4 Ways to Style a Button Down Shirt

styling a white button down shirt

A button down shirt is one of those classic pieces that will never go out of style. I was late to the party and recently bought my first, and I’ve had so much fun incorporating it into my feminine, laid back looks.

button down shirt outfit
how to style button down shirts

The beauty of styling a button down is that it goes with a wide variety of separates and can be dressed up and down with relative ease.

Maybe the most obvious way to wear a button down is with denim like I did, but let’s take your button down shirt looks beyond this classic pairing!

How to Wear a Button Down Shirt

Whether you’re new to the button down or looking for fresh ways to style yours, below are four button down shirt outfit ideas.

4 Button Down Shirt Outfit Ideas

1. Button Down and Jeans (Casual)

The best part about the classic button down and denim combo is that it can look weekend or date night ready with a few small tweaks.

To keep it casual, tie the ends of the shirt at your waist and wear flats, sandals, or sneakers.

I love this look with denim, but shorts work too. One of my favorite easy summer outfits is a tied button down and cutoffs.

2. Button Down and Jeans (Dressy)

For an elevated spin on the above, front tuck the shirt instead of tying it, then add heels.

I love this look for date night or casual Friday at an office. To elevate it further, layer a third piece: trenches, motos, blazers, and tailored cardigans work well.

3. Tied Over or Tucked Into a Skirt

There are so many combinations within this combination that it’s impossible to cover them all, but a few examples:

Weekend Ready: Tuck a button down into a denim mini and grab your favorite pair of sneakers and a ballcap.

Going Out: Tie it into a crop top over a midi skirt and wear heels.

Professional: Tuck it into a pencil skirt with pumps and a blazer.

4. With Pants, Pumps, and a Layer

This option is perfect for professional and business casual settings. A light blue button down would look so chic with neutral dress pants in the summer!

Accessorize with a thin belt to accentuate your waist, then add a work tote and heels.

If the look doesn’t feel quite complete, try finishing it with a third piece just like we did with the skirt combo above.

There are endless ways to style a button down. The four examples I gave above are just what I consider the most versatile to get you started.

Be your own stylist and experiment with what you have at home. An easy place to start is with your favorite separates.

A few examples from my wardrobe…

  • As a Coverup: I plan to try my button down as a coverup over my favorite swimsuits this summer.
  • Linen Pants: I’ve seen them styled open over linen pants and a cotton t-shirt in warm weather.
  • Wide Leg Pants: I’m excited to try mine with white wide leg pants and mules this spring.
  • Athlesiure: I’ve even seen women wear them untucked and half-tucked over leggings in errand-ready outfits.

Have fun and get creative with it!

Best Button Down Shirts

The best button down for you will depend on your budget, personal style, and where you plan to wear it.

The verbiage can feel a little complicated at first (there’s poplin, classic cut, oversized, etc.), but regardless of what you choose, the most important things to pay attention to are fit, especially at the bust, and opaqueness.

After reading reviews, I bought the Citizens of Humanity Kayla shirt. It’s highly reviewed and has an oversized fit. I wanted a bit more of a tailored feel, so I ordered an XS.

If you’re in the market for a button down, below are options in a variety of styles from brands I trust.

Please keep in mind that I haven’t personally tried most of these—these are what I have my eye on based on reviews , crowd favorites in the fashion community, and recommendations from other bloggers:

  • Citizens of Humanity Kayla: Pictured on me in this post, the Kayla has an oversized cut and a casual feel. Perfect everyday staple for casual outfits. I sized down and it’s perfectly roomy.
  • Banana Republic Riley: If you prefer a tailored fit, plan to tuck yours often, and have a budget under $75, the Riley is a great option.
  • AYR Deep End: This Oxford has an oversized fit but shouldn’t swallow you. 100% cotton and features one large pocket.
  • Jenni Kayne Boyfriend Shirt: Oversized, crisp, and slightly sheer. I’d pick this one if I lived in a year-round warm climate for styling over shorts and with denim.
  • Everlane Relaxed Oxford: Everlane tends to give a contemporary skin to the classics. The shoulders in this look slightly broad. If you like a substantial fabric and a slightly boxier fit, this could be a great option.
  • Everlane Silky Cotton Relaxed Shirt: Another option from Everlane with more feminine drape than the Relaxed Oxford. This looks like it marries slightly oversized with polish perfectly.

Other brands I recommend checking out for button downs are Abercrombie, Madewell, and J.Crew.

Button Down Shirts

button down outfits
white button down with jeans