The Virtues of Menswear Shirting

Having one or two blouses made from traditional menswear shirting fabrics in your closet is a good idea.

Some days it’s nice to put on a menswear shirt and cozy sweater.
We needn’t be all svelte, all the time.
And why would we want to?

I’ll look svelte when I feel like looking svelte
You’ve seen this shirt and sweater — together and apart — before.
It’s time for another round of applause for the off-the-shoulder sweater.

I had an idea recently for a series of sequential posts — threads — in which I show a garment as part of two or three different outfits. Not an original idea, but nevertheless a good one, yes?* Because, ideally, that’s the way our wardrobes should work: every piece should go with at least three things.
So, you’ve got that to look forward to in 2019! Plus, several of my colleagues have agreed to do guest posts. Very exciting to contemplate the forthcoming variety.
It’s a very good idea

Not svelte, but very cozy
This sweater is an oatmeal-y non-color — which I like — but I felt that it would benefit from a little color. Marigold is just right; a complement to the blue and the undertones of the oatmeal.

Back to menswear shirting!
I wouldn’t wear a shirt like this with a grey flannel two- or three-button suit in earnest for a formal work occasion (client meeting, court), but I would wear it untucked with such a suit belted with, say, the Weight Securing System on a day when I only had internal meetings scheduled. That would be an appropriate send-up of the patriarchy.
“Women” are not a special interest group; we are a majority

Sweater: Theory; Shirt: Thomas Mason for JCrew; Jeans: JCrew; Shoes: Coach; Bag: Coach
* I feel like I have floated this idea in the past, but cannot find the promise in a quick search of old posts. Regardless, the idea is more concrete this time. I’ve sketched out five threads (A-E) of two or three posts each (A1, A2, A3), which overlap (e.g., a post can be both C2 and D1). I used the software that is used to forecast blood bank logistics to map it out.+
+ I’m kidding . . .but only about the software.

8 thoughts on “The Virtues of Menswear Shirting”

  1. I just love The Directrice’s deployment of button-down shirts and layered blouses, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that button-down shirts with collars are not Everybody’s Friend. How do others thus challenged among the Directrice’s faithful readers navigate this conundrum?

    • 1. Choosing shirts that have a shorter collar. Brooks Brothers seem to run higher to me than other brands like JCrew. Not all of us have swan-like necks, BB.
      2. Choosing silk or cotton-blend shirts rather than stiff non-iron material; this helps the collar spread open attractively.
      3. Tailoring. Buy to accommodate shoulders and bust, then nip in the waist and – my personal favorite trick – slim the arms.

    • I endorse all of Cat’s suggestions, Ellie! In addition to looking for smaller collars and softer fabrics, remember that you can always have a traditional collar altered to a Mandarin collar. See Blouse Under Dress, January 2017. Having darts added to a boxy shirt is also a great idea and a relatively simple (and inexpensive) alteration.

      • Excellent suggestions! I do tend to default to collarless shirts and blouses, but haven’t tried Mandarin collars. I wonder if there there might also just have to be some suffering through awkward collars to get used to the feel of non-scarf things around the old (totally swanlike ;-)) neck.

  2. I will wait for those posts with baited breathe.

    I personally like to dress a bit gender neutral most days at work, and shirts always help me feel… dressed!


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