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6 Ways To Wear A Button-Down You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

Let’s play blouse.

Copelyn Bengel
associate market editor Copelyn Bengel

As a chronic maximal dresser, I come to you with a dirty secret: My button-down outfits are the most important component of my closet these days. After years of mixed-media, pattern-blocked looks, complete with absurdly colorful and over-the-top accessories, this admission almost feels like a betrayal to my personal style — or maybe it’s just a quarter-life crisis in the form of mature dressing. And yet. The timeless, understated shirt style has become my most worn piece amongst the many insanely embellished and vividly colored items in my closet.

Of course, most minimalists have long-considered the humble button-front blouse a professional-life staple. But with the pandemic displacing workwear, it’s also been relocated to the back of most closets. Considering the resurgence of office life and the pragmatism of this story, though I hereby ask you to consider (or reconsider) the style.

Here’s why: There are few items that can transcend all seasons, and button-downs are definitely one of them. This summer, I found myself wearing the silhouette open over my swimsuit. Now, for fall, I fully intend to pair it with my choice blazer and jeans. The options are limitless for this staple, ranging from maximal layered looks, trend-forward fits, and classic everyday uniforms.

Below, I’ve rounded up some of the ways I’m excited to style this timeless essential in the upcoming months.

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With A Mini Skirt

To make the button down a little less buttoned-up (at least figuratively speaking), opt for a micro mini skirt and playful accessories. Only clasping the top few buttons is the ultimate way to take it into nighttime and show a bit more skin. Knee-high boots and a shoulder bag prove the perfect finishing touches.

With A Sweater And Cargo Pants

The button-down can be incorporated into this Y2K-resurgence era we’re experiencing with a baggy cargo and translucent shades. Wearing it under a cropped sweater has a fresh, non-stuffy feel while futuristic sneaker makes for a comfortable and cool accent.

With A T-Shirt

Your favorite white T-shirt is obviously making the cut. Just be sure to elevate the look with a tailored trouser, monochromatic white frames, and a luxe leather bag. This combination is ideal for relaxed professional settings.

With Sweatpants

The notorious Zoom ‘fit: professional on top and casual below the waist. I love this option with my blue button down, arguably my most worn top as it feels more unexpected yet still polished. The dichotomy of the crisp shirt and sweats feels of-the-moment with a pointy-toe boot and sporty glasses.

With A Boxy Blazer

Definitely a more predictable and office-forward way to style your button down is with a blazer and slacks. How to update this formula? Avoid a full-on corporate suit with an oversized boxy jacket and a tonal pant. I would finalize this fit with fashion-girl-approved accessories like a designer bag and frames.

With A Bralette

Make this your weekend go-to: a button-down open over a sophisticated bralette. I’m having a baseball-cap moment (and seems like designers are too), so love adding that for a casual touch and pairing with easy jeans and sneakers. This look is coffee-run approved and then some.