I consider the white button down a forgotten classic, something you know you should have in your closet but are reluctant to buy. You think what good can I do with just a plain white button down? Maybe images of you at your first job in an ill-fitting button down flashes through your mind, 23 years old in a full-on lady suit completed by a boring white button down and brown leather belt that could be mistaken for your dad’s. (Yes this happened and no photos were not taken although my mother did offer.) This is not what was intended for this classic piece, I promise you. Classic can so easily turn into boring, but more often it can be a piece that works overtime in your closet. Let’s take a look at some shining examples, shall we? 
how to wear a white button down
source: one / two
Love the mix of lady like and menswear with big full skirts and a tailored white blouse. I only wish I would have shown up to the office in this look. Le sigh. I also like the two different ways to wear the short sleeve button down — tied or tucked. Adorable, either way. 

white button down denim heels
sources, l to r: one / two / three / four
At first glance this collage maybe looks like 4 similar denim stylings, but if you look closer you’ll actually see 4 different types of denim here. Boyfriend jeans with nude accessories at the top left, light wash denim with a pop of red cross body, then below it’s high-waisted denim mixed with simple accessories and finally a pair of unexpected coated denim and printed heels. One shirt, but multiple opportunities here. 
white button down trench jacket
sources: one / two

When I’m in a pinch for a real good outfit, I typically go towards simple layers. Layering pieces just make an outfit feel more thought out even though sometimes it’s the complete opposite for me — I’m just grabbing things as I run out the door and hope they work. When you layer classic pieces (like on Julia and Kat, above) it’s hard to miss the target of looking pulled together. A good classic button down can also go from season to season. 

white shirt dress white button down
sources: one / two
One of the best cases I can make for the classic white shirt is the ability to change it with the addition or subtraction of accessories. Take each of these looks, for example, without the sunglasses, the clutch or the big hat, necklace, worn-in crossbody (alright and the perfectly messy boho hair) you would literally just have a white shirt. It’s a blank canvas for whatever look you are going for and it’s having it’s moment in the sun. 
Do you have this staple in your closet yet or do you have one you’ve invested in and love to live in? This Madewell one has been my staple from last fall. I’m almost brave enough to wear it without pants like Leandra above (that’s a joke. I’ve already worn it without pants.)
< white button-down round up from around the web > 

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45 Responses

  1. Wow. This post really opened my eyes and now I wish I didn't give my white button down away. I really did think that white button downs were a useless classic. Thanks Kendi!!!
    Autumn Renee

  2. I need to find a shirt like that. I used to have a great one from Target with some fun detailing, but then I washed and dried it (oops), and… it definitely took on more of a Hooters look. Which is especially impressive for a pretty flat chested girl.
    I always have a hard time finding ones that aren't completely see through because sometimes I just don't want to have to wear a camisole over my bra.
    It's hard being a girl.

  3. You have been hitting it out of the park with your posts lately, Kendi! Loving this roundup. Now I need to get myself a classic white button-down…

  4. Brooks Brothers makes a great button down – not at all older society lady as most of their clothes read. It has the perfect amount of stretch and is a bit fitted, plus you can wash and dry and wear (without ironing!).

  5. You're so right, Kendi. I need to bust out my button down. I have a fresh new one purchased in August from J. Crew, and it STILL has the tags on it! The horror. But it is a go-to, for reals. I also feel this way about white ribbed tanks. I am a white tank whore. LOL.

  6. Totally!! Funny you should mention that, seeing as I'm obsessed with simplicity lately, especially a white shirt with simple jeans. Perfection!

    ~ franciscamay.blogspot.com

  7. You can never go wrong with a white button shirt!!!!



  8. Mine, too. Mine, too. I think it's because these styles seem so do-able and approachable! It's nice to pin styles you can actually wear 😉

  9. I've bought two in the last six months, but clearly have not been wearing them to their full potential.

  10. We completely agree! The classic white button-down is an absolute essential in every girls arsenal! It's so easy to pair with denim, trousers or a great skirt! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I found my perfect white button down at Goodwill…and originally from American Eagle (I NEVER shop there) but it fit like a glove for $3. Who would've guessed.

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