The architect Le Corbusier was obsessed with standards, in the sense that the ‘core’ of a design could be found through a development process, which one could subsequently give one’s individual interpretation to. By doing so, different versions of perfection beyond practicality could be found. There was a certain birth of classics that came with that process of standardization, design ideas that never went out of style. Men’s shirting has gone through such a process, and it has been an essential staple in a man’s wardrobe for centuries. A standard for men’s shirts exists that is still lacking for women, whose wardrobes are not rooted in classics but are rather based on seasonal changes. A hundred women’s shirt variations are introduced across a hundred brands per year, yet none are developed so far as to get a classic status; to become really good.
Right now, there is no shirt standard for women that rivals men’s. The best we can do is buying a men’s shirt in a smaller size. It doesn’t always work. Go to Jermyn Street in London and a handful of tailors will give you a perfect men’s shirt right away. Ask for a women’s and they change the cloth to be thinner and elasticated, the fit to hug the figure, and decrease the overall level of quality. Even on the factory floor, women’s shirting specialists are surprisingly hard to come by. Truth is that most in Europe simply subcontract women’s shirting or send them to be made at a department that specializes in other techniques. This is not right. A garment that is so influential, versatile and a staple in its own right deserves more. Call it whatever you like, in plain words, it is shirting inequality. We should not have to appropriate or copy from a standard that is not developed to our bodies and sensibilities. In a world suffering from a small attention span, it is time to establish a true women’s standard and bring quality where it is due.
The Bibi Blangsted shirts are cut for a woman and made using techniques known to men. Collaborating with specialized shirt makers, the quality is handled by experts to create a garment to last and with beauty. It is a small step to create a wardrobe which is finally one’s own.