Thursday, January 08, 2009

The White Shirt Thing

This morning I read an article about a woman who designs white shirts (I read about Gaza too, and I might write about that some time, if I can bear it, but for now I'm going with white shirts). This woman has stores all over the world, and every season she puts out a new collection of white shirts. To create the collection, she designs 500 white shirts.

I so do not get the white shirt thing. I can't tell you how many articles I've read about the five or ten things your wardrobe must have (yes, I read those articles too), and they all start with a white shirt.

It makes me wonder: is there anyone else out there who spills something as soon as she puts on a white shirt?

I believe I own one white shirt, and it's off white. It's a three-quarter-sleeved boat-neck pullover shell kind of thing that I bought to wear with suits, which I occasionally do. The suits protect it. Still, a few years into its life, it is undeniably dingy.

Which may be the reason white-shirt designers need to design so many white shirts? Because white shirts get dingy so quickly, that white-shirt owners need to buy them all the time?

I read another article, a personal essay by a woman who lost a lot of money with Bernie Madoff. It was one of those painful "poor me" essays in which she bemoaned the fact that she would probably have to sell the cottage in West Palm Beach. Loss is loss, and pain is pain, but it's one thing to lose the job that keeps your kids in oatmeal, and another to lose the money that funds your West Palm Beach cottage. A sense of proportion is helpful, even in the face of loss (ah, the Gaza subtext shows itself).

Anyway, this woman has 45 white shirts. She wears a white shirt every day. Another thing she will probably have to do since she lost all that money with Bernie Madoff is get rid of the woman who comes in three days a week and, among other things, launders and irons her white shirts. Oh, the pain of it all.

I wonder if the reason I don't have enough money to have lost it with Bernie Madoff is that I do not appreciate the value of a white shirt.

Today I'm wearing a black sweater.


Lauren said...

Yeah apparently we're supposed to buy a new white shirt every season. I have a few which I always wear under sweaters (which can never be removed because of certain embarrassing stains). My favorite is a sleevless, button-up, collared because it doesn't make me hot, but looks professional under sweaters or jackets.

Libby said...

I don't own a white shirt worthy of the name. I have a few white t-shirts and other white "tops" that can be worn under things, but I'm too much of a spiller (and not a good enough laundress, or wealthy enough) to actually wear white shirts as visible garments. I am wearing a white tank top today under a red v-neck sweater--much more workable in my life than a white collared shirt.

Jackie said...

I'm with Lauren-- I own one white shirt, that I wear infrequently under sweaters.