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The white shirt is the key item of every men's wardrobe, that hinge around which innumerable outfits revolve. From elegant evening looks to more casual and relaxed looks for the day, a beautiful white shirt will save you on any occasion. But on one condition: that it is chosen well. It seems easy but it is not at all: finding the perfect white shirt is a difficult task. The reason? Being the number one garment in the wardrobe, there are so many details and details that absolutely cannot be overlooked, especially if you want to be flawless. To help you find the white shirt that best suits your style , here is a simple vademecum that will accompany you hand by hand and make you totally independent. Without the need to ask for advice from shop assistants, mom, girlfriend or, even worse, mother-in-law.

The fabric

Let's start from the basics, that is, from matter. The fabric is the fiber that innervates the shirt, literally. There are four types. The cotton poplin is the classic shirt fabric, one of the most popular with men. The texture is smooth and smooth to the touch thanks to the shorter warp threads of the weft. This fabric is perfect for making shirts for any season, for both summer and winter. If you don't want to go wrong, cotton poplin is the one for you: zero fashion slips, elegance and freshness always. The cotton twill is a more shaped fabric, immediately recognizable by the diagonal trend of the lines (like that of denim ). Compact and difficult to crease, it is the perfect choice for winter shirts or for those who fear various creases. Oxford cotton is a fabric that is used in the more formal models. Its texture is slightly grainy and imperceptibly checked. The texture is soft and resistant and, as the name suggests, is the typical fabric of English gentlemen. If you want a British touch from five o'clock tea blended in a royal way, Oxford cotton will be your passe-partout. Finally, there is the cotton for the tuxedo , the variant for gala evenings, red carpets and everything sumptuous that is celebrated from sunset onwards. The tuxedo shirt is rigorously white and features a front embellished by pleating. The icing on the shirt for the tuxedo? The bow tie .

The length

As regards the length , there is a fundamental rule: the shirt to wear under a dress must be longer at the back, there are no exceptions. The reason? To avoid the risk of coming out of the pants during the movements. The actual length depends a lot on the model: a classic shirt to be worn inside the pants should not go down more than 10-15 centimeters under the lower back. In addition, the hem must be curved and, when the arms are raised, the shirt must absolutely not come off the pants . For the more casual models that can be left out of the pants, however, the shirt should not exceed the top of the zip of the pants. In these cases the bottom should not be rounded, but more squared off.

The width

The width that adapts to the silhouette is what makes the fit optimal, so as a parameter it should never be neglected. Fitted shirts are suitable for men with an athletic build: muscular, toned and lean. For all the others it is better to opt for a classic shirt, characterized by the traditional straight cut. The perfect shirt, the right size first, should fall on the hips without creating creases. If you choose it too wide, the surplus fabric will fall on the belt, with a little graceful effect and certainly zero slimming.The shaped model will instead give you an improved line thanks to the greater conformation. The tight cut that follows the body shape will help to highlight the physicality. But be careful not to choose it too stretch because, if buttoning it you create wrinkles around the buttonholes, goodbye slim fit.

The package

The neck is the pivot around which everything revolves. It is the most important part because from this detail we can deduce the correct size of the shirt, plus it denotes style and model. Last but not least , when you wear a jacket, the collar is the only thing in the shirt that others will see. In short, a tip of the iceberg that cannot be overlooked. To understand if the collar is the right size (and therefore if the rest of the iceberg is too), try inserting a finger between the edge of the collar and the collar when the shirt is buttoned. The finger must be able to fit easily but to the hair. The collar must therefore adhere to the neck but without exerting pressure. Also the shape of the collar is not to be neglected as it becomes the frame of the face, changing it greatly depending on the shape. The French collar - that is the collar with the points shorter and open towards the shoulders - goes with the kiss with a long and thin face because the separated and short points will tend to widen the 'oval, balancing it. The Italian , characterized by more closed ends, is ideal if you have a large and rounded face because it will be able to make it considerably thinner. And now we come to the height: according to classical canons, the collar must protrude from the collar of the jacket by about 1 and a half centimeters . The reason is related to the knotted tie which must not be too protruding. Last precaution to be followed slavishly, otherwise bye-bye flawless effect: never, ever let the points of the collar come out from the lapels of the jacket.

The sleeves

The ideal sleeve is the one a little wider in the upper arm, at bicep height, which gradually narrows in the area near the pose. It must come down from the shoulder without wrinkling and must be wide enough so that it does not tighten the elbow too much when bending the arm. If the shirt is too tight, you will notice that the fabric will adhere too tightly to your arm when you fold it. On the contrary, when it is too wide (and, consequently, with a wide sleeve) you will see creases forming on the elbow, biceps and cuffs. Either way, the fashion verdict is no. It must fit perfectly.

The cuffs

The cuff is a question of the sleeve. If the sleeve is the right length, the cuff will cover the wrist and rest on the joint of the thumb. Please note: the cuff should be long enough to stay in place even with the arm bent, not just when it is stretched across the body. Choosing it too short means seeing it disappear into the jacket when you sit down or raise your arm. The cuff must then be snug enough not to slip over the hand but without exerting pressure on the skin. The litmus test to see if you got it right? The clock . Wear it and understand if it is covered by the cuff without coming out. However, you shouldn't see any wrinkles at watch height either, which would mean that the cuff is tight.

The shoulders

The shoulder seam of the shirt should be exactly where the shoulder joins the arm. If the shirt is narrow from the shoulders, the seam will be closer to the neck; if it is too wide, however, it will end beyond the end of the shoulder, basically on the triceps. The armholes must not be excessively wide or excessively narrow, but it is essential that it does not interfere with the movements.To find out if the armholes are the right size, raise your arms 45 degrees with the shirt tucked into your pants. Does it stick out more than 2-3 centimeters? Then the armholes are tight, you should choose a larger size.

The buttons

Shirt buttons must be real Australian mother-of-pearl, both flat and thick (depending on taste). The shirt can be worn unbuttoned but only when you are also wearing a blazer. But if you want an ultra-chic effect, wear it with the ascot tied around the neck. On the other hand, a shirt with a covered or fake button panel is recommended only in the case of a bow tie.

Tips for keeping the white shirt

Now that you have discovered all the tricks to find the perfect white shirt, it is good that you also know how to keep it that way. Starting from the color. In order not to ruin its whiteness, always and only wash it with other white linen, without any colored garments. Washing a white shirt with garments of another color may not immediately make you notice a color change but in the long run the original nuance will be ruined. And even the loss of brilliance will be inevitable. Use a little detergent because overdoing it you risk staining it and making it sticky (because rinsing will not remove all the soap residues). Avoid chlorine because it irremediably yellow fabrics. In case of heavy stains, immerse the white shirt in hot water with a knob of detergent to release the dirt, then proceed with washing in the washing machine. Often washing only in the washing machine does not give good results, especially in the case of stubborn stains. You don't want to come back with a streaked garment, right? Then put it to soak in hot soapy water, trust me. Finally drying. The top? Spread out white shirts in the sun. Contrary to what happens with other colors (which fade in contact with the sun's rays), with white the sun helps to keep the brightness and whiteness longer.
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