Grown-up style staple: The Lovely Blue Shirt
Yes, the Lovely Blue Shirt (LBS) is back ON. After a week in London when temperatures reached 36 degrees and stayed there, when my loose-fitting holiday clothes and kaftans wilted as much as the flowers on the balcony, putting on clothes with more structure feels like a treat. Last week I was lying on the living room floor in my underwear with a panic-purchased desk fan aimed at my head, this week I’m upright and feeling a lot more pulled-together. Sometimes all you need is a loose cotton shirt, a pair of old jeans and a 15 degree drop in temperature….
The Lovely Blue Shirt is the way to embrace ‘Grace Kelly on the Riviera’ glamour, even when you’re not venturing further than the south coast. Which is about as far as I’m going until Preston is unlocked. Chic as you like over jeans or Capri pants, the LBS is ideal when Working From Home or going for garden drinks (don’t forget your cardigan). Now the holiday clothes are back in their box, the oh-so reliable shirt is the ultimate faff-free solution. A grown-up style staple that does the job, allowing the wearer to get dressed and get on with today’s to-do list. No bother.
My advice is to keep things relaxed. Choose a slightly oversized, borrowed-from-the-boys style, in cool cotton or linen. Only natural fabrics will do. The blue shirt I’m wearing is about a decade old from MHL (Margaret Howell) menswear department – and there are similar styles at Boden and Arket. For a lovely blue splurge head to specialist shirtmaker Emma Willis, the designer’s beautifully cut versions are made in England. But the basics don’t have to cost a bomb. I’ve bought several cotton shirts over the last few years from Arket (£65 or reduced in the sale) and they wash and wear well. If you’re tired of dressing in holiday clothes and looking for an end-of-summer wardrobe pick-me-up, cast your eyes over Massimo Dutti’s sale rail. With Nothing Underneath has perfected the boyfriend shirt, Uniqlo is another good, reasonably-priced option and for sustainable style try Everlane.
Pair your LBS with everything. Gentlewomen prefer faded jeans, cargo pants and peg trousers; while a denim skirt or patterned maxi brings a spot of Casual Glamour. Thankfully it’s now cool enough to add a neckerchief and statement earrings without wanting to stick your head under the cold tap.
Even more lovely blue shirts here:
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