Effortless Essentials: Button Down Shirts

Ralph Lauren Shirt Ralph Lauren Oxford Everlane Silk Shirt

The next installment in my "Effortless Essentials" series is dedicated to button down shirts. These versatile tops are crucial cornerstones to my wardrobe, and I wear them multiple times a week. In addition to being perfect for layering or wearing alone, they can be worn across all four seasons with jeans, pants, skirts and shorts. Below, I have outlined my top picks that I hope will help you pick the styles that work for you. 

Silk Button Downs

Far Left: Black silk shirt under a camel blazer / Middle: White silk shirt under a classic sweater / Far Right: White silk shirt under a leather jacket

Silk button downs hit the perfect intersection of formal and casual. They can be worn under jackets, sweaters and blazers alike without adding extra bulk. While you can find these tops anywhere from Theory to Joe Fresh, my favorites are from Everlane. I have both the round collar style in white and the point collar style in black and I think the quality is incredible for the price. 

Cotton Button Downs

Far Left: White Brooks Brothers shirt under a vest / Middle: White Ralph Lauren shirt under a sweater / Far Right: Brooks Brothers striped shirt

If you're looking for your first button down shirt, I highly recommend starting with a white wrinkle resistant cotton one. Like silk shirts, these can be layered effortlessly but also have enough substance to be worn alone without much thought. More structured than their silk counterparts, these tops can be worn completely buttoned up for a formal look or dressed down by rolling the sleeves and unbuttoning the top button or two. To ensure I have endless outfit possibilities, I have two white versions, 1 from Ralph Lauren and 1 from Brooks Brothers (the BEST wrinkle resistant shirts on the market), 1 blue and white striped one from Ralph Lauren, and 1 green and white one from Brooks Brothers. 

Plaid, Flannel and Chambray Button Downs

Far Left: Ralph Lauren option under a black blazer / Middle: Ralph Lauren plaid shirt under a festive shawl / Far Right: J Crew chambray option under a Ralph Lauren turtleneck

While my plaid, chambray and flannel shirts are all cotton, I categorize them separately than the others because they are trickier to style. In my wardrobe I have a classic chambray shirt from J. Crew, 2 basic plaid Ralph Lauren options and 1 flannel style from Ralph Lauren. I like to pair my chambray shirt with white jeans, skirts and shorts in the spring and summer and with skirts and sweaters in the fall and winter. The plaid options only come out in the fall and winter but I wear them so frequently during the cooler months (with skirts, jeans and leggings) that they are undeniable essentials. 

Until next time!