FASHION: Get shirty and browse the latest trends and textures
This season, button-downs are anything but boring. Lisa Haynes reveals the new ways to work your collar and cuffs
SAY goodbye to the traditional office blouse as we know it. If there's one womenswear staple that's undergone the biggest reinvention this season, it's the humble shirt.
Unexpected twists and details make the once Plain Jane button-down anything but basic. Backwards, cropped, ruffled - you name it, shirting just had a major cool-over.
However, while shirt silhouettes may be dramatically different, the fabric and finishes remain familiar, with details like starchy structure and traditional Oxford stripes still going strong.
It's probably unlikely you'll see your bank manager working a backwards shirt any time soon, but 2017's take on this wardrobe stalwart means there are now plenty of ways to be fashion-forward with a hint of formality.
Time to work a shirt, your way...
THE ONE-SIDED SKEW
Forget your standard button-down and shift everything over to the left, or right. Asymmetric shirts are this season's quirky way to do prim-and-proper. Keep your collar loose to relax the look.
TRY: Finery Westbourne Asymmetric Placket Shirt in Mixed Check, £59 (finerylondon.com)
THE LONG GAME
Shirt dresses are nothing new but this season they resemble a Wolf Of Wall Street dress code, with contrast cuffs and bold stripes. The key difference? A bold tie around the waist to keep it feminine.
TRY: River Island Stripe Print Cold Shoulder Shirt Dress, £40 (riverisland.com)
THE CUT-OUT CLUB
A flash of skin can still be office appropriate with the new wave of cut-out shirts. There's something about exposed shoulders next to a strict, buttoned collar that just works – especially in crisp white.
TRY: Hobbs Emily Shirt, £79 (hobbs.co.uk)
THE BACKWARDS APPROACH
Shirting conventions have gone out of the window, and perhaps the biggest proof of this is the backwards shirt. It's not inside out, but it is back to front, with the button-through detail featuring at the back. Go for masculine oversized or a fitted blouse.
TRY: Oliver Bonas Rikona Striped Frill Shirt, currently reduced to £30 from £49.50 (oliverbonas.com)
THE ANTI-SHIRT SHIRT
Take away all the traditional elements of a shirt – shoulders, collar, cuffs - and what do you have? Deconstructed cool. Look for a shirt that breaks all the rules but still retains one key element, like a button-down front.
TRY: Primark Deconstructed Check Shirt, £10 (primark.co.uk)
THE FRILL SEEKER
Frills and ruffles have made their mark all over shirts, whether on plackets, arms or hemlines. Make the biggest impact with exaggerated frills in unexpected places, like flouncing over one shoulder.
TRY: Self-Portrait One Shoulder Striped Cotton Shirt, £240, Matches (matchesfashion.com)
THE SLEEVE SHOW
Even casual denim shirts have been reimagined with exaggerated detail. Wave hello to the fluted sleeve. The roomy proportions are ideal for preventing that hot and sticky feeling in high summer.
TRY: Miss Selfridge Flute Sleeve Denim Shirt, £32 (missselfridge.com)
THE WRAP STAR
Has koumpounophobia (aka an extreme fear of buttons) got the better of you? Lose them altogether with this season's wrap shirts. Go neutral for daytime in a classic Oxford stripe that will go with anything and everything.
TRY: GANT Rugger Windblown Oxford Stripe Wrap Shirt, £85 (gant.co.uk)
THE MISMATCH MODE
Shirts were once a sign of order but now, well, they're anything but. Seek out contrasting pocket patches and uneven hemlines that look like you've buttoned your shirt up in the dark. It's the shabby chic of shirtland.
TRY: Topshop Reconstructed Stripe Shirt by Boutique, £75 (topshop.com)
THE POSTCARD PRINT
Ditch the Hawaiian shirt and channel poolside vibes with a postcard print shirt that looks like a scene from Palm Springs. Keep your shirt floaty and light in sun-bleached tones to match the mood.
TRY: Oliver Bonas Vacation Shirt, £55 (oliverbonas.com)
GET THE LOOK
Looks like Alesha Dixon got the 'bigger-the-better' memo re trousers this season. This Britain's Got Talent judge looked great sporting a pair of super-wide monochrome pants on an outing in London earlier this year – and now you can recreate the look for a purse-friendly £25. Elongate your legs with a chic mono stripe, like these wide legs from Roman Originals at House of Fraser.
:: Roman Originals Stripe Wide Leg Trouser, £25, House of Fraser (houseoffraser.co.uk)
BUY IT NOW
Proof that workout gear is just too good to reserve for the gym? Get a sprint on for the Sang Bleu x Sweaty Betty limited-edition capsule collection, with items starting from £60. The hip Dalston tattoo studio is behind the activewear brand's edgy geometric aesthetic. But you'll need to move fast if you like it – just 100 items of each of the 12 designs are going to be available to buy.
:: Sang Bleu x Sweaty Betty collection, from £60-£175 (available late April; sweatybetty.com)
:: THE (NOT-SO) BLING RING
Proposers-in-waiting, rejoice. Turns out Brits are spending an average 19 per cent less on engagement rings now than five years ago, according to new research by Protect Your Bubble. Almost one-fifth of couples (18 per cent) who bought engagement rings in the last five years spent less than £500 on their dazzlers. Couples in Northern Ireland spent the most on engagement rings, averaging £1,722 a pop, while Scottish couples splashed the least cash on their proposal bling, averaging £862.
Join the pom-pom style set this summer, without spending a fortune. This designer-dupe beach bag from Simply Be is almost too pretty to use on the sand...
:: Pom Pom Straw Bag, £35, Simply Be (simplybe.co.uk)