A Love Letter to the Summer Shirt I Can’t Stop Wearing

I wasn’t looking for a new relationship, but after I listlessly tried on a not-overly-exciting-looking-on-the-hanger shirt at the mall—it was like a long-shot blind date, I promise—it was all over. This shirt draped, had a hem that actually hung below my mid-rise waistband (a rarity in these fabric-saving crop top days) and wasn’t wildly pricey. In the month since, I’ve become hooked on collecting Madewell’s Central Shirt, a top that comes in a bajillion colors and has slight modifications that all tread the line between work and casual, with a super-flattering fit. Here, a totally non-sponsored look at all the ways I wear it.

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Tie It At Your Waist

The Central Shirt is, at its most basic, a full-cut short-sleeve shirt. The slightly longer back hem is engineered for the perfect half-tuck—or in this case, a back-tuck that leaves the front pieces free to tie for a relaxed but still polished style. (And it looks suspiciously like the shirt from Gwyneth’s self-parodying SNL sketch.)

Loosely Tucked

Turns out I’m not the only one with a Central Shirt obsession—it’s been a best seller since it was introduced in 2016. Today it comes in lots of different fabrics, like this viscose, which has a heavy drape that feels all “rich lady’s blouse.” I like wearing the dotted version with skinny black pants for a classic French-girl style.

Gauzy Tunic

In a gauzy fabrication and a slightly longer tunic cut, this baby is comfy enough to wear untucked, biking around on vacation in Palm Springs. Full disclosure: I just threw the top on over some loose pajama pants I’d worn to bed. So thanks for elevating my lazy Sunday look, Madewell.

Basic Black

Sometimes I’ll just throw on a drapey version over jeans and go to work. The button-front, accessorized with a designer belt and a couple of nice necklaces, looks way more profesh than my usual T-shirt. This black top has become the hero of my wardrobe, a veritable Linus blanket I’ve worn everywhere from arty cocktail parties to just knocking around the house.