A Light-Colored Shirt

A few hardworking essentials are the stars of our wardrobes, so I will share some of my favorite classics in the next few posts. In this first example, let’s study the white shirt. A light-colored plain top will make getting dressed easier. So, even if you love flashy colors and prints, you will still need classic solid basics to wear with your statement items. Maybe your ideal light-colored shirt doesn’t have buttons or isn’t white, but you likely need a simple light-colored top with a neckline that flatters your face shape.

Who – Anyone who enjoys looking put together.
What – Light-Colored Top
Where – Any Event
When – The Outfit Needs Grounding
Why – To look more polished and put together.

A navy sweater and a pair of blue jeans can be dull, but your look becomes much more stylish when you add a light-colored top and drape the sweater over your shoulders. I wore this look to take my parents to do their weekly shopping today.

Similar shirts are here, here, and here. JeansNo-Show Socks and similar SneakersToteEarringsWatchSunglasses.

If I were having lunch with a friend later in the day, I could change the jewelry, shoes, and bag to take the basic white blouse and dark wash jeans in a different direction.

The shoes are very soft and comfortable. I found them here, and the textured satchel with black is already sold out, but other colors are here.

If I were going out to dinner, I could pull on these fabulous new black wide-leg pants here and add a necklace to make the blouse more formal. The pants are so great that I bought the ecru ones also. The wide waistband is smooth, and there are no pockets or loops. The waist and hip area are fitted, so the flare starts after the hip. Similar EarringsBag ShoesWatch. The necklace elevates every look! It is here. (Use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

There is one more new product I’m thrilled to share with you. It’s the new Smoothing Facial Mask and tool from Beautycounter here. I needed some extra help with my flaking, dry winter skin, and this did the trick.

My randomly shared posts are never paid advertisements, and I do not accept gifts. However, I often share shoppable links for similar items since my things are rarely new. Those links may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

  1. I always have trouble with shirts as with my short waist, they don’t suit me when tucked in and look messy when worn out. However, the style you have chosen – semi fitted and hip length, looks great so will be looking out for a similar style here in Melbourne. That said, I do find that often the most simple basics are the hardest to find!
    The black trousers are superb; so flattering and no doubt destined to be a very hard-working star in your wardrobe.
    Lovely article, thanks Susan.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful example of options for this one outfit combination!! Enjoy your posts so much

  3. Susan, I love your straw purse. I’m looking for a nice straw purse for summer. I’m hoping they will get the black color back in stock soon.

  4. I loved the article and the ideas on how to wear a white shirt. I loved the way you rolled or pushed up your sleeves. Can you tell us how you achieved that look? Many thanks for all of your wonderful ideas. You always look so elegant.

  5. Is that your new background? You said you were going to get something to help with the lighting. I understand the point, but it doesn’t let us get a sneaky peek at your home!

  6. Like your new background. You are correct…it really shows off the outfit! And, I am going to I’ve away all my white button up blouses! You look so good in them, and I never do! I must have a dozen and none really ever work. I will keep my blouses/tees with a few buttons down the front. Thanks, as always, for your blog. And I will keep my Navy blouses or those with a little knit on the sides. I have broad shoulders and a bust. Blouses that fit those areas flop around the rest of my body. But I still love the white blouse look!

  7. Buongiorno Susan
    In Italia si dice….la classe non è acqua….e decisamente la camicia bianca per me è il top della classicità, perfetta in ogni occasione..

  8. Thank you so much for these great ideas. I just ordered the Foxcroft white shirt, and I was able to get the tote in black like shown in your photo!

  9. Another great and useful post. I do value your suggestions and recommendations. I feel you truly believe in the products and styles you recommend not just because they were sent to you to promote.
    I do have a question about hair. My hair is the same color as yours and I love your style. Would you share what products you use? I know you did one on your cut but not sure about the products. Thanks

    1. I use the hair care products here. I shampoo about twice a week and condition about three times a month. I use this shampoo a couple of times a month to keep the brassy tones away. When my hair has flyaways or frizz, I spray my hands and scrunch a bit of this spray.

  10. I love the three pictures side by side showing what you just explained above. This blog is a real winner for me and one I will add to my picture album.
    All these “little” tips and “how to” use accent pieces are big rewards for me in style and great advice to keeping our wardrobes clean, chic and classic for long time wearing.
    Thank you for keeping us up to date on fashions, being circumspect with make-up as well as how to wear our clothes properly for a mature lady!.
    Clara from Iowa

  11. I love this post showing 3 different looks. It is so helpful & now I know what to wear to lunch today!! Thank you dear Susan.

  12. Love look two, it looks so stylish. Not a fan of wide leg pants. Love your post and how you put everything together for multiple uses. I have so much trouble finding tops in my size, no problem with bottoms. Thanks you Susan.

  13. I had planned to wear a patterned shirt today with dark jeans to go on a picnic with my husband and dog. May just have to change it to white and hang the washing!
    Elegance as ever.
    Thank you, Susan.

  14. You should mention if you’re 5’3″ like me wide leg pants are a terrible look for short women!!!

    1. I am 5’6″ and can wear the fuller leg pants only if they have a smooth fitted waist and hip area. I also have to wear platform shoes for the right proportion. I’m glad you know what works for you. That’s so important in getting the best results from your combinations.

