A white button down shirt tends to come up over and over again when we think about extending out our wardrobes and developing a truly great foundation that may benefit us for many years.
It’s been a fantastic foundational piece for me personally. I’ve been able to mix and match it in a variety of ways, and I find it really useful to have in my closet.
As my style has changed over the years, I’ve been able to take the idea of a white shirt and this notion of a core piece that can be easily mixed and matched and branch out a little bit to create a number of versions that really serve my style.
I’m going to show you how to style a white button down shirt, but I’ll focus on the four basic styles I have in my closet, beginning with the classic white shirt.
Classic White Shirt
I prefer to keep things basic and choose for a fairly traditional uniform that I know I can wear in a variety of ways and have worn for many years.
The first thing that comes to mind is a pair of narrow or slim cut jeans.
Basic blue or even black works nicely for me in my particular color palette.
It appeals to me because you can switch up the shoes, add new jewelry and accessories, and wear it throughout the year.
I also appreciate this because you can style up something incredibly basic, like a conventional button down, to make it feel more relaxed or formal.
I like to wear mine slightly unbuttoned, with the sleeves rolled up and tucked in. It provides me with a lot of versatility and makes it feel more like me.
Oversized White Shirt
The bigger version is something I like to reach for when I want my outfits to feel a little more relaxed, little more casual, and more current and fresh, using the same styling ideas as the fitted classic white shirt.
I prefer to keep the detailing consistent. I like collars, buttons, and long sleeves. However, because of the bigger fit, it now feels more substantial.
I prefer to keep the base of the outfits quite similar to the first set. Those skinny jeans or something very slim on the bottom look great.
Pairing it with my slightly bigger pants has been one of my favorite ways to wear it recently. This is a pair of jeans, but they’re so black that they appear to be pants in some situations. They have a high waist, front pleating, and then taper down to the ankle.
Everything feels really new by wearing the white shirt, billowy and big but a little open with a small tank below it, and then those pants.
Short-Sleeved White Shirt
The second style of white shirt that I have in my closet is a short-sleeved one, which is ideal for someone who lives in a hot area.
Even in the summer, having something that’s a touch open and definitely spacious is a great way to include the white shirt into your closet.
This is something I recently introduced and have been enjoying.
Take this short sleeve white shirt and pair it with a light colored pair of pants for a look that I think is perfect for spring.
I want these to be high-waisted and a little billowy, but yet tapered at the ankle, to keep with the airiness, breathability, and little bit of breathing room.
It provides me that structure, and bringing my frame into focus protects me from feeling too big and lost.
Another way I prefer to wear the white short-sleeved shirt is to dress it up a little.
It feels a little bit casual because of the short sleeves and slightly billowy overall design.
It becomes even more adaptable within my own closet by dressing it up a little. I enjoy doing it in two distinct ways.
The first is a simple skirt. A short black skirt or a longer pencil style will suffice. They both immediately dress it up a little.
The pencil style is more formal, particularly because it is lengthier. It instantly lifts the white shirt, making it feel less casual.
Going for fantastic jewelry, such as a pair of earrings, is a terrific way to highlight some detailing in your dress, especially if it’s hot outside and you’re forced to tie your hair back.
Another way I like to dress things up is with a pair of formal-looking pants.
Instead of shorts, I’d go for something with a full waistline, or instead of jeans, I’d go for something made of light wool. This is a very traditional cut.
Perhaps some detailing, such as front pleats. A greater length is a fantastic approach to accomplish this. Pair it with heels and play around with your accessories.
If you wear longer pants, you may make it feel quite elegant or even more casual. However, wear an open-toed sandal and a straw bag. It could be dressed down a lot more. Alternatively, if you choose a closed-toed shoe and a more formal bag. It has a more upscale vibe about it.
Feminine White Shirt
The final style of white shirt I’d like to discuss is the more feminine style. It’s something I just recently added to my closet.
I began experimenting with it a few years ago and only now really embraced it. It’s made a huge difference in my personal style.
It allows me a lot more versatility and gives me that base, that foundation of a white shirt without seeming overly expected, formal, or traditional.
I wear it in two distinct ways, and these are the two ways I like to wear all of my slightly softer white shirts.
With a pair of simple black pants, the first look is a little more suited up. Because the shirt is a little billowy, I like something that fits pretty tight to the body and is somewhat cut. It contributes to a fantastic proportion play.
I like to repeat the colors, so a black purse, a fantastic accent, such as a scarf, some fantastic jewelry, and a nice tiny pump is a terrific way to dress it up.
However, instead of going for the more formal-feeling pocketbook, you might go for something a little more casual, perhaps slouchy and a little larger, and then pair it with a ballet flat. That would also look wonderful, and it’s something I like to wear.
Last but not least, I like to pair this with a pair of jeans. It quickly dresses it down, in my opinion. It makes it feel very approachable on a daily basis. This is a terrific approach to wear something casual on the weekend, especially if you live a laid-back lifestyle.
You may style it in a versatility of ways. I think I’ll go with gray. I really like how this looks; it’s a little softer than black, and the contrast between the top and the jeans isn’t as strong. It has a softer and more approachable tone to it. It’s also an excellent method to give your accessories some color versatility.
Choosing a hue that is off beigey is a terrific way to tie the two together. The white and gray have become a little more joined.
There’s something about the dainty sneaker that echoes the top’s delicate features. The little structured bag then aids in the creation of that structured anchor.
It’s something I’ve been really enjoying lately, and I’ve been styling it in a variety of ways.
If you’re building your closet and aren’t sure if a white shirt is right for you, think outside the box and try these alternative variations.
Because having variety in my closet has been extremely beneficial to me. I’ve been able to use the notion of this core item while adding more versatility and evolving my style.
I hope it has the same effect on you.