In men’s clothing, we often interchange the terms “dress shirt” and “button-up shirt,” but there are some striking differences between them. Knowing what distinguishes men’s dress shirts from men’s button-down shirts will help you make the right styling decisions. What are these differences, and how can you use the strengths of each style to create outfits? Is one better than the other for certain occasions? This guide will explain the main features of dress shirts vs. button-up shirts so that you can confidently style your clothing for work and leisure.
In the fashion world, button-down shirts are classified as casual tops that have full-length openings that fasten at the chest with a column of buttons. Button-down shirts can be long or short-sleeved and be made in various materials and patterns. They’re usually shorter at the torso than dress shirts and worn without ties.
A men’s button-down oxford is a fine example of a casual button-down shirt that can be worn with jeans or shorts. Its short sleeves make it instantly laid back yet the button-down appearance gives it a charming design.
Button-down shirts pair well with jeans and khakis on business casual days. They also are made for the “no tie” look with a couple of top buttons unfastened to create an informal collar. Button-down shirts typically come in everyday patterns like stripes, plaid, and micro prints, allowing more freedom to express your personality. Since they’re geared toward everyday wear, they’re typically made with cotton, cotton blends, and sometimes cashmere blends for added warmth.
These casual tops can also be spruced up when they’re tucked into your pants and worn with a belt, dress shoes, and dark jeans — an excellent casual Friday look. Or, you can wear a long-sleeve button-down shirt under a vest to make it work-ready. Just stick to a neutral print or solid color. However, these tops typically clash with anything more formal, like suit sets and fancy cufflinks.
A dress shirt is a button-down shirt that always has long sleeves with a turned-down collar and is designed to be worn with men’s blazers, suits, slacks, and wrist cuffs. It’s an important component of formal suits and is expected in the business world. Overall, it’s a go-to top for any semi-formal to a formal occasion and can be dressed up or down, depending on your styling needs.
For example, if you need to attend an important black-tie event, then your dress shirt can be worn with a silk tie, vest, and formal suit with cufflinks for a pristine look from head to toe. At the office during a normal workday, you can wear your dress shirt with a standard tie, belt, and men’s dress pants. Depending on the weather, you can also wear a blazer or sports coat over your dress shirt.
To ensure that the dress shirts can blend well with semi-formal wear, they usually don’t come in obtrusive patterns. You won’t see miniature pineapple prints or neon colors here, but instead, you will find solid colored neutrals, fine materials like cashmere blends, crisply starched cotton, and wrinkle-resistant cotton blend. There are many different tiers of dress shirts that you can wear depending on the occasion so that you don’t wear something that requires starching and dry cleaning every week. Having a variety of dress shirts in your closet enables you to style different colors of materials with your dress pants and jeans so that you can achieve just the right look for each day.
Whether you’re wearing dress shirts or button-down shirts, it’s important to get the correct fit for your figure. If you’re under 6 feet 2 inches, then you should stick to regular sizes. However, if you’re above 6 feet 2 inches, then you should explore tall sizing. This will give you more length in the torso so that you can tuck your shirt and comfortably about it popping out. Having your shirt long enough makes sure that you maintain a tidy look at work all day. If your chest, neck, and shoulders are wide, then you should pursue big sizes.
Namely, if your neck measures larger than 17 inches in circumference and your chest measures around 46-48 inches and up, “big” sized shirts will fit you perfectly. If you’re both over 6 feet 2 inches and qualify for big sizes, then our collection of big and tall dress shirts is made just for you.
With so many different categories of shirts, styles, colors, and sizing options, you’re sure to find your best fit for both casual and business occasions. What kinds of button-down and dress shirts would you like to add to your wardrobe today?