights that became early mornings - pairing equally well with their racks of navy two-buttons, grey double-breasted numbers and bold windowpane check blazers.
The All-Rounder: Versatile Player
Of course, the reason the iconic white shirt is so prevalent in your favourite films and shows is clearly its versatility - it can act as the neutral base for vibrant colours and patterns in suits, jackets and ties, and it can be the ultimate occasional all-rounder for the entire spectrum of formality, workable with a dinner jacket for black-tie events, unbuttoned with chinos and a sports blazer for dinner with the in-laws, or untucked, unbuttoned and sleeves-up for a stylish Sunday brunch or an Amalfi riff on Saturday arvo beers.
The Dapper Devil In The Details
But the simplicity of the white shirt also offers the greatest opportunity to showcase your eye for sartorial detail. The ability to customise every detail of your ideal white shirt (or, potentially, range of white shirts) with InStitchu means that you can play to your needs and preferences, from uber-formal winged collars to hassle-free button-downs and boardroom-ready spread collars designed to showcase that perfectly dimpled four-in-hand.