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Apart from the Palmer//Harding shirts, I wasn’t sure about Modern Rarity (John Lewis’ collection of luxury basics), at first. The name was a bit of a mouthful, the colour palette a bit beige, the overall effect a bit underwhelming. But for spring/summer this premium collection feels stronger – more navy blue and more shirty-ness from Palmer//Harding helps.

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There’s a lovely navy shirtdress HERE but I’m holding out for the summer maxi below; best worn with brogues.


More from Modern Rarity HERE.

22 thoughts on “Statement Shirts worth splashing out on

  1. These are lovely! I quite like the Modern Rarity range overall; it feels like what I wish COS could be.
    I like a Statement *anything*.., shirt, dress, bag, necklace, shoes; anything with a unique shape or good detail always grabs me.

  2. I definitely like Modern Rarity, always have although the name is a bit of a mystery…Anyway, give me a gorgeous shirt any day & if it’s a shirt dress, even better!
    Good luck on the March tomorrow Alyson. I wish I could be there but unfortunately it isn’t possible this time.

  3. My problem with shirts is that they are a concept designed for people without breasts (i.e. men), for whom they are an excellent, versatile, comfortable and practical item of clothing. As an E cup, I have never found a cotton shirt that fits nicely and/or doesn’t pull and gap over the critical area. Silk, with its softer drape, works better, and even then I take Alison’s excellent advice with silk shirts to always go a size up.

  4. I love shirts, Gro in The Legacy and Robin Wright in House of Cards wear them brilliantly. I don’t unfortunately as I’m a 34g so I gape and pull-not a good look. So I’m consigned to silk rather than cotton and never tuck in as this emphasises the bits I don’t really want emphasising!! I always aim for that skim but that doesn’t mean that shirt envy doesn’t creep in once in a while!!!!

  5. Shirts are like jeans – designed for men. The thinner you are, the better they look. As a short woman with an emphasis on hips and chest, both of these have been problematic over the years. I want a simple, classic shirt THAT IS NOT FITTED. Damn! Can’t designers understand that if you are looking for a classic white shirt, you probably aren’t interested in having it tight to show off your round bits? That’s what blouses are for. And while I love these shirts, they would drive most people mad with all the tying ups. Glad I got that off my chest. Also: why won’t they put inside breast pockets on women’s jackets? I think this rage must be the Trump effect today.

  6. I wasn’t thrilled overall with the Modern Rarity range but I did buy the coatigan in a gorgeous pale grey-blue. It’s comfortable and ‘luxe’ looking and has earned many compliments.

  7. Well, you’re right–these really make a statement.
    But I do think it’d be super helpful to see them on different models. At least for me, it’s easier to imagine them on someone my age AND with a little more weight on their bones!!
    My mom (the 70’s model on my blog) definitely loves a great white shirt (I think she has at least 10 in her closet), and so she’d probably be the first of us to try one of these!!

  8. I like some of the styled shots combining several items but I found the Modern Rarity section of the website very hard to shop. I liked the last shot enough to trawl through most of it but couldn’t find the last shirt dress that you posted at all. And the name is awful.

  9. I love a crisp shirt as much as the next woman. Maybe more. But I hate it when they get un-crisp. And I can’t imagine how that major shirt-tail in the first shot would look once I’ve sat on it. That’s a lot of tail to crumple and wrinkle! Love the long pale blue shirt dress, though. My best white shirt to date has come from Massimo Dutti. It stays lovely and crisp even after I’ve hauled my jacket over it and sat in the car to get where I’m going.

  10. I have to admit that I’ve never quite “got” the crisp white shirt thing – too many reminders of school uniform I think! And lord, the ironing ….. life’s too short isn’t it?

  11. I so agree with Sue Burpee. One ‘sit’ in that really long shirt-tail and you could have a rat’s-tail in no time.
    Can I say that I like the brand name Modern Rarity? My interpretation is that, quite simply, the name is meant to represent an up to date product, well made: No more, no less. As someone who once used to write advertising/PR material, I think it’s spot on. I just hope I’ve ‘read’ it right!

  12. I really like the range a lot. I’m not too keen on the prices though, over £100 for a cotton shirt is a bit rich for my blood.

  13. I love that shirt dress. Just right length, and buttons to expose as much leg as wanted. It does look great with those cream oxfords. I really dislike the first shirt with the extremely long tail. Too much material for my skinny, not so well endowed body..

  14. My two problems with the ‘crisp, white shirt’ are that they never seem to flatter my sallow complexion and secondly, they feel so COLD against your skin unless there is a heatwave. I love the concept so please could anyone advise me on these two predicaments!
    I would love to do that smart jeans, white shirt, bright lipstick thing that other people seem to pull off so well.

  15. I just ordered a new white shirt from Talbots, after observing that my white shirts (which I seldom wear) were looking a bit tired. The Talbots one, which I’d tried on previously, is their non-wrinkle cotton, and has vertical darts which actually hit at the right point! AND it doesn’t gap at the bust, which Talbots shirts often do on me. Thinking I will actually wear this one!

  16. That long shirt dress looks stylish but a tiny bit see-through for anything but the beach. Also not convinced how flattering those waist ties would be — anyone tried that style on?

  17. love the blog, thank you Alyson, lots of inspiration, even if sometimes it’s of the ‘not for me’ sort. Totally empathize with the big bust and the crisp white shirt dilemma, being a 34DD (reliably informed by a John Lewis bra-fitter). Have found a white jersey shirt by Efixelle via the Peter Hahn website that the curvier among us might try. Doesn’t have the chic twists that these models have, but does look good under a long sleeveless waistcoat.

  18. I like the big unusual shirts I have seen in magazines with flared or frilled lower sleeves, wraps etc. Hope I can pick one up at Zara or Cos without spending too much. I do have cotton blouses which I buy from Cos in interesting prints. Very useful. As I have a larger bosom than when younger not best suited to men’s type shirting I buy in a size which isn’t too tight over chest, then have back taken in a bit so it hangs well. I also sew clear snaps on to all shirts, cotton or silk over chest so there is no gaping. Easy and cheap fix for this problem.

  19. Love the long blue shirt-dress. It’s got the right combo of substance and style for me.
    I also love white shirts — but not these particular ones, which have a bit much “sail” in them for my needs.
    Still like looking at all of them. Am really enjoying your blog, which introduces me to pieces / concepts I don’t see around me every day. Thanks so much for that.

  20. I’ve just seen a good selection of shirts and tunic length shirts on the Uniqlo website, in the Ines de la Fressange range. Available in a months time. Very good value and attractive.

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