A simple white button down shirt is the most versatile and important piece any man can have in his wardrobe. You can dress it up or down, depending on what you pair it with. If you have a well-fitting white button down shirt in your wardrobe then you have an outfit for every occasion!
Here we explore the many ways to wear a simple white shirt:
Team a White Shirt with Jeans
Although often considered a formal item of clothing, the white button down shirt looks fantastic dressed down and paired with jeans for a put-together look that is completely effortless.
You can choose to wear your shirt either tucked in or out, but the key to getting this casual look right is to leave the top button or two of your shirt undone. For the ultimate casual look, wear your shirt over a white tee and leave it untucked and paired with your favourite jeans:
The shoulder seam should run along the top of your shoulder. The sleeve should end just past your wrist bone. If you want a versatile shirt that you can wear either tucked in or untucked then choose a slightly shorter length shirt: this way, it will create a smoother line when tucked into your jeans or trousers.
Never choose a short sleeved shirt if you want to look stylish; instead choose a long sleeved shirt and roll the sleeves up for a laid back summer style. Here are some great examples:
Pair a Suit with a Crisp White Shirt
The most classic and timeless way to wear a white shirt is to pair it your favourite suit and a coordinating black or grey tie. When worn with a suit, a white shirt will look crisp and clean, and provide the perfect backdrop to the rest of your outfit.
It’s no coincidence that most men choose to wear a white shirt when attending a job interview, important meeting, or on their wedding day. This is because the white shirt is considered to be the formal standard, and is the ideal way to showcase your natural style and charisma without the distraction of colour or pattern.
if you work in a formal environment then there is no better look, and you should ensure that you have several well-fitting white shirts in your closet.
A well-fitting classic white shirt will never go out of style, so it’s worth splurging on a timeless piece that will last a lifetime. Choose pieces made of 100% cotton so that they are light and breathable, and opt for a stiff collar that will hold its shape.
Most modern white shirts are slim-fitting, but it is important to choose a shape that suits your body, rather than the other way around. Here are some of our picks:
Wear a White Shirt on the Beach
The white shirt is the perfect for injecting a fashion-forward tailored edge into your casual summer style. A white shirt with navy shorts is a summer classic, whilst lighter coloured linen shorts are perfect for warmer climates. Alternatively, if you want to make a style statement, choose shorts in brighter shades of sage green or turquoise blue.
This is a look you’ll often find sported by the most stylish residents of Europe’s warmer countries, such as Spain and Italy. Italians in particular are the masters of wearing the white button down and slim chino short combo with aplomb.
When it comes to colour, white goes with anything, so the only real limit to choosing the right shorts to pair with your white shirt is your imagination:
The best way to recreate this look is to choose a slim-fit shirt and tuck it into your favourite summer shorts. Choose shorts that fall above the knee to be on trend for this season, and accessorise with a brown or tan belt to give your outfit a focal point:
Other accessories perfect for wearing with your white shirt to the coast and injecting some holiday style to your outfit include boat shoes or leather flip flops, and a battered leather satchel or shoulder bag. Don’t forget to add a lightweight summer fedora, trilby, or other light weight summer straw hat to add formality and statement style to your casual look.
The Ultimate Smart-Casual Solution
If you’re looking to achieve smart casual style perfect for post-work events, or laid back weekend formality then the white shirt should be your go-to piece. Team with slim fitting flat fronted trousers or looser fitting chinos for an understated smart-casual look.
Follow David Beckham’s lead and wear your shirt buttoned up for a sleek and alternative edge, or wear your buttons undone for a more laid back and versatile style. If you have any distinctive features, such as attention-grabbing hair or show-stopping tattoos then the white shirt will provide the perfect blended backdrop for really showing them off.
Finally, it’s important to consider your trouser length. If you are wearing long trousers then you should pair these with socks and either formal shoes (such as brogues) or sneakers, for an urban casual style.
If your trousers are rolled up or cut to an ankle grazing length then leave your socks in the sock drawer and show off your ankle by pairing your pants with deck shoes, espadrilles or a buttery soft suede brogue. All of these options are perfect for laid back summer styling:
There is no more important piece in the stylish man’s wardrobe than the humble white shirt. The plain nature of the piece gives room to be inventive with the rest of your outfit and express your personality with the subtle details of your outfit. If you invest in a well-fitting white shirt then you’ll never have to worry about having something to wear again.