Feeling like your wardrobe needs a refresh? Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe what you really need is to go back to basics. For that, look no further than the white shirt. With, naturally, the pair of pants made to go along with it.
For every occasion in a man’s life, there’s a white shirt to match it. And for every white shirt, there’s a pair of pants that offer a perfect counterpart. You could toss out all the clothes you own besides your white shirts and a few pairs of pants, and you’d probably get more “Looking good!” comments than you do currently.
If staring into your closet makes you feel nothing, you might be looking too hard. Step back from the barrage of seasonal lines and capsule collections, and reconnect with these classic white shirt-pants combinations.
White Tee and Bootcut Jeans
Clark Gable made it a thing. James Dean made it iconic. Marlon Brando made it a sex symbol. No matter whether you’re a crewneck or a V-neck guy, the white T-shirt anchors your look in true American style. Pair your white tee with classic denim for a way to look simultaneously rugged and polished, hardworking yet effortlessly stylish.
White Henley and Wide-Wale Corduroy
A staple of the workingman’s wardrobe, a white henley offers both comfort and warmth with just the right amount of structure. Open the top button, roll up your sleeves, and you’ve got instant DILF status (even if you don’t have any kids).
Pair a snug-fitting henley with a rugged pair of cords for the ideal weekend ensemble. Top it off with a shawl-collar sweater and see how many line up for a cuddle.
White Oxford and Chinos
Whether you go with a broken-in cotton or a cool chambray, the white oxford is the ultimate in versatility — it can transition seamlessly from the office to a dinner date.
Just how versatile is the white oxford? This shirt can hold its own against pants of every description. While classic chinos are a no-brainer combination, if you’re feeling thirsty for plaid or print, consider the white oxford shirt your sartorial wingman.
White Dress Shirt with Black or Pinstripe Slacks
When you’re going for polish, less is more. Women have the little black dress; men have the classic white dress shirt. Forego the frills (and the French cuffs) and splurge on high-end design, material, and, above all, tailoring.
When you’ve got a perfectly tailored white dress shirt, why overshadow it with flashy slacks? Let the dress shirt shine by pairing it with elegant trousers in matte black or, at most, a muted pinstripe.
White Guayabera and Shorts
Elevate your summer wardrobe with this classic Cuban white shirt featuring tone-on-tone embroidery. Note that the golden rule with any collared short-sleeve shirt is to make sure the sleeves are fit to the arm. Overly tight looks douchey; baggy sleeves make the arms look skinny and the chest look small.
You know those old baggy shorts your girlfriend never lets you wear? The guayabera is key to taking those bad boys out of retirement. The shirt’s elegant tropical vibe makes cargo shorts, even board shorts look gentlemanly.
White Linen Shirt and Skinny Pants
With their breezy, open weave, linen shirts are the perfect choice for hot weather wear. Sure, you can pick a classic Oxford shirt made from linen instead of cotton, but we’re partial to the collarless white linen shirt cut for a relaxed fit that caters to linen’s breathable drape.
To balance out the breezy looseness of a linen shirt, you’re going to want something more fitted for your lower half. If you’re going for an elevated athleisure look, try a pair of slim-cut joggers or even leggings. If you prefer something a little more structured, opt for a neutral-toned skinny jean or fitted shorts. Linen is also the perfect pick for tone-on-tone pairing — look for pants in a complementary hue of white, cream, or beige.
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