    1. If you wear a tucked-in or short-fitted top and a bit of heel, the wider leg pants can work on most shapes. The key is to choose the style with a fitted, smooth waist and hips. I always avoid garments with pleats, gathers, or excess fabric around the waist.

  15. GREAT looks especiallly the middle photo (those shoes!!!) A classic white button down shirt is so versatile.

  16. A belated thank you for introducing the book to me, The Walk by Richard Paul Evans. What a great read, just finished Miles to Go and I’m waiting on the third book in this series to arrive in the mail this week. We are experiencing some cold rainy spring days in Kansas. But I’m actually enjoying a lovely walk in the Northwest. Your the best…..

  17. Love these looks! So crisp and cleanly! My favorite combos are black/navy with white. Your examples inspire me. Thanks!

  18. Can you please tell me how you styled the sleeves on the shirt you are wearing? I often struggle with this. Rolling them up doesn’t look great, but wearing them buttoned up at the wrist doesn’t suit me either. What do you like to do? Thank you.

    1. The shirt I am wearing has some stiffness or body to the fabric, so I just turned up the cuffs once for a bit of drama. When I wear a softer shirt, I fold up the sleeves to end below the elbow and then fold once over that, letting the cuff stick out a little at the top.

    1. Drape the sweater, front side facing down across your back, pull the arms over the front, and loop them over once. If I am walking or hiking and become too warm, I sometimes tie my jacket around my waist.

  19. Hi Susan! This is another great post on how to dress! The shoes and handbag are perfect! Love the wide leg pants on you. I’ve been admiring the Three Graces pendant from Beauty in Stone for quite awhile. It’s so versatile and timeless plus it really stands out against the white blouse. It’s definitely on my must have list. Please keep all your suggestions and links coming. I enjoy all your posts and frequently go back to previous ones for inspiration. Thank you so much!! Happy Easter to both you & Mr. Mickey!

  20. Susan: Thank you for the white shirt ideas. Terrific!

    Retired, I travel—globally—always looking for two (or more) basic white tops. Being rather busty and not liking my upper arms, I would like white pullover shirts that are (a) not see-through but breathe in the heat (b) cover my upper arms (toward the elbow) and (c) are washable (at least to touch-up spots, if needed). With hotel staff at lowest levels, sending clothes for overnight care isn’t reliable.

    Sometimes, there are culture issues. In the middle east, shoulders and arms should be covered. For there, I would like a white summer-weight long-sleeve pullover. Travel to Israel, along the coast, I would like an elbow length white pullover. (The pullover style helps to avoid blouse gaps or missing button issues.) Could you please expand on the light-shirt theme and recommend some white pullover shirts?

    That said, a white cotton sweater would work—crochet or knit type. I have an Eileen Fisher not quite yellow/not quite green long sleeve cotton knit that not only travels beautifully and allows air to pass through, but also looks good. If I could find something like that in white, I’d buy several just to have back-ups.

    Any help is appreciated! Thank you for your wonderful posts.

    With the world opening again, next trips are Canada (Banff/Vancouver), South America (from Rio to Santiago), Japan …

  21. One shirt, three very different looks – just the kind of post I like. You are a whiz Susan!
    P.S. Loving the new screen ….

  22. Perfect pairing, accessorizing, fashion. Love all the outfits you wear. Classy and charming. New backdrop is excellent. Happy Easter to you and Mr. Mickey.

  23. A flight attendant once told me that she can get into any restaurant in the world with a white top, black pants, and pearls. Add accessories to be more elegant.

  24. My absolute favorite go-to outfit for just about anywhere. Somehow such a simple outfit is the classiest.

  25. I love love a crisp white shirt. My hair is white so when I wear a white shirt as per one of uour previous posts I always add a scarf for color. I definitely wait for all your posts now and thank you for taking the time to do what you do!!

  26. I can’t find a nice white t-shirt. It would be nice to have a long sleeve v-neck also. Your recommendations would be appreciated. I love those shoes above!

  27. Dearest Susan,
    Your ideas to dress up an otherwise “normal” outfit never cease to amaze me!!!
    I have learned soooooo much from you!!! And am still learning!!!
    TKS to you….. I draped a darker sweater over my lighter top, dark pants, well fitted, AND my sweetheart said he thought that looked really classy!!!!!! WOW!!!! U just never know!!!!!
    I really like this one white shirt, the one with, I believe it is called, “French darts” in the front and back. I am a bit busty and now have that 80 yr old spare tire, so wear the Shapeez long line bra often….many tks for that site, too…..have to wear a larger size, though because of this roll…. wish that style were more available. Am hoping to order one from your suggestion.

    Wishing you a most happy spring!!!
    We LOVE you here in Texas!

  28. I’m out of town with my gentleman friend. It’s my first trip with a man since I’ve been a widower. I was hesitant about packing and not bringing my entire wardrobe. I wanted you to know I followed a few of your suggestions and I thank you!

    I would say, I’m the black woman version of you. The only thing I can’t get into is purses. That I’m working on…

  29. I enjoy your blog so much and it keeps me on track. I need that at my age. If I stay at home or meet friends for lunch.

  30. I enjoy your blog so much. I need to read it often in the morning’s so I’m encouraged to get up get dressed even if I’m going to be at home all day or meeting friends for lunch.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.