Some people have a desert island dish they can’t stop thinking about, others a curated collection of records they would save in a house fire. But for me, there are a few choice pieces in my wardrobe that I would feel naked (both figuratively and literally) without. And button-up shirts feature heavily on this list.

Anna Quan founder and designer Anna Hoang believes that while shirts might not be the star of the show, they’re certainly the quiet achievers of our wardrobes. The brand is celebrating its 10th birthday this season with a fresh take on the iconic Anne shirt – a cornerstone of some of Australia’s most fashionable closets. “The ultimate silhouette is one that you get the most wear out of,” Hoang says. “For me, it’s a loosely cut style that isn’t too oversized but also not too fitted”.

But finding the Goldilocks of button-ups isn’t just about fit. Fabric plays a big part too. Cotton poplin is a classic for a reason, but more fluid materials can offer different styling options. Ana Piteira, the brains behind Blanca, lets the fabric steer the silhouette. “More structured styles, like in a cotton drill, lend themselves to being worn as a shacket or layering piece in the cooler months. But we also have quite breezy, almost sheer pieces in the collection. Looking for different fabrics allows us to offer more interesting textures and sometimes more vibrant colours,” she says.

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Whether they’re boxy and oversized or silk-cut and fluid, there’s not much that a good shirt can’t do. Styled with jeans on the weekend, half-tucked into a pair of high-waisted pants for work or worn layered over a slip dress, effortless is the word that springs to mind. These are the styles to shop now and wear for seasons to come.

White
Plain and simple. What makes the perfect white shirt is different for everyone. Lee Mathews, Friends With Frank and Harris Tapper keep things classic with loose-fit styles and curved stepped hems. Anna Quan leans into a utility-chic vibe with chest patch pockets and signature oversized cuffs. And Bassike offers up a borrowed-from-the-boys cut that’s finished with contrasting trim and split elbow details.

Classic
Beige, blue and black: these colours are timeless choices that you’ll return to again and again. This season Matteau delivers a stone-hued take on its relaxed-fit style, while Incu means business with the Catherine silhouette in light blue. Both Camilla and Marc and Marle make a case for adding a black shirt to your line-up – but pay attention to the details.

Stripes
Stripes are a sure-fire staple. Whether you err on the classic side or opt for a colour pop, a little bit of print never goes astray. Melbourne-based labels E Nolan and Elka Collective demonstrate blue and white done right. Blanca tones things down this season with the Fern in beige and the Phoebe in grey – a departure from the brand’s quintessential bright colourways. Assembly Label proves cocoa is having a moment with this richly hued update to its Everyday style, while Friend of Audrey adds a splash of green to the mix with the Riviera silhouette.

Silk
There is something instantly opulent about an outfit built around silk shirting. Choose elegant hues for evening: try chocolate brown from Sir, burnt ochre by Assembly Label, Silk Laundry’s jet black boyfriend fit or this cream style care of Caves Collect. If you’re partial to a pop of colour, LMND updates its Elvira style in a verdant green, while Oroton’s poppy-red hue is retina grabbing. The current trend for sheer styles has surpassed the naked dress into the realm of see-through shirting. Arnsdorf and St Agni cater to this corner with a dose of cool-girl charm.

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