A versatile wardrobe is a great way to be prepared for any occasion, and a good-quality smart shirt can be the centrepiece of all kinds of different outfits.
Here are four completely different looks you can achieve with the same long-sleeved collared shirt you might normally only think of wearing to the office.
1. Suited and booted
First of all, there are very few situations where the classic ‘suited and booted’ look won’t work – at most you’ll just look a little smarter than other people, which is no bad thing.
Choose a suit that’s appropriate for the season, for example linen in the summer, or heavier wool knits in winter, and a good pair of shoes or ankle boots.
If you’re likely to be outside in heavy weather, a full-length overcoat is a wise investment too, not only to complete the look outdoors, but also to protect against the elements.
2. Waistcoat wearers
The first time you wear a waistcoat over a white shirt, you might feel like you should be serving tables, but the look is both presentable and comfortable, and these two qualities are precisely why the combination has become so popular in hospitality settings and others.
You can take the edge off by choosing a patterned or more brightly coloured waistcoat – which can harmonise with a coloured shirt, rather than contrasting with it – or by rolling up your sleeves.
A waistcoat gives some of the visual effect of wearing a jacket, without the excess warmth on hot days. Alternatively, for a super-smart appearance, wear a waistcoat with a matching jacket over the top.
3. Nights in knitwear
A sharp shirt collar peeping out of the top of a V-neck sweater or following the neckline of a cardigan gives a preppy edge to a deceptively comfortable outfit.
Knitwear is soft, tactile and warm, and lightweight knits can still be suitable even in the warmer summer months.
Best of all, it’s a thicker outer layer that complements rather than just covering up your shirt – making this a versatile option whether you’re dressing from scratch or heading straight out for the night from the office.
4. Smart casual
There are plenty of ways a smart shirt can work in a fairly casual outfit – take off your tie, undo your top button, roll up your sleeves, and you’re ready to go.
You can add an outer layer with a casual jacket, or set a more distinctive individual style with denim or leather over a crisp white shirt.
If white seems too formal still, choose a pale blue or pink shirt and you’ll have an even more casual base layer for your ensemble.
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