The white shirt is a classic, and most of us will have at least one lurking in our wardrobes. But how many ways are there to wear one? To spark our imaginations, we asked M&S editor-in-chief and busy mum-of-two Rachel Sullivan to wear a white shirt seven ways for seven days. Here’s how she got on…
Every week I try to spend one-on-one time with each of my children. This week Lara and I are going out to the ballet together to see Sleeping Beauty – I’ve taken inspiration from the world of dance with this flamenco-inspired, layered skirt which flares up prettily when we practise our pirouettes at home before we go. Lara’s super-excited and gets smartened up in this little denim dress with a cute cactus bag that matches my shoes – we don’t dress super matchy-matchy but we like to have one or two details that go together.
I’ve got a photo shoot in a different part of town today so I jump on my scooter. It’s a great way of getting about, especially when going to shoot locations which can often be in awkward places. This sleeveless jacket is surprisingly useful – it’s an instant way of smartening up a simple outfit like jeans and a white shirt and making it a bit more ‘fashiony’. Don’t tell anyone but my shoes are actually boys’ trainers from the kidswear range – they are available in up to an adult size 7 and I think they are really cool!
A trip out for dinner with my husband gives me the perfect chance to take this white shirt out on the razzle. This tan skirt looks chic and fresh, and it’s surprisingly flattering and cool. I’m in love with this little raffia clutch bag which lifts my look instantly, plus flat black sandals to finish things off (they make my not-very-tall husband happy!). Win win.
A glorious afternoon at a kid’s birthday party. There is some serious fun going on with bubble machines, musical bumps and a piñata, and I want my outfit to be relaxed and practical enough that I don’t need to worry about anything riding up or being too short. Practicality is key and pockets are a must, so these denim shorts are perfect, and they’re high-cut enough to hold in any hint of a mum-tum.
This is my working-from-home day, but I still like to make an effort even when I’m not in the office – I sometimes have to pop out for meetings, so I usually go for a look that can be dressed up by adding heels. When it turns a little cold, I wear a cashmere Breton over my white shirt – the perfect layering piece that I can pop on or take off as the weather changes.
I’ve managed to swing a rare afternoon off while my husband takes the kids to soft play, so I’m making the most of it. Because it’s made of super-lightweight linen, my white shirt doesn’t let me down – I just team it with a pair of khaki shorts. I really like this look – the white shirt feels much smarter and more stylish than shorts with a T-shirt, which would be my usual go-to on a sunny day.
We are all usually exhausted by the end of the weekend – me especially after a full-on week of working and looking after the kids. So we carve out some downtime by lining up some serious Disney action for us to watch. I want an outfit that’s one up from pyjamas in terms of comfort (though hopefully a lot more stylish) so I team the white linen shirt with a relaxed fit pair of jeans for an easy-peasy look that takes seconds to dress up with a pair of earrings if we decide to decamp and go out for a pizza.
Editor: Sophie Hines / Photographer: Stephanie Sian Smith / Stylist: Louise Carmel Hall
Hair stylist: Leigh Keates / Make-up artist: Lindsey Poole