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The notion of a fashion uniform has become ubiquitous given increased concerns around the industry’s (particularly fast fashion) impact on the environment. But for this busy mother and writer, having a staple wardrobe is as much about time as saving the planet. My number one go-to, since being introduced to this look in the 90’s by Carolina Herrera, is the crisp button-down.
After stumbling upon With Nothing Underneath – or WNU as it’s affectionately known – in London this summer, I began coveting the brand’s impeccably tailored, sustainable and effortlessly chic shirts in spades.
With Nothing Underneath was launched in 2017 by Pip Durell, a former Vogue stylist and Tatler Jewelry editor, who sought to “give women the shirt they deserve.” While working in fashion, Pip found “there wasn’t [a] focus on women’s shirts despite being a key component of all our wardrobes, and therefore our day-to-day lives. It seems to have always been an afterthought.”
I was grateful to explore the WNU store – the brand’s first; a recent milestone – and experience firsthand the quality and variety of this noble wardrobe essential. As a recurrent men’s shirt wearer, I was immediately taken by the chic British tailoring (including keeping the buttons on the right like true menswear) and altering of cuts to be most flattering for women. With this attention to detail, and variations such as more room in the bust and dropped shoulders, WNU styles are feminine rather than boxy.
As a female founded company – started with Pip’s savings and to date sans investors – focusing on fit and effortless wearability is the heart of the WNU ethos. Inspired by the “laid-back luxe of the early 90’s” and imagery from Bruce Weber’s Banana Republic campaigns of that era, Pip designs from the perspective of sought-after style versus fashion trends.
WNU is more than a wearable brand that goes from work to weekend – it embodies social responsibility and is focused on sustainability. The brand takes great pride in its recent B Corp certification and being fully organic since 2020 (when WNU began sourcing from Better Cotton Initiative, the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton).
The breadth of fabrics – Poplin, Brushed, Weave, Hemp, Linen, Silk and Seersucker – which cover our year-round fashion needs, are sourced and woven to order locally in Portugal and Italy. Poplin, Brushed, Oxford and Weave shirts utilize organic cotton, while Linen and Weave shirts are comprised of natural fibers from flax plants; 100% recycled silk is used for the Silk collection.
“We [are] looking at the lifespan of an item of clothing, as well as the production and materials…you don’t want clothes that lose their fit after one wash, you want to invest in stylish wardrobe staples that are good to the planet and will last for years without a huge price tag.”
Borrowed From The Boys
WNU’s menswear-inspired shirts come in a variety of styles – and hues – that are as timeless as they are effortless:
The WNU Original, featuring a relaxed oversized fit, longer body, double button cuff and slightly curved hem.
This everyday oversized shirt features a generous cut that does not forget our femininity – thanks to a drop shoulder, flat hem and relaxed, boxy shape.
Designed slightly oversized with relaxed shoulders and a flattering curved hemline, it works on all shapes – for all occasions.
The most feminine of WNU shapes – it’s short and cute – as it’s collarless with neat cuffs. This relaxed, shorter cut also features a pleat at the back.
With a Cuban collar, short sleeves and a boxy cut that hangs loose from the body, this vintage-inspired men’s bowling shirt has been redesigned for us girls.
The most luxe, featuring a v-neckline, mother of pearl double-buttoned cuffs and a slightly loose fit for elegant draping.
Having a uniform does not mean you relinquish your sense of self-expression. Not a fan of accessories, I adore WNU’s bespoke monogramming to customize my look. You can choose from a range of numbers, letters and icons. Take that, Brooks Brothers.
Five More Reasons to don With Nothing Underneath
- WNU’s “Find Your Shirt” can guide you determining the right shirt, shape and size, to meet your needs.
- Recognizing that we don’t just borrow menswear for shirts, WNU reimagined classic boxers, creating loose fit – yet aptly tailored for women – shorts. Available in Seersucker ($63), Poplin ($53), Weave ($63), Hemp ($69) and Linen ($69).
- Want the ultimate in loungewear? Go for a “Weekend” coordinating set ($184 for shirt with shorts) in select fabrics.
- As a much-loved item in your closet, WNU shirts will have the lowest CPW (cost-per-wear) than most things you own.
- Pip Durell is often asked about blazer collabs, a natural fit for the WNU brand. While nothing is in the works, this is a dream gig. Stay tuned…
Get dressed with WNU here.