the number one outfit for portraits
I’ve been shooting women’s portraits for over twenty years now. One outfit that has never gone out of style for portraits is the White Shirt. Sure, the way we style it has changed over the years, but the power of the humble white shirt in portraiture cannot be underestimated.
A white shirt looks professional but not pretentious. Sophisticated but not overdone.
Emma Willis, the designer behind her namesake English shirting brand, agrees: “A well-cut white shirt in a good quality cotton or linen looks so sharp and fresh with everything, whether for business, smart-casual or casual. There is nothing better with jeans, a suit or an evening look.”
When I photograph a client in a white shirt, it is usually done on a white background. The white on white gives a fresh look, and all the reflective light going on gives the subject a youthful appearance. Keeping the portrait simple white on white also allows it to be timeless and classic. These portraits often look great in black and white as well.
These days there are endless styles of white shirts to choose from. Whether you like lace details like the 'Lace Trim Long Sleeve Blouse' from Witchery, some frills like this 'Frill Sleeve Blouse' from Seed Heritage, or a bold sleeve like the Wei Top by Cult Gaia, there is a white shirt for every taste.
Whichever style you choose, one thing is for sure – you'll have endless inspiration for how to style it, no matter whether it's to be worn today or in 50 years' time.
So, now that you are convinced of your need for a white shirt, which white shirt are you?