Modern Staples: The blue shirt

The emblem of trending quintessentials, namely the little black dress , shortened to dictionary approved  LBD has long since become established as pivotal in women’s wardrobes.
Preceding Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s modern definition of LBD, Madame Curie addressed the issue of a practical dress in a letter to her brother “I have no dress except the one I wear everyday. If you wish to gift me one, please, let it be practical and dark.” Curie’s  perception of women’s requirements for an everyday wardrobe urging the apparent need for practicality being evidently implied
As Madame Curie, Coco Chanel understood the imperative of adapting the women’s attire to the capricious social requirements caused by the economical depression and a shift of the political paradigms in the aftermath of WW I. The constraint imposed on the western world led accordingly to a shortage of commodities which by necessity set clear demands on type and amount of fabric to be used in garments.


The fawning history ‘blue collar’ is a known affair, but in the same manner as the LBD, the blue shirt has risen past the stifling historical formalities to become a modern staple without hierarchical tension.

Due to the strong foothold of the second wave feminism and subsequent increase of a vast variety of roles to fill during male absence in the second war, women were demanding serious recognition and inclusion in the political and structural society. By demanding both political and moral(/ethical) equality, the frills and thrills of ornate dressing implying a woman’s solely decorative purpose were losing ground. (thus defying objectification).
Gone were the fluted skirts and the lavish frills; the way to pragmatic clothing was being paved.

A seemingly blandest of options – the black dress –black colour still being habitually reserved for mourning attire at the time- triumphantly rose to prominence in 1928 by appearing Vogue, worn by Ms. Chanel herself. The effortless elegance of the black dress disputed the need for customary distinction between day and evening attire, making the LBD a prudent choice, and in times of material scantiness a wisely economical one. Leading the way as the key garment, and underlining the feminist struggle, one can arguably ask if LBD “marked the history” rather than “made history”?

 

100 years ahead and the politics of the domestics and gender have changed with the flow of time. Women, now more prominent in the professional and academic life, have adapted to the traditional dress codes of formal dressing. Was it by the political necessity and assimilation to mens clothing, or was it out of comfort and pragmatism is secondary, the facts still stand –  a simple shirt and trousers became and still are irreplaceable.
But Oh, the quandary over the question of the perfect shirt. Volumes have been written upon the matter of the perfect shirt; crisp yet not too strict, comfortable albeit not too loose, cotton or silk – the perfect shirt is amongst the most difficult items to get right. White, even more so, as the intention to provide the wearer a meticulous look often falls short to becoming a costumey affair. Rescue? Blue, baby, blue! With shades ranging from tender hues to tranquil depths the blue shirt has at its own right developed a cult following. The blue and white stripes (no, not the band) attentively arranged give the optical illusion of painstakingly crisp appearance, chambray offers neutrality of the plain surface and soft comfort to the wearer.