4 brands putting a fresh spin on the classic white shirt

4 brands putting a fresh spin on the classic white shirt

Nothing basic

Text: Raia Gomez

The traditional dress shirt is updated for the modern woman

Whoever said that wearing white after Labour Day is a big no-no clearly didn't have these tops in mind — the modern white collars that will work for any occasion. Forget your common notions for the white button down, the old-fashioned dress shirt or the traditional poplin top. The classics have been given a twist — still crisp, still tailored, still made with the finest materials and craftsmanship but designed with personalised details, contemporary silhouettes and feminine style lines that are a perfect fit for today's woman. These are the new dress shirts you'll be excited to dress in.

Meet the label: Inundated with choices, Dresshirt by Marieclaire St. John is introducing an ease and effortlessness to women's fashion with a tightly edited, a-seasonal collection. Designed as a compass for style and a canvas for creativity, wardrobe staples are far from basic with the brand's customisable collections that provide women with the freedom to personalise, style and create their own daily looks.

Who: Marieclaire St. John, whose father, a former Savile Row tailor, greatly influenced her own style aesthetic.

What: Tailored sportswear that begins with Dressshirt's classic dress shirt reimagined with removable collars and interchangeable cuffs. All of the brand's styles, including vests, jackets, hats and chokers, can be monogrammed and endlessly personalised with embroidery.

How: Produced in New York City's garment district using luxury fabrics and in partnership with leading embroidery machine manufacturer Tajima. Marieclaire eschewed convention by launching product categories, one by one, instead of seasonal collections, with the aim of building a woman's wardrobe that one can easily integrate, creatively express and wear for years to come.

Meet the label: Far from the plain and usual poplin shirts that we've been familiar with since time immemorial, the Maud Heline collection presents a welcome update on the classic. Traditional shirting and the poplin fabric are given new life with uncommon collars, cutout details, origami-inspired silhouettes and contemporary styles, including dress shirts that are actual dresses. Feminine aesthetics combined with the designer's own love for clean, simple lines make for sharp and striking styles.

Who: French designer Maud Heline

What: Traditional poplin shirts are made fresh and contemporary with modern shapes, fine details and feminine touches. As a tribute to her home country, Maud's latest collection features blue, white and red tricolor trim.

How: Only the finest materials meet Maud's high quality standards. Poplin from Italy's famous Albini mill and trims from Switzerland are manufactured into Maud's finely detailed designs under her own watchful eye in New York City.

Meet the label: For Atlantique Ascoli, her own desire to wear something she couldn't find in stores led her to design it herself and begin her eponymous collection. The designer's 'overblouses' are impeccably tailored, precisely constructed, crisp white blouses. True to Parisian style, the collection's effortlessly chic pieces conceal the painstaking details, exacting fit and design considerations that go into each blouse.

Who: Former musician Atlantique Ascoli, daughter of creative avant-garde couple, designers Emmanuelle Khanh and Quasar Khanh

What: Collections of 'overblouses', striking in their pseudo-simplicity, designed around the idea of a blouse per day, that make it easy and uncomplicated for a woman to dress stylishly each morning and transition into the night. Crisp lines and fine tailoring together with ladylike, Victorian-inspired ruffles, ruching and gathers seamlessly combined, creating luxe, modern blouses that play on shape, volume and length.

How: The fabric, made in Italy, is a perfect combination of cotton and linen, specifically dried to give the material the desired structure and malleability.

Meet the label: Known to the fashion press and buyers as 'the shirt boys', there's no doubt what palmer//harding designers Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding specialise in. Driven by the realisation that traditional rules and specifications for shirtmaking have been largely neglected in women's fashion, the designers have been building a luxury brand with the classic dress shirt as its cornerstone but with dress shirts that are anything but classic.

Who: American Levi Palmer and English Matthew Harding met while studying in London's Central Saint Martins.

What: Turning the classic concept for the dress shirt on its head, Palmer and Harding aren't just re-imagining its design, they're revolutionising it. In just a handful of years, the brand has become known for innovative construction and refined tailoring. Through their experimentations with proportion, structure, volume, asymmetry and embellishments, palmer//harding tops are the perfect fusion of wardrobe essential and fashion statement —fabulously dramatic yet completely wearable.

How: It's no easy feat to warrant the description as arguably the world's most perfect shirt makers but Palmer and Harding have done just that. With their combined expertise and degrees in pattern-cutting, womenswear and menswear, each of their London-made collections exhibit the self-described quiet beauty of their shirts that have earned the brand multiple awards, including the British Fashion Council's NewGen.