Ask Belle: Button-Up Shirt Suggestions

Feb 2, 2015

Dear Belle,

What are your thoughts on button down shirts?  I never see them on Capitol Hill Style.  That’s all I wear under my suits.  Am I doing something wrong?

Love your blog, Cecilia

I like button-up shirts well-enough, but I don’t think I’ve ever worn one under a suit.  The reason is that business suits trend a little masculine for my taste, so when I wear one, I’m always trying to add more femininity.  Thus, I prefer silky blouses with sheer fabrics or dramatic necklines.

If you like button-up shirts, remember to buy them to fit the largest part of you.  For many women, this means sizing up in the bust and tailoring the waist to fit.  This will also help prevent that unsightly, bra-exposing gape.  And while tailoring is an added expense, the improvement to the look of your clothes and your self-confidence is worth it.

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Brooks Brothers Fitted Non-Iron Shirt ($98)

If you’re looking for a classic button-front shirt for work, you should start at Brooks Brothers.  They offer both the fitted non-iron shirt above and a more relaxed, traditional cut.  I own their Supima tunic, and it’s one of my favorite pieces.  I wear it with skinny jeans and flat boots.

Looking for some less expensive options?

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Banana Republic Fitted Non-Iron Shirt ($69)

Banana Republic has a wide selection of button-front shirts.  I’ve had good luck with the non-iron sateen shirt above.  It’s a little shorter than I would like (I may buy the tall length next time.), but for the price, I’m happy with the quality and style.

BR also does a good job of offering different prints and colors.  I really like this soft-wash floral printed shirt in a white and navy print.  Like dots?  BR has a micro-dot print as well as a larger polka-dot print.

 Looking for button-front shirts in a silky texture?

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Gap Silk Cotton Shirt ($59)

I love this silky shirt from Gap.  The ‘whisper pink’ color is lovely and soft; the bright yellow is bold and stylish.  I think it’s a great looking shirt in a good length.

Another great option are the Everlane silk shirts.  They come in a round collar style and a pointed collar style.  They’re not too sheer, and they feel very nice to the touch, nothing like polyester.

Plus-size?  Ralph Lauren makes a classic white button-front shirt.  Land’s End also makes a great relaxed-fit shirt.  I also like this Old Navy chambray shirt for a casual option.

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  1. Heather says:

    In Style Essentials bra sized shirts are on sale for $15 each while supplies last. this might be a good chance to snag white dress shirts.

  2. B says:

    How do the everlane shirts fit? Do they tend to run small anywhere like the shoulders, bust, waist, etc? Also have any tall ladies (over 5’9″) had experience with length?

    • Belle says:

      I’ve found them a little small in the bust. I’m a 32C, so not busty by any means, but I have to size up. I think they’re used to the waif hipster shapes.

      As to length, I’m a little long in the torso, and I find them to be about right.

    • Anonymouse says:

      I’m busty and found that they run large.

  3. Jules says:

    Thanks for reinforcing my position of not wearing button ups under suits (and very rarely otherwise). They might look great on some people, but not for me. Life is too short and my closet and bank accounts are too small to buy things that I hate wearing and don’t make me feel great about myself.

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