Men’s button-down, collared dress shirts have a much more storied history than that of women’s. Evolved from the ruffles and ruff collars of centuries past, men’s collars have transcended utility to signify social status. During the last century, the terms “white collar” and “blue collar” were commonly used to differentiate between businessmen and laborers. Borrowing from menswear, the women’s button-up, collared shirt, or dress shirt, is a staple in most wardrobes.
Women’s button-up (or button-down) and collared tops range in style and function from casual to quite formal. The classic is a basic white button down shirt in oxford, crisp cotton, or silk. Beyond the classic look, button front shirts with collars show in many other styles, prints and fabrics. Denim or chambray shirts are totally on trend, as are plaid and flannel styles. Many button front collared shirts take a dressier approach with silk or lace and variations in collar, cuff and pocket style.
Buttons and collars bring a certain something . . . they can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the occasion. Just ask Sharon Stone, who famously wore a crisp white button down with a floor length formal skirt at the Oscars. No Oscars invite? That’s okay. The button-up, as a tailored dress blouse, is just at home at the office. Or try a drapey cut collared shirt in lightweight rayon for Sunday brunch.
You can wear a button-up, collared shirt with just about anything. Shirts constructed from casual fabrics like cotton, linen or rayon look great with jeans and boots. For a more polished look, try a silk button front blouse with a skirt or trousers. Experiment with different sleeves, necklines and collar styles when trying your button-up or collared shirt outfit. And keep in mind versatility—your button front, collared shirt can do double duty as a work and play piece.