You may have noticed on the catwalks and in fashion and beauty magazines everywhere, that summer clothing staple: White shirt/long skirt. This is a win/win combination that screams, “I’m cool, yet fashionable” and promises to be around for a while. So, why does it work so well? First let’s look at the history



The white shirt

The white shirt foes back well over 100 years, when it was worn by the landed gentry. This was to give the impression that a man was not used to manual labour, and more often than not it was his “staff” that had to deal with the laundry of such items, without the use of a washing machine of course! Of course, white shirts are not simply the garments of choice for men, and below we show a potted history of the white shirt on women.

  • 1793 - Marie-Antoinette wears a white shirt for a portrait, causing a scandal
  • 19th Century – embellished and ruffled white shirts worn as a symbol of wealth
  • 1940’s- Became a fashion staple, led by Hollywood stars such as Ava Gardner, Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall
  • 1950’s – Who can forget Audrey Hepburn’s iconic high collared, rolled sleeves look
  • 1970’s - Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn pull off the androgynous look
  • 1980’s – It has to be the tied up “Dirty Dancing” look, which sparked a rush for white shirts all over the country.
  • 1990’s and beyond – A host of stars paid homage to every possible way to wear a white shirt, from Gwyneth Paltrow in that Martini ad, to stars like Katie Holmes, Kim Basinger and many more




The white shirt/Long Skirt combination


On the catwalks this year have been various combinations of white shirt/long skirts, and they certainly seem to be more popular than ever.


Catherine Herrera’s signature style, which she was quoted in 1987 as saying was

“Simple, well-cut, but with one major extravagance," and

"Something with the sleeves, with the skirt, but nothing too fussy, too flashy." has been emulated since this time by stars from Meryl Streep to most recently Emma Watson, who wore the combination on the red carpet at Ralph Lauren’s Windsor Castle gala.  


So why does it work?

The white shirt/ long skirt combination works in many different ways. It can be as formal or as informal as you like, depending on how tailored the shirt is. White shirts will go with any colour long skirt, so you can create many different outfits. Wearing the white shirt with an open collar, then tucked into an elegant, flowing long skirt will create a feminine image. The white shirt look can be seen with a variety of styles of its own; long sleeves, short sleeves, rolled up sleeves even sleeves with accessories. Depending on the look you are going for the choices of long skirts are endless.

Many women today are seen with the white shirt and a sparkly, sequined long skirt. This style can be seen by celebrities on the catwalk and at the Oscars. Many say the look is hard to pull off, but with the right combination and style of white shirt and long skirt, along with the right accessories, you’ll ensure all eyes are drawn to you. Matching shoes and purse you will give the white shirt with a long skirt a graceful, strong and fabulous look of your own.