It might be a response to the climate crisis, but one of the more interesting phenomenons on the catwalks this season was the rise of the ‘anti-trend trend’.
Usually, every new season is full of weird and wonderful styles for us to copy – but spring/summer 2020 largely opted for a more pared-back approach, with classic trends that can be worn forever. Basically, the opposite of fast fashion.
The fashion world has become increasingly focused on producing looks that will last years, rather than fleeting styles – which is good news for your wallet and the environment. And this season, the anti-trend trend we’re all going to be obsessed with is a crisp shirt.
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For the #DiorSS20 collection, @MariaGraziaChiuri was inspired by photographs of Christian Dior's sister Catherine – a woman of unique character, an unrivaled gardener and the couturier's eternal muse – surrounded by flowers. Nature and biodiversity are among the central themes, which Dior's women Creative Director visited in floral motifs, embroideries and shine textured with raffia. Discover the show's opening look on Ruth Bell – a raw, delicate, couture spin on gardening attire based on apron-style dungarees – as well as a selection of key silhouettes from the collection, a celebration of nature and the preservation of beauty.
This is the kind of garment that can be styled however you want: with jeans for a relaxed look, or underneath a suit for more formal events or looking professional. The traditional shirt might have started life as part of male business attire, but when tailored and styled well it’s now the pinnacle of female sartorial power.
Shirts aren’t just about ‘masculine’ dressing either. See-through versions can flash lacy underwear underneath, and precisely tailored cuts give you a more feminine silhouette.
The spring/summer catwalks were full of high fashion interpretations of the classic shirt. Dior styled its blue version simply, layering it under dresses and patterned suits. Etro went for a more pyjama-inspired look, with light pinstripes in different shades of blue, collars left nonchalantly askew. The Row went about as pared back as you can imagine, with a crisp white shirt the star of the show, draped over a long white skirt.
It all goes to show how versatile the humble shirt can be – you could even use the same base shirt with multiple outfits and looks.
How to rock a shirt right now? Stay away from too much detailing – instead, this is about a basic cut and colour, meaning it will become the most versatile thing in your wardrobe.
To be really classic, stick to blues and whites – and if you must go for a bit of pattern, be inspired by Etro with some subtle pinstripes. If you want to be experimental, maybe play around with hems and try something asymmetric – but remember, you want this shirt to always be in fashion so avoid anything that’s going to date fast.
For even more inspiration, look no further than the Duchess of Sussex. Meghan might now have stepped away from royal duties, but she undoubtedly helped bring this trend back into the mainstream. Tucked into skirts or worn with tailored trousers, she made a plain shirt the ultimate power move, sticking to clean silhouettes and crisp white.
If you want your shirt to last forever, you’ll need to be conscious of how you wash and care for it too. When it comes to keeping a shirt looking fresh, Will Lankston, operations director at dry cleaners Jeeves of Belgravia, suggests undoing all of the buttons when you take it off. “This will lessen the strain on the stitches holding the buttons on,” he explains.
He also advises you wash shirts inside out, “as it protects delicate buttons and ensures that the underarms of the shirt are thoroughly cleaned – helping it keep its crisp and clean look longer”. A good quality fabric conditioner will help make your shirt easier to iron and softer around the collar when you wear it – which is particularly key if you want the ‘just thrown on’ look we saw at Etro.
“Lastly, avoid tumble-drying shirts, as they can often be damaged by the mechanical action. Line-dry your shirts for best results,” says Lankston.
V by Very Cotton Tiered Blouse in White, Very
Hobbs Silk Eva Shirt in Pale Blue, (available early May)
Primark Volume Sleeve Poplin Shirt, Belted Midi Skirt
Miss Selfridge Ivory Poplin Tie Front Shirt; MOM High Waist Tapered Leg Blue Frill Top Jeans
Zara Asymmetric Poplin Shirt
New Look Oversized Poplin Shirt in White
M&Co Poplin Shirt; Slim Boyfriend Jeans
Cotton Traders White Cotton Shirt (available late April)
F&F Blue Ticking Stripe Linen Shirt Next