Best Ways To Style Your White Button Up And Down Shirt

Knowing the difference between the two is the key to wearing them in varied ways.

Reviewed by Amy Salinger, Fashion Stylist Amy Salinger Amy SalingerFashion Stylist facebook_icontwitter_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc Pratima Ati MSc linkedin_icon
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijani Roy Chowdhury MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years

If you want to ace the button-up and button-down shirts, then you are in the right place without a doubt. In this article, we will show you the differences between the two and provide you with the necessary inspiration in order to help you rock them both. All you will need to do is, scroll down and gather all the information you need before trying those whites. Once done, you can find the inspo and steal the show wherever you go. Whether you want to wear them for your work or a date, we are here to help. So, go ahead and read on!

protip_icon Ace The Look
  • Body Type: Pair your shirt with flared bottoms or palazzo pants if you have an apple-shaped body, mid or high-rise jeans for an hourglass body, and A-line skirts for a pear-shaped body.
  • Hairstyles: Tie your hair into a side plait, messy bun, light beach waves, or a high ponytail.
  • Lipstick: Opt for nudes for the office or go bold with maroon, coral, fuchsia, or a classic red for casual night outs.
  • Footwear: White or pop-colored sneakers, nude boots, and black wedges/ stilettos work best with this shirt.

What Is The Difference Between Button Up And Button Down Shirts?

Difference between button-up and button-down shirts

What’s with the jazz about button up and button down shirts, anyway? These are things we hear a lot about but never pay attention to. It’s quite straightforward. The difference between button up and button down shirts lies in their collars. Button down shirts have tiny buttons at the end of their collar flaps that fasten them to the shirt. Button up shirts don’t have these buttons on the collar. Button downs are technically button ups too, but the reverse is not always true.

protip_icon Fun Fact
The wide collars in the button-up and button-down shirts are also called Windsor collars. They have been named the Duke of Windsor.

Now that you know the difference between button ups and button downs, here are some of the most trendy yet straightforward ways of styling your classic white shirt.

Best Ways To Style White Button Up And Button down Shirts – Women

1. High Waisted Distressed Shorts With A Button Up Shirt

High waisted distressed shorts with button-up shirt
Image: Instagram @kimpatsukatya

Button up shirts are meant for times you want to look formal but don’t feel formal. Show off those calves (and your style) with a pair of distressed denim shorts and a crisp white shirt. Roll up your cuffs instead of buttoning them up. Complete the look with nude wedges, style your hair in waves, and you are sorted.

2. Button Down Shirt With Maxi Skirt

Button-down shirt with maxi skirt
Image: Instagram @splurgeonstyle

When we say formal fashion, we usually think of a pencil skirt paired with a crisp white shirt and finished off with a blazer. But, some meetings allow you to be informal and give you the freedom to be fashionable. Since your maxi skirts can swing both ways, you can style one with a white button down shirt. You can choose to add a belt or leave it as is. Style this look with pumps. On the other hand, a white button-down shirt can also be worn with a midi skirt. Jashan, a Youtuber, combined a slip dress with her button down linen white shirt, where the dress acts as a skirt. She says, “This is one of my favorite looks because this is very comfortable and gives a relaxed vibe. You can wear this out for any casual outing or dinner with your friends (i).”

3. Silk Button Up Shirt With Skinny Jeans

Silk button-up shirt with skinny jeans
Image: Instagram @oliviaoliviagc

Do a floppy front tuck, also called the “French tuck”, with your white button up silk blouse into a pair of skinny denims. Or you could go for straight leg pants too – they are very trendy right now! Put your hair up in a messy bun, and throw on white Converse shoes if you want to look casual. You can also flip this look around with beachy waves, a tote bag, and ankle strap heels.

4. Classic Button Down Shirt With Pencil Trousers

Go for brands like Ann Taylor, J.Crew, and Nine West that are known for their fit and finesse. After all, that is what white shirts need. Also, since your top will give a precise definition to your figure, you can go with flared pants to add layers or pencil trousers if you love the sleek, elegant look. You can also try tucking your shirt in for a perfect formal look.

5. White Button Up Shirt Dress

White button-up shirt dress
Image: Instagram

Dress shirts took over a while ago, but white dress shirts are pretty new to the game. It just looks exceptionally dapper to slip into a simple shirt dress. It’s casual chic at its beautiful best, isn’t it? You can choose to go with the casual flow and pick sneakers or Converse shoes for a minimalist look. Or, you can select wedges or pumps if you are headed to someplace special.

Fashion Stylist Amy Salinger advises, “Add your favorite jewelry for a serious pop. A white shirt dress is simple so it allows you to show off your favorite pieces!”

protip_icon Fun Fact
Both button-up and button-down shirts became popular with women during the mid-1800s.

