There is no piece more valuable in a wardrobe than a great white shirt. I have several, inlcuding the great shirt from Banana Republic pictured above. I bought it to replace my beloved J Crew Victoria blouse which died from a close encounter with a ketchup/mustard/hot dog/10 year old boy. But back to white shirts. I love them. Short sleeved, long sleeved, french cuffed, ruffled front you name it. At one time my sister tried to stage an intervention to keep my from buying anymore. But really, how could you have to many? They work with everything from jeans to a suit at a moments notice and always look polished. I love jeans, a white shirt and cowboy boots as much as I love a white shirt under my perfect navy pinstriped suit. For spring I am tucking a crisp white short sleeved blouse into a slightly longer a-line skirt with a wide braided belt. That is, I will be doing so if it ever stops raining here in Northern California.
One of the most important things about a white shirt is it's pristineness. Chuck them when they yellow around the collar and under the arms. I am going to share my secret for keeping mine whiter than white. I learned this trick in a vain attempt to keep white baseball pants on 2 boys white for more than one wearing. Soak the shirts in a mix of oxy-clean and water at a 1 to 1 ratio over night ( really a couple of hours is fine. I just tend to forget and leave them over night. Then wash the shirts in the washer with other whites and throw some oxy-clean in the wash cycle too. Stubborn stains can be whipped out by making a thick paste of oxyclean and water, spreading it on the stain and putting in the sun for a few hours. The above also works great on white jeans. I don't dry clean or use bleach on my whites as I think it makes them yellowish and dingey.
As far as good shirts, I am partial to the Banana Republic no-iron sateen ones. I also like the J Crew Kelly shirt although I find it a bit tight in the arms. Brooks Brothers and Thomas Pink make great ones too. What do you think about white shirts? Any favorites? Any tricks for keeping them whiter than white?