Men’s Button Down vs Button Up Shirts

What is the Difference Between a Button-Down Shirt and a Button Up Shirt?

When it comes to ensuring that your closet is well stocked with all of the essentials, a great place to start is with button-down shirts and button-up shirts. However, with these two styles being so similar, what is the difference between a button-down shirt and a button-up shirt? How can you tell what kind you’re looking at?

Don’t stress it, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to knowing the difference between a button-down shirt and button up shirt, as well as how to wear and style the two.

The Button-Down Shirt

Let’s start with the button-down shirt. You’re probably picturing it in your mind right now — a long-sleeved shirt, maybe white, maybe blue, maybe another color, with long sleeves and buttons running down the middle of the shirt.

The best way to distinguish a button-down shirt is the buttons that are found at the top of the shirt. Men's button-down shirts feature an extra set of buttons, found just below the collar, with corresponding holes on the tips of the collar, making it easier to secure your collar down.

Convenient, right? Button-down shirts were referred to as “polo shirts” or having “polo collars” for a long time since the trend started with polo players trying to attach their collars to their shirts during a polo match. No one wants their collar popping up in their face in the middle of a game, and thus the button-down shirt was born.

So we have those innovative polo players to thank for the convenience and simplicity that comes with a button-down shirt.

How to Wear a Button-Down Shirt

Button-down shirts are a great option for a day in the office or a formal event. Style your button-down shirt with a men’s tie, and take the time to fasten those buttons! Put it on with a suit or a pair of men’s dress pants. The added buttons at the top of the collar are the perfect, understated details that will help you look put-together and professional.

The Button-Up Shirt

So now that we’ve defined what a button-down shirt is, let’s talk about the button up shirt. Just as the defining factors of a button-down shirt are easy to identify, a button up shirt is just as easy to spot. Simply put, button-up shirts do not feature buttons to hold your collar down.

Perhaps a button-up shirt can be referred to as the classic collared shirt. Not everyone finds themselves running around outside playing sports and having the collars on their shirts flapping up in their face. A button-up shirt is the perfect option for those looking for a classic ensemble for a day in the office or evening out, as long as playing polo isn’t on the agenda.

How to Wear a Button-Up Shirt

If you’re looking for a way to amp up your outfit for a more casual day or outing, a button-up shirt is a great way to go. Omit the tie and leave the top buttons unbuttoned, and roll up the sleeves to your elbows. You can pair a button-up shirt with a pair of slacks or even a nice pair of men’s jeans depending on where you’re going and what you have on your agenda.

Which One is Better?

When it comes to determining whether a button-down shirt or a button up shirt would work better for you, it really comes down to personal preference. Whatever you’re going to be most comfortable and confident in is always going to be the best option to go with!

Button-down shirts are a great option if you’re looking to keep everything neat and tidy. There will be no chance for your tie to get off-kilter or twisted around if it’s secured down by the collar buttons provided by a button-down shirt. No matter how windy it gets or how much your toddler might tug, everything is sure to stay firmly in place.

On the other hand, button-up shirts are a great option for a more casual day. If you’re wanting to wear a nice shirt but opting out of the necktie, a button-up shirt will work perfectly for you. It all depends on the day, the occasion, and what your personal preference is.

Now that you know the difference between a button-down shirt and a button up shirt and the best ways to style them and incorporate them into your wardrobe, what changes will you make in how you pair your clothing? At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you’re most comfortable in and what will help you feel most confident as you get ready to take on each day.


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