Ask Style

White need not be dull

The classic white shirt can look different. Play with silhouettes and go for details such as mandarin collars

I want a change from my regular white cotton shirt for work. What options do I have in terms of types of shirts and how do I style the white shirt differently?

Mr Keith Png, 38, stylist and director of fashion and lifestyle store Hide & Seek Design, is thrilled to hear about your dilemma. As he says: "I think almost everyone owns at least a classic white button-down shirt - it is time to move on to experimental and interesting variations."

He suggests playing with silhouettes and looking out for details such as mandarin collars or pussybows.

Belted shirts can also help define a shapely figure or create curves for women with boyish figures.

Life's picks:


1. Piper stretch cotton button-down top, $139, In Good Company

For those who are fans of the minimalist look. Make the most of the absence of details and pair it with a statement necklace.

2. Pleated panel shirt, $89, Mango

A good choice for mornings when one is in a rush. Minimal accessorising is required because of the pleats, mandarin collar and gold buttons.

3. Belted white shirt, $52.91,

Sometimes, all you need is a belt to elevate a plain white shirt. This one comes with an attached belt.

4. Ivory tie-front shirt, $66.90, Dorothy Perkins, from

The lace-up neckline on this top exudes a relaxed 1970s vibe more suited for casual Fridays.

5. Floral jacquard dress, $169, Topshop

For something different, Mr Png suggests layering a white shirt under a printed dress like this one as an alternative to the predictable skirt-and-shirt combination.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'White need not be dull'. Subscribe