A button-down shirt, not to be confused with a button-up, has a significant number of casual and professional styling possibilities, especially when you’re committed to picking and choosing the right complementary pieces. Many wear the top strictly in work environments, but if you temporarily alter its structure, the outfit options continue to increase. Keeping in mind styling tips can help you make the most of every purchase, letting you wear each button-down shirt in ways far beyond its initial look.
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1. Create a Bra Top
Some twisting, tucking and manipulating of the fabric of the button-down shirt will result in a strapless bra top that would look fabulous with everything from jeans to chinos to a midi skirt. No one will even know that it was once a long-sleeved, buttoned-to-the-top shirt. Wear your favorite strapless push-up bra with it so you stay comfortable without any bra straps showing.
2. Create a Crop Top
The previously mentioned front-tying technique will result in a crop top style, but other strategic tying methods can let you create a more obvious dramatic crop top from a button-down shirt, and there’s no sewing required. There are several techniques you can try that allow you to maintain the majority of the initial structure while showing a peek of the midriff. Another possibility is doing an off-the-shoulder, midriff-baring style that looks like you’re wearing a completely different top.
One of the benefits of this alternative is that it takes a daytime look and brings it right into the nighttime. If you’re going out to summer happy hour with the girls after work, hop into the bathroom and transform the structured shirt into a crop top, swap out your shoes if you so choose, and you’re ready to go out for the night in chic attire.
3. Sport It With Shorts
There are a multitude of ways you can wear a button-down shirt with shorts. A white button-down shirt with denim shorts is a classic pairing that you can wear with loafers and a structured handbag. You could swap out the white for any hue or pattern, such as pinstripe or gray.
Black shorts with a white button-down shirt, theatrical black sunglasses, a trendy, structured handbag, and black strappy heels work for many scenarios.
4. Tie It in the Front
Tying a traditional button-down shirt at the front at the waist puts a fun spin on the style. You could tie it and have the two pieces hang down or tuck them in. The more casual vibe of this altered style makes it perfect for pairing with jeans.
5. Tuck It In
Many times, tucking in the button-down shirt rather than letting it hang out will allow for a neater, more streamlined appearance. Whether you’re wearing the top with a skirt or pants, tuck it in first to see how it looks before choosing to wear it hanging out. Since the shirt will be more snugly against your body than some of the other styles, opt for a seamless sexy bra that makes you feel fabulous and comfortable without showing any embellishments through the shirt fabric.
6. Wear It With Straight-Leg Jeans
Sporting a button-down shirt looks fantastic with straight-leg jeans. Don’t automatically go for the blue denim option. Consider switching hues with the seasons, such as by modeling brown or burnt orange straight-leg jeans in fall and pink, yellow or lavender in spring.
7. Pair It With a Skirt
A midi skirt is a fabulous pairing with a button-down shirt. For example, wear a sleek leather midi pencil skirt with black heels, a white button-down shirt, a silver statement necklace and a silver watch. If you want a punch of shimmering pizzazz, think about a gold sequined midi skirt, a white button-down shirt, gold strappy heels, gold earrings and a gold clutch.
If an A-line skirt is more your style, try a white front-tied button-down shirt with a black floral A-line skirt, black vintage sunglasses and pink or black pumps. Short skirts are another option. Think about a light blue button-down shirt with a white, black or denim short skirt.
8. Wear It Open
Although many will opt for wearing the shirt buttoned up, you could also wear it open. For example, you could sport a white crop top with denim shorts and an open light blue button-down or a black crop top with white shorts and a matching open white button-down shirt.
9. Put It Under a Dress
Wearing a button-down shirt under a dress may seem like it would have a stuffy appearance, but choose the right pieces, and it can be anything but. Let’s say you have a gorgeous little black A-line dress that you’ve been dying to wear, but it looks more appropriate for a night on the town than for the office. Put the dress over a crisp white button-down shirt, pair it with black pumps and black eyeglasses, and you have a daytime-worthy ensemble you could easily wear to work or on various outings.
Start Shopping for Button-Down Shirts
There are so many ways to alter button-down shirts that it’s impossible not to fall in love with them. They’re ideal for daytime and nighttime, professional settings, running errands and many outings and happenings in between. You could show as much or as little skin as you want and customize the tops to your preferences. While white button-down shirts are a must, stock up on various other colors, such as black, gray and light blue, that could be terrific for putting together an exceptional number of outfits.