The Shirt.

The shirt.  It's on all those wardrobe essentials list, mostly accompanied by the words "classic" and "white".  I can't seem to work it into my wardrobe very well.  I did want to sew one though, so that's alright.

My fabric is a Liberty print.  The pattern is Vogue 2634.

You may have to enlarge this next picture to see that the bottom bottom hole is horizontal, whilst all the others are vertical.  I have seen this done on men's shirts.  Not sure why, perhaps to anchor the other buttons in position?

 The back view.  I added back darts.
 The pattern had the option of sleeveless, short sleeves 3/4 sleeves and really long sleeves, but no wrist length sleeves.  I adjusted the length to the wrist and added a placket.  This is the first placket I have sewn.  I used some very good instructions in an Australian Stitches magazine.

See these buttons.  They cost $2 each.  I nearly felll over when the shop owner told me, but I am not spoilt for choice in sewing supply shops.  Just another reason not to sew collared shirts.  Sadly, I only checked the vertical placement of buttons and not the horizontal placement and the under-placket shows. 

You can see here that I used a contrasting fabric for the collar stand and plackets.  Only it is in a similar colourway, so this effect is subtle.
 This is how I styled it today.  Actually, it was about all I could come up with, unlike the mustard pants that I showed you on Monday that lent themselves to dozens of wardrobe combinations.
I suspect that not many women look great in a collared shirt.  All the views on runways and magazines show the shirts unbuttoned to a deep V, giving a strong vertical line that you don't get if you wear it buttoned up.  If I went out like that, it would only take moments for somebody to tell me that my buttons had come undone.  So this project was more about the process than wearing.

Like many of you, I love reading style guide books.  Earlier this year I picked up Wardrobe 101.  I compared their essentials checklist to my own wardrobe

- tailored jacket, short jacket, fitted jacket and trench coat.  Whilst I own these, I only really wear my Chanel style jacket.
- tailored pants - again, own these, rarely wear them
-wide-legged pants - tick
-jeans - tick
- the perfect skirt - tick, tick, tick
- full skirt - I'm not sure that this is an essential, outside of a bush dance or ballet concert
- collared shirt - see above
- statement top - tick
-knit sweater or cardigan - tick
-tee-shirt - tick
- day dress - I have several, but none of them is the perfect dress, still searching
- little black dress - which I do wear occasionally, but I always feel boring in black
- special occasion dress - plenty of these, but they don't leave the cupboard too often.

So it seems, I meet the list, but these are not the clothes I wear every day.  I've started my own list to work against instead.
* jersey dress, appropriate for work or somber occasions, when you need to grab an outfit in 30 seconds after you have just sat in somebody's yoghurt.  Essential that this dress does not require ironing.
* pull-on dress, no fussing required, to be grabbed on your way to answering the front door, or when you should have been somewhere 20 minutes ago.
* t-shirts, take the time to find a flattering fit
* knit tops, dressier than t-shirts, but also must not require ironing
* statement top, for all those times when people mostly only see your top half anyway.  Throw on with jeans for any occasion when you are not sure what the dress code is.  Ironing is permissible.
* cardi / scarf that is able to be rolled up into your bag
* tights / leggings, to go under all those dresses you made / bought, forgetting that you are not in your twenties anymore
* skirts / pants / shorts.  Forget the fashions,  Choose styles and lengths that flatter.  Pockets are handy but not essential.
* one dress that makes you feel gorgeous.  Matching heels.  You may need a matching bag if you don't have a bloke with pockets.
* pretty pjs
* swimmers in which you are prepared to be seen in public.  It is a lot more fun in the water than watching from the sidelines.
* cute exercise clothes.  I only exercise to help me look good and it defeats the purpose if I am wearing baggy old uglies for the duration.
* underwear that you can forget about once you have it on.  No pulling, pinching, fussing allowed.

What do you think?  Anything missing?


  1. Your blouse is very pretty and wonderful work on the placket and that is usually me with the buttons, pay more for them than the fabric.

    If you are interested I have the indexes for Australian Stitches, volume 12 to 17 on my blog if you want a copy.

