Closet Staple Series: White Button Down

I think I fell in love with the classic white button down during the scene in Risky Business when Tom Cruise is dancing around his house in his underwear and the white shirt and socks, singing into his hairbrush. It was the epitome of cool teenage freedom to my little childhood brain and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now I’m grown and I know the white button down is a classic, elegant piece that will be one of the most worn pieces in your wardrobe IF you can find the right fit.

The trick is to find a brand that fits your particular body type- if you’re busty, the buttons can pull apart and gap across your chest so you’ll need a brand with some stretch to allow for “the girls” while still giving you a tapered fit at the waist. If you’re slim, you need to have enough flair so that it doesn’t look like you borrowed straight from the boys, look for feminine touches like pearl buttons or a slight ruffle to the sleeve. And always, always, always pay for the dry cleaning. Even if the tag says it’s not necessary- trust me sisters, the starched and pressed look of a crisp white button down is worth every cent. The only exception is for the gauze linen of a vacation button down, worn loose as a cover up or tied at the waist.

Here are some of my favorite ways to style a classic white button down.


Look 1 – Parisian Chic

Under a Tweed Sheath Tank Dress

The perfect way to wear a sleeveless dress in cooler weather is to layer a white button down underneath, throw on some tights and boots, and you’re ready for colder climates.

Look 2 – All American

Crisp & Classic White on White

There’s nothing more refined than an all white look- just keep a Tide pen in your purse for emergencies!!

Look 3 – Cover Up

Top a Sundress To Go From Day To Night

A great alternative to a pashmina or wrap for summer nights is to throw a white button down over your sundress and tie it at the waist, you’ll stay covered and look elegant.

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