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The history of the White Shirt.

The Marie Antoinette Dress That Ignited the Slave Trade at white shirt

A white shirt has been a fashion classic for over 200 years. The very first similarity of a modern white shirt appeared in the 18th century when Marie Antoinette commissioned her portrait in a white ruffled cotton robe. Marie Antoinette, one of the most outrageous and tragically famous French queens, tended to go against the rules of the upper class. As she was unhappy with her life and had no right to make serious political decisions, she spent a lot of time partying, gambling, and living a rich life while her country was facing a grave financial crisis that eventually led to the French revolution. 

In 1783 the chemise dress in which the queen posed for her portrait, was used more as an undergarment, but certainly not as an outfit to picture the queen. As a result in high society, the painting caused a predictable resonance. Besides the public outcry, this gesture of the queen had an incredible impact on the whole textile industry. The fact that the royal family used cheap cotton instead of silk, the material that was a sign of the highest society in the 18th century, caused unprecedented growth of cotton demand. 

Years have passed since the scandalous portrait of Marie Antoinette and the white shirt gained an important social meaning. As it often happens in the history of constantly shifting and transforming generally accepted standards of the society: the clothes for which the queen was condemned previously, has later become a sign of wealth in the society, especially among men. During this time, white shirts became a symbol of sophistication and wealth among gentlemen. White clothes were associated with the upper class because only the upper class could afford to thoroughly and frequently wash their clothes. 

Audrey Hepburn’s 1953 ‘Roman Holiday’ an enchanting fairy tale at white shirt

Later in the 20th century, white shirts began to be associated with women's fashion. For decades since the French queen died, shirts were a part of a male wardrobe exclusively, and only by the 1920s did designers, actors and celebrities start the process of breaking the boundaries of social, gender, and fashion meaning of the shirt. The legendary designer Coco Chanel was one of the first who changed the strict centuries-old rule of division of clothes to male and female only. She put women's trousers into fashion and changed corsets for men’s shirts. Therefore we got a wardrobe item, which we can’t imagine life without, only 100 years ago.

This Summer We’re Channelling: Lauren Bacall in Key Largo at white classic shirt

During the 20th century, cinema started to have an enormous influence on people all over the world and women were once and for all conquered by the scenic image of Audrey Hepburn, cycling through the narrow streets of the Italian capital in the «Roman Holiday» in a white shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a scarf around her neck. White shirts were also popularised by Hollywood actresses like Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Becall, with their appearance in these garments on screen in Holiday and Key Largo.

Later on, the white shirt can be noticed in such iconic films as Pulp Fiction, starring Uma Thurman and Pretty Woman with the leading role by Julia Roberts. That's how shirts became a more mundane outerwear for women that identified the new perception of this garment: a new symbol of femininity by modern women who are independent and free. Women who are different but connected through their desire to feel the power and freedom of being themselves.     

 We tend to rethink the classics and find new forms of expressions. In fashion, such rethinking has resulted in a massive trend for oversized clothes. And shirts are not an exception.

Julia Roberts Pretty Woman white women shirtAs women became more emancipated throughout the years, white shirts transformed from elegant well-fitted clothes to more brutal and expressive wardrobe items. In the Etna store you can easily find an oversized white shirt, which will reflect your charisma and style. Etna shirts are made for a modern woman who has inner romanticism for style but doesn't want to betray her comfort. Made from high-quality cotton and satin, Etna shirts let your skin breathe all day long, while you are achieving your goals with ease. The oversized fit of the collection is inspired by the magnificent volcano in Sicily - Etna, one of the most intriguing active volcanoes in Europe. Feel the power from within with Etna. 

 

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