  2. Great shirt and what a wonderful Liberty you used. I love the contrasting stand and plackets.

    I have done the same as above-made my own wardrobe essentials list. I have divided it into warm weather/casual, winter travel, sport/work clothes, going out clothing. There is quite a lot of overlap but that was the only way I could organize myself. Staying within these parameters keeps me clear about what I NEED to sew and what I WANT to sew.

  3. Good list! Now that I'm finally a mummy I am much more appreciative of clothes which don't require ironing, and those which can be put on at the absolute last minute.

    Also, it's lovely to hear that bookgroup is still going strong! Please give my love to everyone there.


  4. The shirt is very pretty and looks great with those pants - Liberty prints are just gorgeous. I just love your list. In fact, I could just about copy it for myself.

    I find myself raising an eyebrow about the Wardrobe 101 list. All the wardrobe capsule style books state the need for a simple white shirt and you know what - it's the ONE thing I would never wear. You have to iron it, you have to launder it carefully with other pale objects, and I look terrible in white. It's not true there is a shade of white for everyone - some people just don't suit pale colours.

    So Bravo your wardrobe list of things you actually need and would actually wear!

  5. Marie-Christine1 June 2011 at 01:01

    Very nice shirt, and the Liberty should be extremely comfortable.
    To the multi-functions of the pull-on dress to answer the door, I'd add 'laundry dress', ie the one you wear when you have absolutely nothing left to wear :-).
    Am also quite in agreement about the necessity of good-looking exercise clothes. Being a geek, I especially appreciate if those are in good technical fabrics, ie the sports bra really support and the t-shirts really wick. And you could add that your outerwear should really protect you, not being 'a fitted jacket' but a jacket that'll cut the wind and keep you warm as you wait the odd half-hour for the bus or whatever.

    I also second Mary Nanna about the white shirt. Not only is it totally unpractical, but some of us look like death warmed over in stark white. At best, I can do a nice big linen shirt, good for lazy summer days, that looks a lot more Italian when tossed on unironed :-).

  6. I think you've done well with your styling. Looks very modern. A nice winter ensemble for Townsville. This style of shirt always looks great with jeans. The cut looks really nice on you. Nice fabric choice too. (I don't you'll get much good conversation out of your new friend.)

  7. I much prefer your list too. Plus I totally agree on the white shirt - I never wear one, and actually don't know anyone who does!

  8. I love the shirt. A classic touch to the wardrobe. I just bought a "wild" liberty print and was thinking about making a shirt too!

  9. They need to make a whole different list for people who have small children. Yours is pretty great and makes me giggle. As for the shirt, I like it and hope you will get some wear out of it. I like to wear a buttoning shirt every once in awhile as long as I pair it with something feminine.

  10. I love the shirt - it's a great print and colorway. I really enjoy wearing buttoned shirts, especially if it fits well and the fabric is soft.

    To your list I would only add winter gear!

  11. I much prefer your list, as it suits my life much better as well. Thanks for writing down your thoughts on this!

  12. Oh, and I love love love the shirt too! I always have problems with the basic white shirt, but I love the print and it looks great on you. Really!

  13. Your shirt is lovely. I like a front button shirt because to me it always looks more "dressed up" than even the nicest t shirt, and is cooler to wear.
    Your list sounds much more realistic to me than wardrobe 101. I don't think any of those lists allow for living in a warm climate with minimal jacket requirements. I particularly appreciate your inclusion of a cardi/scarf that can be rolled up - even better if it can fit in your handbag!

  14. Love your blouse. Re the wardrobe essential, I'd add a trenchcoat and a long cardigan style coat. They hide all manner of wardrobe and body malfunctions. But you live in a warmer climate - there is nowhere to hide in Qld!

  15. I like your idea of writing your own wardrobe must-haves list. None of the books cover tropical stuff unless for a holiday. Nice, but Not much use for when you live, work and play in a hot climate. I think I will develop my own! Thanks for inspiring me :-)

    I love the blouse. Nice fabric! And it looks like it must be nice to wear, and looks good on you, I think.

  16. Lovely blouse. I cannot believe how much the buttons cost, OK I can be I feel the pain.

  17. Love your wardrobe essentials list and fully second you on the gym clothes - never understood the baggy boyfriend t-shirt and ugly shorts that look awful and must be uncomfortable to wear while trying to exercise.