Necessity can be sometimes pleasing and other times an annoyance. But excess can be a beautiful thing. There are certain things a man needs in his wardrobe. Of those certain things, there are some that he cannot have to many of; such as solid white shirts.
I believe that at last count I have 18. It is guaranteed that that number will only increase with time.
‘Why on earth do you need so many white shirts Justin?’ I have been asked on more than one occasion. At the heart of the matter are two things. First, a white shirt is the most flexible canvas from which to build an ensemble on. It is nearly foolproof. You can take the most aggressively patterned suits, ties, suspenders, pocket squares or other item and tone it down with a white shirt. The white shirt will act as an anchor point; a bit of calm in an otherwise turbulent sea. Or you can pair a white shirt with the most restrained of things and it will function exceptionally well. With one ensemble they can be formal, yet with another ooze casualness. I cannot say the same about many (if any) other articles of clothing.
For those of you who abhor wearing collared shirts, a plain white crew neck or v neck could be all you need. Just make sure it doesn’t look like an undershirt.
Second, I am a vocal fan of excess. Historically speaking, moderation has not been one of my strong points. But if I don’t have to, why should I? Not to mention that having a plethora of white shirts, all of a slightly different style, allows me to vary my appearance. To keep things fresh to me, to not get bored with the same old shirt over and over again. After all, I dress for me, not for you. The devil is in the details; the difference between a spread collar versus a cut away collar. An oxford versus a poplin. French cuffs versus barrel cuffs. Not to mention, there are 50 shades of white. Yes, I am saying that not all whites are the same. What, blasphemy you say? No. Some whites have hints of blue, yellow or other color. All of these variables lead to thousands of possible combinations, if not more. Who am I to deny trying all of them. And I am sure there are some men who only wear white shirts. Dare I remind you that Don Draper used to keep a new white dress shirt in his desk, you know, just in case.
But perhaps of most importance, white shirts look good on most men. They look bad on nearly none.