I looove me a good white button down. Absolute wardrobe staple. Can be dressed up or down, and pretty much goes with anything and everything.
That being said I was slightly devastated when I tore my favorite white button down last weekend. It was a great shirt. It was the perfect amount of crisp. It was a really good fit — as long as the white button up I always used to steal from my husband, but slim enough that it didn’t look like I was wearing my husband’s white button up. It was perfect. Sigh.
So now I have a few options.
- Attempt to repair it — this I will most definitely do, but let’s be honest, I’m no Martha Stewart, so attempt is really the key word here.
- Go back to wearing my husband’s white button up — which, if we’re still being honest, will probably also happen until he calls me out for stealing his clothes.
- Find a new, eco-friendly, socially responsible white button up.
So alas, that is where I find myself. I am currently researching a new white button up that — if I am unable to fix my old beloved/am no longer allowed to wear my husband’s — will become a regular in the rotation of my wardrobe.
And since it really should be a staple in everyone’s wardrobe, I’m taking you along the journey. Here are my top contenders:
Everlane’s The Relaxed Linen Shirt, $65, Photo Cred: Everlane
Love this guy for a few reasons. Good length. Great price. Relaxed fit without being too boxy. Made from 100% linen, which means it’s a natural fiber. On the other hand, the flax used for growing linen does still use fertilizers and pesticides, although less than crops like cotton (and according to EarthPledge.org, many flax crops do actually meet organic standards whether or not they are certified). Linen is not as crisp as my old faithful. And it’s also known to get super wrinkly, and if I can avoid ironing, well, that would just be great. Also, it’s made in China. With Everlane’s stand on transparency, you can trust that they’re working with a top notch factory, but they still have to ship the goods back to the good ol’ U.S. of A. Minus two points.
Kowtow Paper Shirt, $169, Photo Cred: Kowtow
Extra points here for style here (I should tell you at this point though, I’m not actually keeping score). Love the length — long enough that I can wear it with my other really good friend, leggings, but still short enough to tuck it in if need be. Materials are on fleek. No? I’m not allowed to use that phrase? Okay, well, it’s made from premium 100% certified fair trade, organic cotton voile with Italian made recycled hemp buttons. But, at $169, it’s a little pricey. And, similar to Everlane, have to account that this guy would have to travel across the ocean to get here, since it’s made in India.
Taylor Stitch, The Caroline in White Pinpoint Oxford, $,98, Photo Cred: Taylor Stitch
This guy is made from Japanese Pinpoint Oxford — meaning it’s both dressy and durable, structured but with a little bit of drape. All characteristics that make for a very versatile shirt. It also means it’s made from 100% cotton. Good because it’s a natural fiber, but hard to say if it’s organic, fair trade or grown using sustainable practices. Minus one. Plus one (still not keep score) that it is a part of a small batch manufacturing run that used dead stock fabrics (i.e. leftovers that would have otherwise gone to waste). Also plus one, since it’s made right here in California. Minus one for being a tiny bit short for my liking.
Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Stretch Lawn Classic Collar Oversized Shirt, $198, Photo Cred: Eileen Fisher
I’m a sucker for anything oversized, so this guy had my attention right out of the gate. That being said, it is a skosh boxy for my liking (talk to me again after dinner). Also great that it’s made with organic cotton lawn and the finished fabric meets the Bluesign® standard for chemical, water and energy usage. On the downside, it is a little on the high side in terms of price point. And I might have to give myself minus two points for wearing a brand that is maybe better suited for a middle-aged art teacher/mom/someone well, well beyond my years (wink, wink). TBD.
What are some of your favorite picks for an ethical white button down?