Who doesn't own a white shirt? Smart or casual, a white shirt always does the trick. And that goes for women as well as men. It was the white shirt that gave me a weird epiphany on the way home today. Sitting opposite me was a girl, in a white blouse and black jeans. Fairly plain yes. But her shirt was all creased around the edges; a hard day pounding London's pavements had nonetheless given it a good wearing. The more I looked at it, the more it made sense (if that makes sense... ) The white shirt offers the best representation of life.
In its smartest form, a shirt is ironed and crisp around the collar. It hold itself well. It looks good on a hanger. And in the instance where this might be worn, the wearer would have every intention of giving a good impression. Much like the shirt. But this one on the tube was, well, shabby. The creases were unanimous; the fabric was worn and tired. It had been pulled sideways, upwards and every way in between. It resembled 'I've had enough, I don't care anymore'. It had writhed in pain, much like someone who's been hurt by love or friendship and has given up trying. We've all been there. And somehow this sad, creased shirt summed up that aching, worthless feeling rather aptly.
More so, anybody that wears a white shirt on a daily basis will know what a nightmare it is to keep clean. As a red wine drinker, I can testify to that. But it's true that once a shirt is marked, the stain remains forever. Yes, it might fade in the wash. But it's there under certain lights or when it gets hung out to dry. What is it with things that stick? Emotions in particular - something sinister, saddening or joyful that happened to us 10 years ago has a permanent place in our minds. It might waver or be forgotten about, but it's still there, somewhere. Ready to catapult back in to our minds at any given moment. It's always the forgotten stain (that you thought had gone away) that rears it's ugly head.
One of the main reasons I love wearing a white shirt is because of its seductive qualities. It looks good on everyone - the oversized boyfriend fit in particular. Women wear a manly white shirt and it connotes mischief. While a man wears the same shirt and it connotes charm, passion and authority. Wear it well and a shirt can transform your entire evening. No other item of clothing can do this for men and women in tandem. It's quite genius.
And lastly, the best bit about the white shirt? It's timeless. It will never let you down. Unlike a man, a job, the weather or public transport, the shirt doesn't care. It's there for you. And it will be there for you for many years to come. The hard part comes at replacing it (god forbid the creases get too bad or the stain doesn't fade). Such is life: the best things are irreplaceable. And like any great shirt, the best things can take a lifetime to find.