Westfield & The Pursuit Of Pefection: The White Shirt

As part of the ongoing collaboration with Westfield and the Pursuit of Perfection campaign I’ve chosen a handful of key menswear items that exemplify perfection. Based on yesterday’s post we are talking about white shirts today. 

Is there any singular item of menswear that embodies the concepts of style and tradition like the white shirt? A good white shirt is the cornerstone of any look, from formal to casual. It’s the King of all wardrobe staples. But where did it come from? 

I’ve done a bit of research, expecting to find the origins dating back to a few centuries ago but apparently the first recorded instance of a white shirt was all the way back in 3000 BC and was discovered in a First Dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarkan. In more modern times the white shirt was considered nothing more than an undergarment until the early twentieth century. But what makes the perfect white shirt? Let’s break it down into 5 categories that will make your pursuit of perfection easy…


Fit. Is. Everything. I can’t stress that enough, although this applies to pretty much all clothing. Depending on your size you’ll have to fiddle around with fabrics and styles. Muscular men will struggle to find a standard shirt that fits over their biceps and upper chest but stretch cotton will help here. It should fit you square on the shoulders and around the neck. A good tip for trying on shirts is to button it up and then sit down while looking in the mirror – your body shape changes completely when you sit so always check that the fabric isn’t pulling in between the buttons. 


Shirt collars are a veritable minefield. While shirts are always in style collar shapes lead trends so be mindful of the collar when making a purchase. It you want something classic that won’t be out of style then invest in a button down collar as the classic Oxford Shirt is alway on trend. 


“Crisp” is one of those adjectives that always precedes “white shirt”. It’s a matter of fabric and upkeep here. You can get great quality white shirts from plenty of high street retailers but for crispness they need to be laundered and ironed with starch for maximum crispness. If you want to splash some cash and invest in a designer piece you’ll probably get a better quality fabric but it will still require a bit of effort to keep it looking good.


White shirts need to be white, that might sound like a stupid thing to say but it’s very easy to dull the brilliant white of your shirt with careless behaviour. Deodorant will stain your underarms (you can buy special deodorant to prevent this from happening) and spritzing aftershave on the collar of your shirt will more often than not leave stains, so be careful.


There are a plethora of things that you can style a white shirt with. Collar bars and chains have been trendy recently and obviously ties and bow ties are made to wear with shirts but as a general rule I’d advise to keep it simple. The versatility of a white shirt means that you don’t have to wear anything with it at all but depending on the occasion you may need to put a bit of work in. Westfield offer a huge number of retailers that will all offer a white shirt in one form or another – using the guide above should make it easier to find the perfect one for you!

This is a collaboration with Westfield

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