Bostonista Loves: Classic White Shirts (and Ridiculous Blogs)

So sorry for the spotty posting as of late. We’ve been busy baring our shoulders and going to shows and writing a novel. (Alsowho knew?it turns out being a muse is sort of time-consuming.)

But mostly we’ve been refreshing our browser and waiting for Alexandra Penney to post another installment of the Bag Lady Papers on the Daily Beast.

Have you read it? If not, in you’re in for a treat. (Seriously. For a long time, we resisted Tina Brown’s site because we had already grudgingly bookmarked on top of the HuffPo…and really, how many news sites run by middle-aged-to-elderly female members of the media elite can one realistically be expected to consume? But this feature alone makes the Beast a worthy read.)


Penney is a former Self editor who made a fortune writing ’80s-era sex advice books and, since then, has done pretty much what you would expect: become a batty Upper East Side “artist.” She wanted to spend her golden years traveling and making cheese souffles and, you know, working on her portfolio of sex-doll photographs…and not managing her retirement accounts. So she hired Bernie Madoff!

You can guess where it goes from here. The diary, liberally sprinkled with “mother-f…er”s, details the nuisances of sudden destitution, from first-ever subway rides to self-painted nails. Lots of good stuff. But our absolute favorite part of the entries is Penney’s obsession with white shirts.

Every single day, she wears a classic white one because “they make me feel fresh and ready to face whatever battles I may be fighting.” Until recently, she employed a woman named Yolanda to press them. Now she is losing her mind because she is going to have to pick up an iron.

And we TOTALLY relate!

Everyone looks great in white shirts. They frame your face nicely and make people assume you are competent, classically stylish but not slavishly trendy, and wholesome in an appealingly all-American way. We would definitely be editor-in-chief right now (jk, real editor!) if we, like our friend Alexandra, wore nothing else. And we could probably actually do so, because we own at least five. (Alex, btw, owns 40.) But the daily ironing is a problem. We also cannot bring ourselves to drop them off at the cleaners, because that would a) be concrete proof of our shameful laziness, and b) require us to inhale lots of noxious fumes. So our slightly rumpled, line-dried white shirts sit in our closet and make wrinkled appearances only on weekends.

Don’t be like us. Be like Alexandra (before the tragic turn). Here are three great options to get you started:

Anne Fontaine: The godmother of the chic white shirt, this French designer makes beautifully crafted versions each season. Expect to spend at least $200. 318 Boylston St., Boston, 617-423-0366,

Brooks Brothers: Go the uber-classic route. We like the boys’ version for an unseamed-but-still-fitted look. (Note: They claim to be iron-free, but in our experience require touch-ups.) $45. 46 Newbury St., Boston, 617-267-2600,

Gap: Lately we’ve been liking the stiff collars on Gap buttondowns. (They used to be floppier. We swear we are not making this up.) But you should probably wait til this one gets marked down to $19.99. $44, Copley Place, Boston, 617-247-1754,