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1 Piece, 3 Ways: The White Shirt

September 21, 2018 | Filed in: Your Closet

The classic white button-up shirt has earned a well-deserved reputation for being timeless and versatile—but what it doesn’t always get credit for is being just plain fun. MM stylist Sam is a fan of our Virginia top for its classic silhouette and fashion-forward design elements. “A plain white shirt can feel drab, dull, and unflattering if it’s not designed and styled correctly,” she says.What I think is so cool about the Virginia top is that it has a dropped shoulder, which gives it a slightly edgier vibe. The poplin adds the crisp structure needed to give the shirt a more voluminous shape, and the sculptural sleeves can be worn down or easily rolled up for a more relaxed look.” Here are three ways she wears hers, to work and beyond: 

Look 1: Jackie O-inspired layers 

styling a plain white shirt

Sam wears the Virginia top over the Abigail top with the Chester pant.

My inspiration for this outfit was the question, “How can I wear as many things that I love at the same time?” I like to buy pieces with different levels of volume so that I can layer them together. Since the Virginia has nice, roomy sleeves, you can wear a more form-fitting top underneath, like the Abigail. The colors on top are neutral, so I paired them with a bold pair of red trousers. I wore the Virginia unbuttoned and with the sleeves pushed up so you can see the pattern and texture of the Abigail underneath. There’s something about this look that reminds me of Jackie O—I could see her wearing this on a beach vacation.

Look 2: Fall-ready texture

I love all the contrasting textures in this outfit. The jacquard skirt almost feels like fleece, and it’s structured without being stiff. The Anita top feels like fall with its cable stitching, and then you have the crisp poplin and smooth leather as a contrast. The Morton skirt is a little conservative, so I balanced it by styling the Virginia more casually: untucked, with a single button closure and a belt at the natural waist. The Virginia acts like a jacket here, rather than a base layer: I wore it the same way I would a blazer.

Look 3: A modern suit

styling a plain white shirt

Sam wears the Virginia top, the Carson blazer, the Crosby skirt, the Looped belt, and the Capri earrings.

This look is more formal, but still feels fresh. Here, the Virginia functions as a neutral base layer, which means you can bring in other elements that are more unique and fashion-forward. Take the Carson blazer: The silhouette is classic, but there are little details, like the deep raisin color and elongated cut, that give it a bit of edge. Adding a funky belt makes the look feel modern without compromising the formal feel. I buttoned up the Virginia all the way and cuffed the sleeves under the blazer to get a nice color-blocking effect.

Inspired to take your own white button-up out for a spin? Shop the Virgina here.

Photographs by Yan Ruan.


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Alexandra Johnson is an editorial associate at MM.LaFleur, where she started out as a summer intern. Her happy place is the room housing Monet's Water Lilies at MoMA. Read more of Alexandra's posts.


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