How to Style a Button-Down Shirt in the Summer

How to Style a Button-Down Shirt in the Summer

Button-down shirts are a wardrobe staple that belongs in every woman’s closet. They can go from casual to dressy, day to evening, and work to play. You can also wear them year-round. Let’s look at some ways you can style a button-down shirt this summer.

With Shorts

Whether it’s long-sleeved (probably with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows) or short-sleeved, choose a classic cut of women’s shorts to go with your button-down. For a preppy look, tuck the shirt in and wear this combination with a belt and deck shoes.

To go all-out casual, wear your button-down over a tank top and leave the shirt open. This will give you a little more sun coverage while you have the shirt on and give you the option of taking it off if you want to shed that layer and soak up the rays. You can always tie the shirt around your waist like a sweater or toss it over your shoulders for an easy and fashionable look if you are out and about when you decide to cool off.

With Khakis

Button-down shirts are a natural combination with women’s khaki pants—especially in white, pastels, or simple vertical stripes. The lighter color of chinos in khaki, stone, or white is just a great go-to style for summer that looks light and breezy with a light-colored button-down shirt.

You can make this combination as casual as you want it to be with sandals or a classic pair of white sneakers or go for a more business-casual look by adding a matching leather belt and flats. You can even add a blazer for a bit more professionalism (or warmth if you are indoors in aggressive air conditioning or out in cool evening air).

With Jeans

A women’s oxford shirt in white or a pastel pink will look great with your favorite medium or dark wash women’s jeans. This look is great by itself, but you can also wear the button-down shirt as a layer over a tank top for even greater versatility.

With long pants, a long-sleeved button-down shirt looks a bit more polished. And of course, you can always roll up the sleeves for a cooler look and feel. For summer, 100% cotton is a great choice for button-down shirts because of its breathability, but if you are likely to be in air conditioning or a mild climate, consider a cotton and synthetic blend or a shirt with a wrinkle-free finish to stay looking fresh all day.

Classic Yet Daring

From Marlene Dietrich to Diane Keaton to Zendaya, women have been wearing crisp white blouses with everything from menswear-styled tuxedos to floor-length formal skirts for years. Why not be a bit daring by trying a white button-down tied up like a midriff top with a pair of dressy capri pants or your favorite maxi skirt? The great part about trying new options with wardrobe staples is that you can mix things up without buying a new garment. And of course, if you try it on in front of the mirror and it’s a “nay” instead of a “yay,” you can always try a different choice.

Another option in crisp white blouses is a classic white silk blouse with a collar. One will top off almost any dressy pants or skirt for anything from a daytime wedding to a special evening out. When thinking of wardrobe staples, never overlook the value of a white blouse in silk. Unless you are wearing an all-white outfit, it usually looks more formal to either match your shoes to the hem of your pants or dress or to wear black shoes to create a visual frame. Add an evening bag that matches your shoes, and you have the perfect ensemble.

A Beach Cover-Up

A long and loose white button-up makes a great beach cover-up. Consider buying a men’s button-down shirt to get one that is even more oversized (or just to go gender-neutral if you prefer). Men’s shirts typically button left to right instead of right to left and are cut a little larger, but that’s about the extent of the differences (especially with a white button-down).

One of the advantages of wearing a button-down shirt as a beach cover-up is that if you want to go to the beach after another activity or from the beach straight to a casual dinner, you have an option that doesn’t look like it must be worn with a swimsuit. Button it up or tie it up and add a pair of shorts and sandals and you are ready to go.

Go pull that button-down shirt out of your closet (or maybe buy a new one!), get out there, and enjoy summer!

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