The “white collar” man, originally coined by novelist and political activist Upton Sinclair, referred to the early 19th century salaried office laborer and their de facto uniform. Police officers wore navy. Blue Collar laborers wore chambray. And the businessman wore white shirts. Yet somehow this wardrobe staple seems to have fallen out of favor with the masses, often cited as boring and unoriginal almost as frequently as it’s associated with crime. So what is the case for white shirt today?
Simplicity is certainly one. Mixing pattern and color is uncomfortable territory for most men, and the white shirt is capable of removing this ailment. The most complicated decision one will face is matching a tie to the suit, easing sartorial stress.
On top of it’s simplicity, the white shirt is non-discriminate. Skin tone, hair color, size or shape, none seem to have any influence over a wearers pulchritudinous as one is always well-favored in a white shirt. It’s difficult to imagine a more accepting article of clothing.
It’s exactly this simplicity and undiscerning nature that ought to earn the white shirt a new reputation. This is precisely the reason why the white shirt is the exclusive choice for black tie affairs, underscoring it’s universal elegance. The case for the white shirt should be clear, and the only “white collar” crime should be not wearing one.