The Sartorial Student – Week 8

Roisin Kiber 11 March 2010

The Sexy Mormon

There’s a girl I know who’s known as the ‘Sexy Mormon’. It’s not that she’s of that particular religious persuasion, nor that she shows any predilection for mass marriage ceremonies or an aversion to cigarettes and alcohol. It’s because of the clothes she wears. Her signature is a basic shirt buttoned all the way up to neck, prim and restrained but kittenishly and flirty. It’s a look with timeless sex appeal; whether folksy plaid or crisp white linen, the more you button up the more people will want to button it down. When did the repression become a fashion statement? Well, hasn’t it always been most suggestive of all to hold a little bit back?

On both male and female wearers the look can be faux-conservative, granddad-chic, 60s mod or preppy polished. Think Blair Waldorf and her Catholic school sexpot look. Think that girl with the bob in the Fred Perry ads. Subject of, there’s always the worry that an old-school tennis shirt might border on being a little, how shall we say… ‘ASBO youth’ (the short-lived fame of Preston and his Ordinary Boys did a lot to damage to the buttoned shirt’s image…) But if worn in a carefully styled and with a sense of humour, there’s no reason to worry. Catfish (around the corner from Sainsbury’s) currently stock a tempting range of discounted shirts in their sale; there’s even a quirky tailored gingham number for girls, if it hasn’t yet been snapped up.

The alternative is a proper white shirt; check out Top Man (girls too; this look is all about the androgyny) for their wide and wallet-friendly range, many of them with that highly desirable shrunken collar that’ll flatter and not cut your ears off with its starched edges. Pair with a pencil shirt for a look that’s pure Mad Men secretary, tuck into jeans for Ralph Lauren outdoorsy chic, or work it twee indie style with a brooch at the collar and some mannish brogue shoes.

Roisin Kiber