how to style a white button down via downtown demure

How to Style a White Button-Down Shirt

how to style a white button down via downtown demure

After I posted How To Build a Stylish Modest Wardrobe on a Budget, several of you asked me to do follow-up posts that explained how to wear the basics I featured in that post. Well, I listened! So many of the upcoming fashion-related posts (which I post on Thursdays and Saturdays) will feature examples of how I wear classic pieces. (Now, I really don’t like doing photo shoots outside of my monthly shoot, so I hope this a huge sign of how much I love y’all!)

I decided to start with the trusty ol’ white button-down. At first glance, the white button-down seems basic and blah, but I assure you it’s not. View this shirt as a sophisticated blank canvas on which you can display your lovely creativity. It can be dress up, dressed down and even worn with crazy colors. I’m a simple girl, so I paired my shirt with other basic pieces: a black pencil skirt, relaxed skinny jeans, leopard print flats, a black leather belt, an elegant statement necklace and black pumps.

In this post I will show you two ways to wear a white button-down using simple fashion formulas. I know, this isn’t math class! So why do I use fashion formulas? Honestly, I’m a lazy dresser, and I like to make dressing fashionably as easy as possible. Fashion and style don’t have to be complicated, and I hope you’ll agree as you read my posts.

Look 1: Casual + Comfy

how to style a white button down via downtown demure

Top: Joe Fresh ($20) l Pants: J. Crew l Hat: Urban Outfitters (similar – $20)

Necklace: Ann Taylor (similar) l Belt: Madewell l Shoes: Zara (similar) l Bag: Zara ($20)

This is the kind of un-fussy outfit I wear on the weekends. Black and white is such a chic color combination, there’s no need to over accessorize or throw in multiple colors. So I stuck with a basic color pallet (black, white, gold and leopard-print — I consider leopard a neutral) and chose like-color accessories that would complement the chill vibe I was going for. Quick tip: If you want a flowy fit, choose a button-down in silk instead of cotton. Silk isn’t always expensive. I got my shirt for $20 on sale at Joe Fresh.

The most important accessory here: the black fedora. If you follow me on Instagram, you are well acquainted with my love for fedoras. They may seem like intimidating hats, but trust me — they so easy to wear and they can make ANY plain outfit look cool. You just have to throw one on and wear it with confidence.

To tie together my look make without adding additional accessories, I added a few “effortlessly chic” styling tricks:

1) I cuffed my shirt sleeves J.crew style (you can learn how to do that here),
2) I half-tucked my shirt by only tucking in the front and leaving the back out (shout out to the French for teaching me this trick), and
3) I cuffed my jeans (learn how to do that here). Despite being a shorty, I cuff my jeans because I’ve  learned that ankle-length jeans look best with my petite but curvy shape.
 

Look 2: Business Casual

how to style a white button down via downtown demure

Top: Joe Fresh ($20) l Skirt: Express l Necklace: Ann Taylor (similar) l Belt: Ann Taylor l Bag: Coach

For my business casual look, I kept it super simple: a white button down with a black pencil skirt, and I used the same the same simple color pallet (black, white and gold). To add more dimensions to my look, I added mature and professional accessories, like the crocodile embossed belt I got at Ann Taylor for less than $30 and pointy black heels. In most work environments, it’s inappropriate to wear flashy clothing and accessories, so I opted to finish my look with two subtle accessories that are packed with modern-chic style: a gold bar necklace and a classic black leather bag.
 

Add that’s all there is to it! There are literally 100 different ways to wear white button-downs, but these are my two go-to outfits for when I need to get dressed in a hurry.

How do you guys wear your white button-downs? Do you prefer to add more color, layer it, or do you like to keep it super simple like me? If you have any questions or need further styling advice for this classic shirt, shoot me an email.

Need more outfit inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the versatility of this classic shirt.

 Follow Liz @ Downtown Demure’s board How to Wear: White Button-Downs on Pinterest.

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The Comments

  • Avatar
    Morgan Lewis
    02/05

    Beautiful outfits! Love your style 🙂

  • Avatar
    Elizabeth
    02/06

    Black and white, SO classy. Will never go out of style, at least not for me anyways lol

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Elizabeth
      02/06

      Agreed! You can NEVER go wrong with classic black and white.

  • Avatar
    Beth
    02/06

    I really appreciate your Christian approach on modest–you have a lovely blog. 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a fun Versatile Blogger Award! 🙂 Check it out on my blog: http://thehoneyblondelife.com/2015/02/06/nominated-the-versatile-blogger-award

    Blessings, Beth

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Beth
      02/06

      What a lovely surprise! I’m honored (and blushing). Thank you, Beth! I’m off to check out your blog now. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Leann
    02/06

    A silk shirt to get the flowy look…I like it! Never thought of that. I like to layer the white button down under a thin sweater. I am going to try the black, white, gold, leopard look. Sooo classy! Thanks from one of those that asked about styling basic pieces! I love both looks!