How to style a button-down, white shirt


Trends come and go, but the versatility of the classic white button-down is perpetual. It has the benefits of a blank slate and can be dressed down or dressed up. The white shirt or button-down is a classic, as well as a basic in everyone’s wardrobe (and when I say everyone, I include men!) Here are some ideas for styling your favorite white shirt:

There is little that doesn’t go well with a pair of jeans, and unsurprisingly, the white button-down is no exception. Both items are two of your closets “go-to’s,” and together, they look so fresh and clean. Try wearing a sweater, either v-neck or crew neck, with the collar out and the white shirt peeking out from underneath the sweater. I recommend getting a white shirt that is longer in the back compared to the front, so the shirt has a fresh spin on this classic look. Pair the sweater and white shirt with a dark skinny jean, and you will look very put together.
Another simple but classic look is front tucking the white shirt into your jeans and leaving the back out. Also knotting the shirt at the waist, so it sits right on top or just below your jeans with a nice boot-cut jean is also a very smart look. Wear with a pair of casual winter boots or a relaxed pair of sneakers for a comfortable, casual appearance.
In addition to jeans, you can also pair your sneakers or comfy shoes with a plaid or black pant with the white shirt for a weekend vibe.

Girls night out or out with your sweetie
When it comes to those fun nights out with your friends or your significant other, the white shirt once again comes to the rescue.
Add a warm scarf and place the scarf behind your back, and below your shoulder, near your bicep and wrap under your arms. You can keep the blouse out, or front tucked, again add your favorite skinny or dark denim jeans, and you will once again have that comfortable, cozy but chic, night out look.
Another spin on this look is to wear a long sleeveless vest that hits below the behind. For a night out on the town, I recommend a “teddy bear” fabric vest to add that something special. For this look, leggings are the perfect compliment with your knee high or over the knee boots (which are still on trend in case you are wondering!)
If you are more of a dress or skirt girl, I would suggest pairing it with a voluminous skirt, tucked-in. Another great look is to pair the blouse under a trapeze or fit and flare dress; either sleeveless, ¾ sleeved, or short-sleeved. The white blouse looks great with these types of shapes and gives a nice Parisian, chic look. Add tights and knee-high boots or pumps to complete the outfit.

A few quintessential office looks come together with the perfect white shirt.
A classic camel colored blazer, white shirt, and black pants or skirt is a perennial favorite. A white shirt with either a high-waisted skirt or pencil skirt with pumps and a waist belt is another office winner.
Lastly, nothing says importance and power more than with the classic black blazer and a flared pair of matching black pants with, you guessed it, the white blouse. The pants should skim the floor with just your toe area peeking out. Add a pair of pointed pumps or heeled booties to complete the look.
For a more “casual Friday” business attire look, try a white shirt paired with a duster (sleeveless or sleeved) and add a pair of dark pants and even a pair of colorful heels to brighten up your otherwise colorless ensemble. It is a stylish look that won’t disappoint.
As with everything, there are a few drawbacks to this staple piece. The white can make you look a bit washed out (adding accessories can help with this) and they get dirty really quickly; bleach and other laundry cleaning solutions help.
Here are just some of the advantages of a nice white blouse:
• It gives you a clean, crisp look.
• It combines with every other color you have.
• It is a perfect background for your fabulous accessories like jewelry and scarves.
• It is perfect to wear with all the plaid or colored trousers that are so fashionable now.
• You can wear them in so many different ways.
– Tuck them in
– Wear with a belt
– Semi tuck/front or side tuck
– Wear them lose over leggings as long as the back side is covered
– Tie a knot in front
– Wear to the Oscars with a formal long skirt (remember Sharon Stone!) There are many examples of how to wear (and rock) this chic and timeless shirt. Try one, try them all! Most importantly, feel great in your white, must-have, classic shirt!
Luann is a lifelong curator of fashion and enjoys researching the latest trends and tips for all of our Capital Region Living readers. You can reach her at


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