How the boring oversized shirt is a must-have style component in your wardrobe
The shirt, the simple oversized shirt, an office must-have, a boring set in pale colours, something that saved the common man from the day-to-day wardrobe crisis is one of the most trending fashion statements now. The appeal of Old Hollywood’s charmer Sharon Stone’s original and cool quotient from Academy awards 1998, where she paired her husband’s Oxford shirt with a Vera Wang skirt has finally kicked in. The muted and mucky shirt is now the choicest pick for the minimalist and the maximalist. Some call it a state of mind, some a brave choice and many now identify with its effortless style.
Says fashion writer, author and anthropologist Phyllida Jay, “It’s crossed over from being a formal male garment to being a staple of womenswear and has shifted from formal tailoring to casual wear. But, it’s retained its associations with the uniformity of men’s tailoring, which now translates into an aura of insouciance and anti-fashion. It’s that paradox between uniformity and rebellion that lends the white shirt its mystique and place as a classic wardrobe staple.”
The costume dressing trend in India during the 90s saw the bulky shirt in many avatars. Be it the puffy sleeved mid-riff tie shirt, or the belted long shapes with funky stockings on women and the ballooned shirt balanced with mid-waist denim on men, the shirt always drew attention in one way or the other. A vintage hangover, the regular oversized shirt always spoke of a certain character. A safe territory to experiment with body type, comfort and style as we understood it back then, the staple garment gets its due now. The boring office wear is truly out-of-the-box defining power dressing and street style at the same time.
While the homegrown labels and the high street fashion brands swear by this gender bender classic trend, the big names of curated international luxury style space Net-a-Porter and Neiman Marcus have flagged it as one of the longest running trends in the recent times. The extra fabric and structure doesn’t seem to bother us anymore.
Says designer Arjun Saluja, “The concept of the oversized shirt was basically taking a large shirt for a man and a woman wearing it or vice versa. Now it has been deconstructed and shaped in various forms. With androgyny being misused in fashion all over, it has now just become a trend. There is a certain sense of power and sensuality almost a subversive unsaid exchange. For us as a label, we look at it in more in form of shape and how we can alter the fit or volume by various cutting techniques.”
The key thing is how it’s worn. You can try the fresh, crispy buttoned-up and neatly tucked in look, or keep it open at the neck and have fun with the collars or leave a few buttons open at the end and enjoy the flair. Flaunt your devil-may-care attitude with rolled up sleeves or a knot around your waist. The shirt has also entered the wedding style space and the gaudy lehengas have found a subtle partner to make the look stand-out in many ways. Supersize style is here to stay and how.