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The perfect white shirt

Ashleigh Went

I challenge you to find a piece more classic than a crisp white shirt.

A favourite of women through the generations, from Grace Kelly to Diane Keaton, Julia Roberts to Angelina Jolie—history has proven that this piece will forever be a staple.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re more of a tailored classic kind of girl, or beachy boho goddess—there’s a way to style a shirt to suit every kind of woman.  In fact, part of its allure is that it’s essentially a blank canvas—the perfect foundation on which to build a look.

When weighing up a new purchase, it often helps to consider two points: longevity and cost per wear. The classic white shirt will not only last through every season and outlive almost any trend, but it can be worn in so many ways that it will end up being one of the most inexpensive pieces you buy on a cost-per-wear basis.

This isn’t a look reserved for those with a big budget—we picked this shirt from the men’s section at Parliament for less than $50. It’s a small investment for a piece that’s so versatile.

Here are our favourite ways to style the perennial favourite:

 For a night out


Khaki and white are a fabulous combination. Teaming with a darker tone makes the white shirt more suitable for evening—especially when paired with a heeled boot and some sparkle.

The trench is another wardrobe classic and, together, they make the perfect pair: versatile and timelessly elegant.

Don’t be afraid to play with the neckline of your white shirt either—buttoned to the top with a necklace, this shirt looks completely different to when it’s buttoned down.

For an edgier aesthetic, add a black leather mini or pencil skirt.

Shirt – Deacon from Parliament, $49.95
Timeless Luxe Trench, Portmans, $149.95
Yuku Boots – Windsorsmith – $88
Cue Necklace -$134.50

Style it… for work


A white button-up has long been a mainstay of the corporate woman’s wardrobe. While white and black will always have a place in our hearts (and closets), a little variety never hurt anyone—particularly as we move towards the warmer months.

Nothing says ‘professor chic’ like houndstooth. We love the professional, almost-academic feel that this blazer and shorts combination lend to the white shirt. Accessories like this chunky gold necklace and gold-accented bag add a little fun to the look.

Not a “short-friendly” kind of workplace? You could easily substitute this pair for a sleek pencil skirt or—for a statement look—a pair of high waisted trousers.

Mini Houndstooth Fitted Blazer – Veronica Maine from Cue, $98.70
Mini Houndstooth Shorts – Veronica Maine from Cue $132.30
Symmetry gold necklace – Portmans, $10
Marcia Double Strap Quilted bag, Portmans, $39.95


Style it… for the weekend


Reminiscent of the Italian Riviera and summer picnics, gingham is a trend that shows no sign of leaving any time soon—and we couldn’t be more pleased! This skirt is a great way to buy into the trend, as it can be worn with a light turtleneck on cooler days, and a white t-shirt once summer hits.

Frills and an injection of pink will add a feminine touch to any outfit, and these velvet heels and suede clutch add luxurious texture. With velvet still being a key trend for SS17.

The distressed, boxy denim jacket adds a hint of toughness and is an essential transitional piece between the cooler months and summer.

Shanghai block heels, Portmans, $89.95
Regent Circle Clasp Clutch – Portmans, $49.95
Flashy glasses – le Specs @ Parliament, $20
Denim Jacket – Cotton On, $49.95
Gingham Frill Detail Skirt, Ally Fashion, $25.99

STYLING Hayley O’Neill

PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Bean Photography

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Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author

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