Shirt Tales

From left: Emmanuelle Alt, Tilda Swinton and Caroline Issa tell shirt tales.

There’s a micro-trend afoot and what I love about a good micro-trend is it usually morphs into a monster trend. This one is skulking under the radar since it’s really a case of the plain Jane being cast as the star. The ubiquitous cotton shirt is having a leading lady moment . Yes, yes, Vogue Paris’ Emmanuelle Alt has been thrilling audiences everywhere with her cotton shirt know-how for a while…they add to her serious off-duty rocker persona. Let us also pay homage to Tilda Swinton and her equally fab portrayal of “girl in a cotton shirt”. Now it’s your turn to read for the role. 

Seen last week at NYFW A/W2012 (from left): An untucked streetstyler, Joanna Hillman
of Harper’s Bazaar does a polka dot half tuck, and J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons perfectly executes
the quarter tuck.

Don’t play it safe and do white, instead opt for a pastel shade: mint, sky or blush. They will really satisfy when paired with a boat neck sweater right now until it gets warmer. Bolder candidates might try polka dots or deeper shades. Next, determine your buttoning strategy. Emmanuelle veers casual and leaves a few undone at the top; nice effect when coupled with rolled sleeves. What’s really of-the-moment is to button up right to the tippy top and play the boys’club card, like Caroline Issa. Don’t worry about coming off as too severe because those girlish earrings you’re going to wear with your shirt will soften things up. Then comes the tuck. I am a fan of the half tuck…front in, back out, but back in front out also works. I have seen another version of the half tuck executed very well where back is fully tucked and half the front is tucked (left or right side – your choice), which would actually make it a quarter tuck to be exact. Keep in mind any version of untuckedness only works with pencil thin pants. Anything else on the bottom requires full tucking, or you’ll just come off as unkempt. Finally, if not voluminous and heavier on the fabrication, your cotton shirt can be made of silk and (believe it or not) still play the part.Go figure.

Ready for their closeups, all from Equipment: Mint at, Polka Dot Earl and Blue Ombre at

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