Chic Ways to Style Your White Shirt

During my college days, my uniform consisted of an A-line dress for summer and a white oxford shirt for winter. I never liked the shirt though, since any bit of dirt or sweat would always be obvious, and the shirt could become quite revealing if the fabric was not thick enough or if there was no base layer.

Yet as an adult, I soon realized the allure of a crisp white shirt: It goes well with almost anything, and makes you look polished and put-together. What’s more, you can always choose from different silhouettes and fabrics, and style them in versatile ways.

Now with all these variations of white shirts – from off-shoulder and ruffled to cropped and tie-sleeved – I believe I can literally wear white shirts all 7 days of the week! Here are 6 chic ways to pull off a white button-down:

Leftmost images: 2017 Resort collections from Valentino, M. Martin, Lela Rose, Karen Walker, Edun and Isa Arfen, respectively, via

1. With Jeans
The white shirt’s demure look makes it an exciting match with jeans, a garment originally designed for cowboys and miners. Amplify the tough-luxe edge by pairing a sharply tailored shirt with lived-in jeans, e.g., a bell-sleeve shirt with distressed jeans, or a notched-collar chiffon blouse with boyfriend jeans.

2. With Culottes
Culottes are still on trend this summer! The good thing about culottes and their bigger cousins, the gaucho and wide-leg pants, is that they create so much volume. Tuck in a simple fitted shirt and let the culottes speak for themselves! Frills, bell sleeves and off-shoulder necklines echo the trapeze cut of culottes, making you look even more edgy.

3. With a Pencil Skirt
This foolproof combo is best for the office. A frilled black pencil skirt oozes so much femininity, while a salmon lamé pencil skirt gets you ready for the party. Actually, you can wear any skirt you want with a white button-down, from mini skirts to pleated maxis. Try a cropped shirt to better define your waist.

4. With a Jumper Dress
Shirts are a fresh alternative to tees for the base layer of jumper dresses, especially those flared, high-waist ones with a waist sash. Wear yours with turned-up sleeves, or opt for an off-shoulder version for a girly touch.

5. White on White
There’s a reason why brides are dressed in white: The all-white attire represents purity and minimal aesthetics. When choosing an all-white outfit, look for sculptural details to add dimension and visual interest. Also, try combining different shades of white, like off-white, cream, ivory and eggshell.

6. For Layering
A button-down is perfect for layering thanks to the button placket and lightweight construction. Wear it over camisoles, under jumpers, or as the middle layer between coats and thermal wear when winter comes.

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