On the subject of style, Shahidha Bari recently said on the radio 'It's not something on the surface, it's not just superficial, it's about the way that you are, your being in the world... when you see someone really stylish, it's about them having some sort of understanding, and being able to indicate the ways that they're alert to life itself.'
In other words, clothes should not be used to dress you up as something that you are not, but to highlight who you really are.
The next item in my indispensables series is the white t-shirt. It is one of the most accessible and useful items and has universal appeal.
It's the perfect blank slate. Alone, it indicates very little about what a wearer does, who they are or what they believe in. It harbours no preconceptions. How they chose to wear it however, will offer a little insight...
I've chosen five brands, offering five different takes on this fundamental wardrobe base layer. The slim fit tee, the slogan tee, the oversized tee, the perfect V, and the um, well the not quite white tee.
My choice from The White T-Shirt Company, Fitted Long Sleeve Round Neck
I'm kicking it off pleasingly close to home with The White T-Shirt Company. You guessed it. They do mainly one thing and they do it exceptionally well. Simply pick your preferred fit, sleeve length and neckline and make it your own.
Amongst the first adopters of premium organic cotton, they have the ability to trace the origins of their materials from seed to their virtual shop floor.
My choice is the fitted long sleeve round neck t-shirt - featured here alongside another indispensable item for studio working days - denim.
Beaumont Organic, based in Manchester's Northern Quarter, launched in 2008 with a collection of 8 organic cotton undyed t-shirts and has now evolved into a full collection of 'contemporary conscious clothing' for the modern woman.
'Respect, trust, loyalty, integrity and gratitude must be extended to all those sharing the world of Beaumont Organic' says the founder, Hannah.
The company ethos: Live what you believe in. And by all means share it.
Be More Organic.
Cast your mind West to sunny San Francisco, home of the ever-growing eco brand Amour Vert, founded by two European engineers (one previously producing land-mine clearing machinery and the other fighter-jet simulators). They saw the opportunity to develop modern, easy pieces in an ethical and sustainable way because, well, not many other people were doing it.
The duo's unlikely background is surely one of the reasons behind the brand's success. They're more interested in the efficiency and sustainability of the supply chain than exhausting the latest trend.
Their mission is to build a brand that defines a generation and will change the industry standard.
Recent discovery, Baserange (short for Basic Aesthetic of Sustainable Easywear) was a bit of love at first sight... and then a whole lot more when I read into it. A fusion of French chic and Scandinavian minimalism, they offer the ideal basics. Their concept of retouching things as little as possible, from production right through to imagery, is refreshing and unique.
And I'm certainly not the only one to think so. They've acquired some fairly influential admirers recently: Net-a-Porter and Le Bon Marché are but a few...
You could be forgiven for thinking this is a pretty basic t-shirt.
The Freitag brothers, arguably best known for creating bags out of used truck tarpaulin, have once again proven their exceptional vision. Faced with the challenge of finding a uniform for the Freitag team - something cool and responsible - and finding no one to come up with the goods, they decided to create it themselves. The result: a 100% biodegradable (leaving behind ZERO harmful substances when it does) group of fabrics produced, from seed to style, within a 2500 km radius of their Zurich HQ. Resilient enough to withstand the 'harsh wear and tear of the factory, and even harsher after work parties.'
I could go on.
But in the interests of your precious time, I will hold back. Read the full F-ABRIC story here. You run the risk of being blown away, just a warning.
The image above features their E320 t-shirt. It's not quite white. I know. But it's awesome.
Coming up next in the indispensables series: Denim.
This post was originally featured on the study 34 blog