Back to Basics: Timeless White Shirt (Part I)

how to wear black and white, wardrobe staples, white button up shirt for every agePhotos: Milla Jovovich & Lily Donaldson; Courtesy of,

I’m tired of the twice a year wardrobe purge and seasonal buying process, do you feel the same way? I really think that half wardrobe should be filled with high-quality (not equal high price) staples that have permanent residence. No better time than now to go back to basics, because this season, they are taking center stage!

Let’s get started with what I consider the No.1 wardrobe essential: a crisp white button down shirt. It’s versatile, timeless and ageless. When hunting for classic pieces like this, I always look for details that are subtle yet make a huge difference:

For casual occasions, I love it in soft, comfy material, with laid-back details, like this one by Splendid, adore the slightly dropped shoulder and front pocket; For office wear, I love it with structured silhouette and minimal details, like this one by J.Crew, adore the perfect cut and clean shape; For fancy and formal occasions, I love it with luxurious touches and unexpected design, like this one by Elizabeth and James, love the jeweled buttons and amazing waist design at the back!

As for styling, it’s all about balance: women in their 20s and early 30s can give their white shirt a playful, youthful vibe by pairing it with mini or skater skirt, ankle booties or sneakers; For women in their late 30s and above, I would suggest that focus on quality over quantity, invest in a few key items, like black pants, high-waist pencil skirt and great pumps, use accessories to keep your outfits current and updated.

how to wear black and white; wardrobe staples; Alternatives: Elizabeth and James Jeweled Button Cohen Shirt in White, Lafayette 148 New York 'Menswear' Trousers,  Brian Atwood Maniac Patent Platform Pumps,  Charlotte Olympia Pandora Classic Clutch in Clear,  Michael Kors 'Small Madison' Twin Row Crystal Watch,  David Yurman Sterling Silver Cable Stackable Ring,

Shirt: Elizabeth and James (love the jeweled buttons! great buy here)
Pants: Lafayette 148 New York (similar here)
Shoes: Brian Atwood ($50 here)
Clutch: Charlotte Olympia (great find at $48 here)
Watch: Michael Kors
Ring: David Yurman (similar here)

wardrobe staples; Alternatives: Splendid Button Down Shirt,  J.Crew Denim mini,  Sam Edelman Petty Suede Booties,  Gorjana Viceroy Earrings,

Shirt: Splendid (40% off! great buy here)
Skirt: J.Crew (similar here)
Shoes: Sam Edelman (more size options here)
Earrings: Gorjana
Lip: M·A·C ‘Vegas Volt’

By Helen Hou

I'm Helen. In the huge fashion world, what attracts me the most is the way different people accessorize themselves. Our daily outfit choices are not just about the pieces we pick, they relate to something lurking deeply within our hearts: how we feel about ourselves, how we express ourselves to the rest of the world, what kind of people do we want to be and what kind of life do we want to live. Following my passion for fashion, I immerse myself in this bizarre world and try my best to share what I learned with you!