And Her Collection Of Shirt Blouses
Lauren McNeil has worn a white shirt almost every day of her adult life.
“Some may call it boring,” she says. “I don’t think so. It is a simple look that works for me and my lifestyle. I am a very spontaneous and adventurous person, but when it comes to my wardrobe I like safe and consistent” Then she goes on to explain that her shirts range in price from $10 to $650. “My ‘collection has no criteria. If I find a white shirt that I love, I buy it. Actually, I get more compliments for my shirts that cost $20 than I do for one that costs $200.”
Imagine the simplicity of a signature fashion style that almost every clothing brand and designer offers. “I adore the $50-$175 line of Ralph Lauren tuxedo shirts and his Polo button-down style,” she explains. “I can’t begin to tell you how many of both styles I own. Then there is my all-time favorites by French designer Charles Cotonay that are $300ish.”
When Lauren gets down in the more affordable range, her list of loves includes the $19 Old Navy white shirts, Target’s Marino white button-down numbers from its men’s department that sell for $20, and the J-Crew line for $40 to $100.
“Once I find something I love I tend to buy it over and over again. Thankfully, Ralph Lauren, Charles Cotonay and others don’t often change their basic styles.”
Lauren says her love of white shirt styles is endless.
“However, I have found that if a white shirt has ruffles or pleats, then there are always instant sparks,” she continues, and adds with a smile. “I tend to stick with jeans or pleated knee-length skirts and I am most comfortable in Ferragamo flats or my tennis shoes.” For special evening events she offers: “If I could wear a white Ralph Lauren men’s tuxedo shirt, black cigarette pants, diamond earrings, a sexy pair of heels or flats, and carry a black Chanel purse for every evening social occasion I would be happy. It works every time.”
She rhapsodizes when she talks about visiting Charles Cotonay’s Paris shop at 25 rue Tronchet: “He captured my heart when I discovered his first shirt while shopping in Vail many years ago, and when I visited his own shop in Paris for the first time, I immediately added its number to the speed dial on my phone. I can wear his shirts to the fanciest function or to carpool the kids. I love to snow ski in them because the collars look adorable popping out from under all those chunky warm clothes.”
A graduate of Newman High School, Lauren grew up in New Orleans. She attended Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, and graduated from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in social counseling. She and Dr. Patrick McNeil, her husband, just purchased a new home in Mandeville’s upscale neighborhood, The Sanctuary. With a blended family of six school-age children, Lauren’s no-fuss style fits perfectly with her busy lifestyle.
Fortunately, the couple’s new home provides plenty of closet space for Lauren’s white shirts. “Yes, I have a white section of my closet that takes up the bulk of the space,” she says. “I like walking into my closet and having it completely organized.” And what happens to her discarded white shirts? “The ones I get rid of usually are swiped by my daughter or end up in the trash because they are threadbare, stained or torn. I am perfectly fine with wearing things over and over.”