5 reasons to love the silk shirt
The perennially chic item is one of the most multifunctional in fashion.
1. THE ANCIENT APPEAL OF SILK
One of the oldest fabrics known to man, silk has been used in clothing for well over three thousand years, and is still one of the most luxurious materials around. According to legend, it was discovered by accident by the Chinese Empress Hsi Ling Shi, who was sitting under a mulberry tree when a cocoon fell into her cup. The cocoon unravelled in the boiling hot water and the shimmering threads were revealed. Following her supposed discovery, silkworms were cultivated in China, and with time the world would find out about the super-soft, shiny fabric via The Silk Road.
2. MAKING A MENSWEAR STAPLE FEMININE
The classic white shirt has been a fashion hallmark since the 19th century. The wardrobe staple, which is usually made in cotton, is given a feminine shape and silhouette when it comes in silk instead. In the '50s, when women started wearing trousers, traditionally male items like the shirt gained acceptance as well. Iconic actress Katharine Hepburn – often credited as the first female adopter of trousers – is one of the strong women who launched the trend, often sporting a silk shirt and high-waisted trouser uniform.
3. A KEY TO POWER DRESSING
There are just a few fashion items that work for every occasion. The silk shirt is one of them. Consequently, it's one of the key ingredients in power dressing, meaning it's one of those items that was considered formal and suitable for women to wear to work. In the '60s and '70s, silk shirts, together with suit trousers were the rule rather than the exception for working women.
4. REBORN IN THE PRINT-CRAZY '80S
With fashion rules disappearing, the silk shirt broke new ground in the '80s and '90s, much thanks to Gianni Versace. The Italian designer legend introduced all-over printed silk shirts during a decade when people felt urged to show off individuality. No print was too bold or too wild, and in Miami, Los Angeles and Ibiza it was hard to walk a metre without being exposed to one colour-bursting silk shirt after the other.
5. BECOMING A WARDROBE STAPLE
When the '80s ended,'90s minimalism became the leading trend. Hence, the printed silk shirt slipped out of people's minds, but the multi-functionality and versatility of a plain model made it into an iconic item. Sure, you can always wear it to the office, but the item oozes effortless elegance and is perennially chic – so it works just as well for a night out, or a lazy day at the beach.
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