Columbus design duo creates what aims to be the ultimate staple piece: the perfect white button-up.

Pam Farber was talking with friend Kathy Turner about a trip to Paris.

"Kathy," Pam said, "they dress so nice."

The duo, 60 and 56, started discussing their favorite things-and how they are willing to spend almost anything on an item they love.

Then why, they wondered, could they not find a white shirt they relished?

They walked to Farber's closet and pulled out several white button-ups. They liked parts of each-this fabric, that collar, those button positions. But none pulled all their favorite components together.

Farber, the oldest daughter of Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, is no stranger to creating things. She's owned a shoe boutique, helped revive the Franklin Park Conservatory, run volunteer services for two Columbus mayors and now co-owns several Wendy's franchises around the state.

And Turner, a corporate retail veteran, is no stranger to fashion.

Soon, White Tulip Shirt Co. was born.

Their mission? To create the perfect white shirt. Their results? Stunning. Think luxurious cotton, a slimming cut and no gaping between buttons (it's magic!).

They've held successful trunk shows at Neiman Marcus in Fort Lauderdale and Léal in Upper Arlington, and the shirts are available at whitetulipshirtcompany.com. Feedback on the $250 tops, they say, has been excellent.

What are components you wanted?

Turner: We wanted to be able to wear jewelry and not have it hit a weird place.
Farber: Fabulous fabric. No clinging to the wrong spots or too thin or see-through.
Turner: Good button placement, collar size, length.

How long has it taken to develop?

Turner: At least a year. We got in a bunch of samples, and I drove around town and had all of our friends try them on and critique them.

How many iterations DID you create?

Turner: Three or four at least, and we're still tweaking.

What type of fabric are they made of?

Turner: Brazilian cotton, though we're exploring doing Italian.

What's the collar like?

Turner: We wanted to be able to pop the collar up without it hitting your hair and pushing it up. So it's graduated; it's shorter in the back.
Farber: Your jewelry shows!
Turner: You can wear jewelry and it doesn't take away from the shirt, or the shirt from the jewelry.

Stays or no stays?

Farber: Stays.

And the buttons?

Turner: They're horn buttons. They're actually bespoke buttons.

Talk about the cut.

Turner: We did darts in the back. It's flattering. It gives a more feminine fit.

It can be worn tucked in or out, yes?

Turner: It has a gusset, so it looks nice if you wear it out.
Farber: We were very, very disciplined about [details].

You have just one style of shirt. Are you exploring prints or colors?

Turner: What we're doing right now is when people really like it, we'll order it in stripes, or lavender. You can special order.

Who has responded to the shirts?

Turner: We had these two sisters from Columbia (at the Neiman Marcus show) who were just thrilled with these shirts-probably size 0s, just beautiful. And then we had women in their 70s who were thrilled.
Farber: Designers want to play in that 2, 4, 6 range, but we're alive! We're young at heart!

So what's this project been like?

Farber: It's just fun.
Turner: This is basically our midlife crisis! [laughing] This has given us another layer of our life.