A white button up is a timeless item that all women should have in their wardrobe. It exudes class and is the go-to for layering in the fall/winter, but how do we wear it solo for spring and summer? (Without it feeling like a school girl’s uniform, as one of my friends would say.)

This shirt is probably the most versatile item in a woman’s wardrobe– it literally pairs with everything. (Just ask fashion house designer, Carolina Herrera, who literally wears a white button down shirt everyday.) The question is how to style it in a relaxed way, because there is a sense of “properness” that needs to be toned down if you are going for a casual appeal.

Casual styling tips:

  1. Wear with any kind jean (I suggest a destroyed cuff boyfriend denim or an ankle/crop skinny jean with fringe on the hemline). For a more casual look, pair with a lighter denim wash.  


2. If wearing a normal tailored button up shirt, leave the last button undone and tuck one side of the shirt into the top of the jean. This creates a more “undone”, “relaxed” vibe than tucking the shirt all the way in. Adjust it to where it feels right on you. Or slightly tuck in the front of the shirt and leave the back out.

3. Never tuck the shirt in all the way around.

4. Leave the arm cuffs unbuttoned and roll back the sleeves midway between the wrist and elbow. 

5. Pop the collar to add more flare. And definitely leave the top button, if not two, undone. 

6. If it’s more of an oversized style (meaning material to work with), you can leave the two bottom buttons undone and tie a knot to create a more fitted, cropped look. 

Dressy styling tips:

  1. I always like to use the white button up as part of a color blocking ensemble using black, cognac-tan and white. For example, pair the white button up with a black maxi skirt or midi skirt, and accent the look with accessories in a tan-cognac color, such as a belt, purse and heels. This is one of my favorite clean, classic combinations.
  2. Wear with high waisted wide leg pants, fully tucked in.
  3. I would still use all the same casual styling tips for how to wear the collar and arm cuffs, unless I was wearing a statement necklace. 
  4. If wearing a statement necklace, button the shirt all the way up and have the statement necklace hug just underneath where the collar lays.
  5. Wear with a neck tie. Undo the top two buttons from the collar to allow enough room for the neck tie.
  6. Wear with a pencil skirt, all tucked in.
  7. Wear with relaxed trousers, only the front tucked in, paired with flats.


Nowadays, designers have made it pretty easy for us to revamp our styling options by renovating the classic white button up to be much more than just another tailored shirt. I, personally, love the oversized boyfriend option paired with light denim, a fedora, layered necklaces (in gold and silver) with tan-cognac accents (belt, purse, shoes).  Below are some more of my “revamped” white button up favorites: 



One last thing, be mindful of the wear on the white shirts. Generally, I update mine every year. Unfortunately the white color doesn’t hold up as much as the darker ones, especially around the armpit area. Don’t sport a white shirt that looks a little off white under the arm. Toss it and get a new one!

Until next time. Always be kind,

Erica xx

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