Whether breezy and oversized or slim-fit, we can all agree that a white shirt is an essential in most wardrobes. Here, Vogue Scandinavia curates the best cotton shirts by Scandi brands to bring into your daily rotation
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Few pieces of clothing has become more iconic than the white cotton shirt. After all, the basic button up has been a staple for decades. In the 1940s and 1950s, the likes of Lauren Bacall and Grace Kelly paired their button ups with a wide-slung midi skirts and cinched waists. Audrey Hepburn made the men's dress shirt iconic in that scene from 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany, while Annie Hall's sense of style defined the 1970s. In the '80s, no one would dare put baby in the corner when Jennifer Grey tied her crisp cotton shirt around her waist, and in the the golden age of supermodels the garment became an essential in they off-duty look.
Having established the sartorial significance of the white cotton shirt, it is unsurprising then that we find ourselves searching for the perfect version.
How do you find the perfect white shirt?
The perfect white shirt is all dependent on personal preference and choosing the right one comes down to the details. Pay attention to the style of the collar, the size of the cuffs, and the proportions of the buttons. Whether looking for a classic cut or a trendy take, Scandinavian brands have us covered. Perfected by both the high street and the high end, from Acne Studio's well-placed seams cinching in the waist to H&M's roomy silhouette, our local talents have honed their skills in creating the perfect white shirt.
Below, we've sourced the 17 best white shirts by Scandi brands to buy now
This modern boxy silhouette balanced by a traditional shirt collar and cuffs is a true classic cut. This shirt allows for some room to play around with sizing, opting up for a roomy fit or down for a slimmer style.
The Gigi shirt is a signature style of Stockholm-based silk brand Ahlvar Gallery. Here, they've chosen a crisp cotton for their voluminous silhouette with a rounded hem. Push up the sleeves and French-tuck the front for a relaxed styling option.
The straight cut unisex fit of this Gestuz shirt, featuring a box-pleat back and classic collar and cuff, makes it a versatile option.
This unisex shirt by hyped bedding brand Tekla is technically made for snoozing. But, with the rise of the pyjama trend – sporting a matching set made for sleeping at cocktail hour – this piece is perfectly adaptable no matter the occasion.
House of Dagmar
Linen Gina shirt
Throughout this article we've gushed about crisp cotton qualities, but House of Dagmar's linen iteration was made for breezy summer dressing.
& Other Stories
Relaxed Button Up Shirt
Via & Other Stories
This button up shirt is a true basic. With a straight, relaxed silhouette and a curved hemline, it pairs perfectly with a statement bag and loose fit jeans. Throw on a pair of loafers and you're all set.
Collared poplin shirt
Ganni knows how to zhuzh up basics. Taking this traditional silhouette, for example, the Danish brand adds a ruffle to the collar and contrasting buttons to break with tradition.
Relaxed fit wide-sleeve shirt
Cos contains some of our favourite takes on wardrobe staples. Elevating the basic button up, this loose-fit white shirt features wide-cut sleeves and an oversized collar.
Longline button-up shirt
For certain occasions, a longline shirt is a necessity – say, when styled with a pair of knitted leggings or cycle shorts for summer.
Straight Cut Poplin Shirt
Arket's classic white shirt is a true wardrobe staple. Crafted from a poplin fabric made of organic cotton, this version is straight-cut with a regular, roomy fit.
Tiffany cotton-poplin shirt
Via Anine Bing
A modern update to traditional shirting is the best way to describe Anine Bing's basic with some sex-appeal (the split hem shows off a subtle flash of midriff). Made from crisp cotton-poplin and with an exaggerated point collar, the bellcuffs brings us back to the '70s in the best way possible.
Organic cotton-poplin shirt
Cut from crisp organic cotton that's GOTS-certified, Bite Studio's shirt has tonal button fastenings through the front to keep it sleek and streamlined. Not to mention the slit cuffs that'll reveal a glimpse of your bracelet or watch.
Cinched cotton shirt
Opt for a structural silhouette in the form of this shirt from Acne Studios, featuring a distinctive gathered waist with carefully placed seams. Made from stretchy cotton-poplin, it has a classic collar and buttoned front.
Signature cotton-poplin shirt
Totême aims to create a wardrobe of refined classics such as the brand's 'Signature; shirt. Crafted from crisp cotton-poplin with a point collar and a pleated back yoke, it is a classic to keep in your wardrobe forever.
Oversized cotton shirt
Cut wide and roomy, this oversized cotton shirt from H&M is a certified Scandi staple. However, you choose to style this – either slung on top of a bathing suit for the beach, or worn under a sweater when the cold comes in – it is a garment we keep reaching for again, and again, and again.
By Malene Birger
The chest pocket of this Derris shirt is the detail that takes centre stage. The size and cut of it draws our minds to the origins of the work shirt, where large pockets were an absolute necessity.
The Signature Shirt
SheSize is a Swedish brand challenging the sizing norm in shirting. Choosing both cup-size and shirt size, the recently-founded brand sets out to eradicated that dreadful gap for women with a bigger bust.
Is a white shirt a good investment?
The white cotton shirt, just like the perfectly cut suit or a pair of superbly fitting jeans, is a seasonless staple we keep in our closets for years to come. That is why it is one of the best pieces of clothing to invest in. This particular garment has the rare capability to be just as appropriate for work, whether your day-to-day in the office or when you want to look smart for a job interview, as it is for a late night on the town. Going from prim and proper, tucked into suit trousers, to subtly sexy unbuttoned over a black lacy bralette – it does it all.
How do you style a white shirt?
Nothing can be quite as empowering as a crisp buttondown when you need a confidence boost, while an artfully crumpled linen style oozes low-key summer lounging. Oversized silhouettes tucked into tailored trousers is a relaxed yet dressy alternative, while slim-fit styles layer perfectly under knit sweaters.