I’ll tell you straight-forwardly it’s VERSATILITY And I need to ask right out the gate… is it button-down or button-up? Is the glass half empty or half full? Peee-can or peh-caan?
Either way there is something so beautiful in the combination of crisp femininity and rugged masculinity that a button-down has the POTENTIALto be.
I say potential because just like any other fashion idea or closet item… there is room for error and a line that divides trendy with timeless and my goal is that by the end of this post, you to make that distinction for yourself
First off we have to call out the button-down for some of its niches/groups. Much like high-school cliques, there are button-downs that are
- jocks and preps--the infamous polo player atop his steed, to name one
- hipster--mix of tribal prints and bold patterns more than likely serving as elbow patches or something you are paying for faded versus the fading you do yourself when you love and live in a button-down that has been washed for years
- the art community (hilarious to me because my first “art smock” in kindergarten was my dad’s button down shirt that was put onto me backwards so I could run wild with my finger paints) -- usually stained, torn, and truly worn out because it was found at a garage sale/thrift store
- the outdoorsy kind--who camp every weekend and are likely to be learning how to ride a unicycle because it’s unconventional
This list goes on and on because again, button downs can be so many things for so many people
Lately I’ve been inspired by the fact that you can dress them up and dress them down. Starting from the top, you can keep them completely buttoned up and add a bib necklace or statement necklace like so…
Or open them halfway and have the necklace lay flat on your chest
You can run with wild abandonment (key phrase for me here as I believe I have said this phrase o' mine, 5 times this week) and keep the shirt completely open and utilize it like a thin jacket/blazer for a little edge and boyish charm.
The sleeves are a whole other story as you can leave them buttoned again for a more “uptight” and “straight-laced” look. **This is not my recommended way as I usually feel stuffy/ridged with everything buttoned up (ahhh this is where that name for this shirt comes in!) and find that my usual relaxed demeanor is even altered with this approach to the look. You can cuff the sleeves with just one fold or you can take the stitched cuff and fold a second time to make the cuff more secure. Annnnnd you can cuff as many times as you damn well please until you feel comfortable and livable in this look. Again, the button up, button down, button all around town is phenomenal because it allows you to customize your level of “livable” in this piece.
Just like a fun pair of rimmed glasses … you can be whoever you want to be based on whichever look you’re going for.
I highly recommend if you are looking to find a button down that is both fun and lasting, to check out J.Crew (I have most of mine from there and they are closet staples), Urban Outfitters (they are so fun, fresh, and inspiring; the polka dot one from the photos is from there) or even Eddie Bauer if you want the rugged or flannel look.
***"Eleglitz" Tip: Avoid any button-downs with a particular obvious brand or label on the shirt as that detail takes away from the ability to dress them up. In aiming for a "night-on-the-town" look you actually could look like a "hard night-on-the-town and I am doing the walk of shame/stride of pride" look--- throw on a pair of dude's mesh basketball shorts and you've nailed it!***