Monday, September 08, 2008

Five Favorites: White Shirts

I have long been a devotee of crisp white shirts - as long as somebody else is ironing them. Here are five great places to get one in New York, and why. Addresses are in SoHo, because that's a good place to find all of them, though there are other locations. It will be no surprise to those who know me that the majority are Parisian in origin.
  1. A.P.C. (131 Mercer Street): Classic minimalist French style and incredible jeans. I am a longtime devotee of the Paris store on Rue Fleurus near the Jardins Luxembourg (literary note: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas lived at no. 27 on that block), and even more so of its outlet (called "surplus" in France) around the corner on Rue Madame. The details here are very subtle: A narrow white shirt will reveal its quality in the soft hand of the fabric and a slight rounding of the collar.
  2. agnès b. (103 Greene Street): An old standby, but you can't go wrong here for basic French chic. A few years ago, I stayed in a Paris apartment on the Rue du Jour (near Les Halles), where there are agnès b. stores at nos. 2, 3, 6, 10 & 19.
  3. Anne Fontaine (93 Greene Street): A store full of incredible white shirts, some crisp, some stretchy. I bought a long white Anne Fontaine swimsuit coverup at Printemps in Paris in 1985, during the liberating trip I took there when my first brief marriage broke up (back when New Yorkers brought empty suitcases to Europe, rather than the reverse, as today). I wore it, with white laceup Keds, to my second, impromptu wedding ceremony in Reno in 1994. I still own it, and wore it recently.
  4. Opening Ceremony (35 Howard Street): Consistently the most fashion-forward store in the country. This is a place to get inspired and to find both the conceptual and the ultrawearable. When I first walked in a few years ago, it was dimly lit, everything in the store seemed to be black, and I fell in love, snapping up a pair of Tara Subkoff for Easy Spirit shoes and and a lace-trimmed Schiesser t-shirt. The store has since lightened up; the Chloe Sevigny collection last spring was vaguely retro and girly, with lots of florals and checks.
  5. 3.1 phillip lim (115 Mercer Street): Beautiful lines, superb textures and an elegant sensibility. His shirts are among my favorites from the Gap's annual CFDA/Vogue line (see below for this past summer's lineup).

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