The white shirt is the foundation to any gentleman’s wardrobe. Versatile, timeless and effortlessly smart, they’re required for almost every conceivable life event — from business trips to weddings, funerals and graduation ceremonies. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the stylish staple, and explain why it is — and always will be — one of the most classic garments a man can own.

The History of the White Shirt

The influence of the white shirt can be traced back to the Victorian era. During this time, it was seen as an important symbol of wealth. It is said that the pure white colour of the cloth indicated a higher class. This was because only people of substantial success could afford to have their shirts washed frequently and own enough of them to wear.

Evolving from this was the term “white-collar worker”, which was coined by Upton Sinclair in the 1930s. Sinclair was an American writer who referenced the word in connection to clerical, administrative and managerial functions. White collar employees were considered highly educated, whereas as “blue collar” workers engaged in hard manual labor; typically manufacturing, construction, mining, or maintenance.

How to Wear a White Shirt

There are few pieces of clothing that we lean on more than the white shirt. Truly timeless, it looks just as good with your business suit as it does with your weekend chinos. Whether yours is a crisp formal shirt or a button-down Oxford, wearing a white shirt will give any outfit an instant lift. You can pair it with trousers and a blazer to the office, or with jeans and trainers while tackling your weekend to-do list. Whatever style you choose, make sure you know how a shirt should fit.

Best White Shirts 2021

From white dress shirts to linen and short sleeve styles, here are the best white shirts you can buy in 2021:

How to Wash a White Shirt

If you need tips on how to look after your white shirt, take a look at our guide to keeping your white shirt white. By following a few simple steps, you can keep your garment looking fresh for longer.

Shop our full collection of white shirts for men.