6. Crop Style White Button Up Shirt

Crop style white button-up shirt
Image: Instagram

We all love crop tops, don’t we? You can either buy an actual button up crop top or convert an existing button up shirt into one. Just leave the last few buttons unfastened and tie the flaps of your shirt together into a knot. Sport this with denim shorts, a maxi skirt, culottes or anything else that is stylish but balances out the edginess.

7. Long Button Down Shirt With Jeggings

Button-down shirt with jeggings
Image: Instagram @styledbykemi

Style your long, dressy button down shirt dress differently and create an entirely new outfit just by adding a few pieces. Sport it with leggings or jeggings, ankle strap sandals, heels, or boots, and a statement accessory that marries the vibe of the outfit. You can opt for white leggings if you are going for a monochrome look. Before you know it, you’ve worked out a beautiful ensemble with pieces you had lying at home.

8. Linen White Button Up Shirt With Denim Skirt

Linen white button-up shirt with denim skirt
Image: Instagram @nujent

Bring together an airy linen shirt and a robust denim skirt to look like a real game changer without changing too many rules. Since blue and white is a classic combination anyway, play around with patterns and fabrics. Count on your accessories and makeup game to ace this look. Closed footwear like pumps or stilettos look great, but you can also sport gladiators if you are fishing for a bohemian vibe.

Amy Salinger comments, “I would add that this shirt is more suitable to be worn in warmer weather since it is linen. In that case, the footwear should be for warmer weather, such as sandals or open-toe chunky heels.”

9. White Button Down Shirt And Trousers

White button-down shirt and trousers
Image: Instagram

A crisp white shirt and black trousers are staples in a formal dressing closet. But can you beat their monotony and look like you are walking in Champs Elysees or French Riviera? Of course, you can. Pair your slim ruffle trousers with a well-fitted white button down shirt. Let your footwear will be the showstopper here. Add a beret or a fedora if you are in the mood and slay it in style. Oh, and you are taking your tote bag along, right?

10. White Oversized Button Up Shirt With Denim

Oversized white button-up shirt with denim
Image: Instagram

Wearing oversized clothing is a thing, and that’s been established for a while now. In fact, a plain white oversized shirt or T-shirt is a real charmer. You can match it with anything, depending on your vibe. Like shorts when you are at the beach or in summers, jeans when you are meeting friends, or a skater skirt if you are headed for lunch. You can also try accessorizing it depending on what you are doing that day. Make sure your look adds up to a hundred because it’s one of the most comfortable ways to do it.

Infographic: Tips To Style White Button-Up And Button-Down Shirts

White button-up and button-down shirts are basic but extremely versatile. Whether you have a crisp cotton shirt or a satin, flowy one, there are endless ways to make this wardrobe staple work for any occasion. Check out the infographic below for some styling tips and get inspired.

tips to style white button up and button down shirts (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Now do you know the difference between button up and button down shirts? This article not only helps you understand the difference but gives you ideas on how to style each as well. With these ideas you would be able to style one in place of the other for a formal or casual look as you please. Keep in mind the length of shirt, the fit, and color when opting for either of these, to make the right style statement with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of button-up shirts?

There are five main types of button-up shirts: the open collar, shirt jackets, utility shirts, collarless shirts, and button-downs.

Is a polo shirt a button-down?

Yes. Button-down shirts are also called “polo shirts.” They were first designed in the 19th century for polo players to help them keep their collars from flapping around while they played.

Is it OK to wear a button-down shirt untucked?

Yes. It is fashionable to wear a button-down shirt untucked for casual occasions. You can also try layering it on a basic t-shirt for a laid-back look.

Is a button-up shirt formal?

Classic button-up shirts, with buttons on the collars, are considered formal wear. Most button-up shirts are considered formal wear. However, how ideal it is for etiquette also depends on the material used and how you style it.

Is buttoning the top button in style?

It depends. Some people swear it looks chic, while others consider it a strict no-no. However, you can button up the top when wearing a tie or bow tie and for formal events.

What are half button-up shirts called?

It depends on the sleeve length, shirt style, number of buttons, and collar type. Half-button shirts can be kurtas, camp shirts, or polo shirts.

Key Takeaways

  • A white button-up shirt is a versatile piece of garment and can be styled variously for different occasions.
  • Pair it with high-waisted jeans or a skirt along with sneakers and a belt for a casual outing.
  • You can also accessorize it with statement jewelry and necklaces, or a fashionable scarf, hat, or sunglasses to complete the look.
  • To expand your horizons, opt for a button-up shirt dress instead and choose footwear to match the occasion—flats and converse for casual and heels for a special day out.
how to style a white button up

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to style a white button up t-shirt for any occasion! From casual to dressy, this video shows you how to make this classic piece versatile.

Personal Experience: Source

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Amy Salinger

Amy SalingerFashion Stylist

Amy Salinger is the founder of Style Method NYC. She assists clients with unique body types, lifestyles, and budgets and helps them flaunt fabulous styles. Amy has appeared on Lifetime TV, The Today Show and MTV. She has also worked in editorial, television, and with private clients for over 20 full bio

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