How To Wear A Button Down Shirt Open: A Fashionista’s Guide 2024

Expert Opinion By Fashion Writer & Doodler
Button Down Shirt Pairing Ideas

“I recommend a chic yet effortless approach to your wardrobe: layer button-down shirts, slightly unbuttoned, over basic crew-neck t-shirts. This creates an on-trend ‘shacket’ (shirt-jacket) look. Such a style not only enables you to play with color contrasts and fabric textures, but it also injects a dynamic edge into your ensemble. Plus, it offers a stylish solution to wearing shirts untucked, striking a perfect balance between casual and put-together. Consider these three curated pairing ideas:

Button-Down with Shorts:
Button-Down with Jeans:
Button-Down with Trousers

Button-Down with Shorts Best Values

Pairing with a grey t-shirt, formal shorts, and monochrome shoes and socks.
A Man Wearing Navy Blue Shirt With Dark Blue Jeans

Button-Down with Jeans: Best Values

Suggests an ivory button-down over a white t-shirt, paired with white jeans and an ivory belt, buttoning only the button closest to the waistline.
A Man Wearing Black Shirt With Patterned Trouser

Button-Down with Trousers, T-Shirt Untucked Best Values

Combining a button-down with contrasting t-shirt and khaki trousers for a relaxed yet office-appropriate look

There are a lot of things that can be considered “trendy.” Wearing a button-down shirt open is one of those trends.

It’s casual, yet stylish; comfortable, but still put-together.

Today, I am diving into the art of wearing a button-down shirt open. Whether you’re strolling through the city or enjoying a casual brunch, there’s a way to style this classic piece for every occasion.

So, let’s get creative and transform your button-down shirt into a statement piece that speaks volumes about your personal style.

How To Wear A Button Down Shirt Open

There are many ways to wear a button-down shirt unbuttoned and make it look good.

You can wear it with buttons undone, or you can layer it over another shirt or sweater.

The options are limitless!


The Urban Layerist: Tee Underneath

Style Description:
For a casual yet stylish twist, layer your button-down shirt open over a crisp t-shirt. This look adds dimension and is perfect for those days when you want a laid-back vibe without sacrificing style.

Great for casual outings, coffee shop workdays, or a relaxed date.

coffee shop

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Start with a well-fitted, solid-colored t-shirt.
  2. Choose a button-down shirt and leave it completely unbuttoned.
  3. Layer the button-down over your tee, ensuring the collar sits neatly above the t-shirt’s neckline.
  4. Pair with slim-fit jeans and sneakers for an effortlessly cool ensemble.

The Relaxed Knot: Casual Waist Tie

A Young Man Wearing A Button Down Shirt Over T-Shirt

Style Description:
Embrace a playful and youthful look by tying your button-down shirt around your waist. This style not only adds a layer of interest but also cinches your waist, creating a flattering silhouette.

Ideal for casual hangouts, outdoor concerts, or when you just want to add a twist to your everyday jeans and tee.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Choose a button-down shirt with a softer fabric for easy tying.
  2. Leave the top button undone for a relaxed feel.
  3. Tie the shirt ends around your waist, adjusting the knot to sit comfortably.
  4. Style with a basic tank top and your favorite denim for a look that’s both comfortable and chic.

The Sophisticated Overlay: Open Shirt Jacket

Style Description:
Wear your button-down shirt unbuttoned and draped open, like a lightweight jacket. This approach is perfect for adding layers to your outfit without the bulk, offering a smart-casual aesthetic.

Suitable for a smart-casual office environment, after-work drinks, or when the weather calls for light layering.

A Young Guy Wearing A Button Down Shirt Unbuttoned

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Select a button-down shirt in a material that drapes well, such as a soft cotton or linen blend.
  2. Wear it open over a fitted t-shirt or blouse, allowing the shirt to fall naturally at the sides.
  3. Pair with tailored pants or a pencil skirt for a balanced outfit.
  4. Accessorize with a statement watch or bracelet to add a touch of elegance.

The Casual Chic: Tied-Up Twist

Style Description:
Transform your button-down into a breezy, casual crop top by tying the ends together. Perfect for a laid-back day out or a fun twist to your work-from-home attire.

Ideal for weekend outings, picnics, or casual meet-ups with friends.

picnic outings

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Choose a button-down shirt with a bit of extra length.
  2. Button it up to just below your ribcage.
  3. Take the two ends and tie them into a knot at your desired tightness.
  4. Pair with high-waisted jeans or a maxi skirt for a relaxed yet chic look.

The Office Trendsetter: Layered Sophistication

Style Description:
Layer your button-down open over a sleek turtleneck for a sophisticated and modern office look.

Perfect for the office, professional meetings, or networking events.

A Young Girl Tying Button Down Shirt Around Her Waist

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Select a fitted turtleneck and a contrasting button-down shirt.
  2. Wear the turtleneck first, followed by your button-down shirt left unbuttoned.
  3. Tuck both into tailored trousers for a polished finish.
  4. Accessorize with minimalist jewelry to keep it professional.

The Evening Elegance: Drape and Accessorize

Style Description:
Drape your button-down shirt over an elegant slip dress for a chic evening ensemble.

Suitable for dinner dates, evening events, or a night out at a sophisticated venue.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Choose a silky button-down shirt and a complementary slip dress.
  2. Wear the shirt open over the dress, letting it flow naturally.
  3. Cinch with a belt to accentuate your waist or let it hang loose for a more relaxed vibe.
  4. Complete the look with strappy heels and statement earrings.

Considerations While Choosing Button-Down Unbuttoned Shirt

How To Choose Button Down Unbuttoned Shirt

When it comes time to pick out your next button-down shirt, consider the following:

  • Which colors work best together? Find out what colors suit you by looking at pictures online or by asking friends who are into fashion. If there’s anything else that matters—like whether or not something is comfortable—ask someone who knows better than yourself!
  • How should I style it? There are tons of ways to wear this classic piece of clothing; however if all else fails then just pick one option straight away because otherwise, things might get messy!

Focus On The Fit And Length.

The fit of a shirt is completely dependent on how you wear it.

If your shirt is too long, it will not only make you look shorter than your friends but also accentuate any bulges in the middle of your body.

On the other hand, if your shirt is too short, it may make you look bigger than you actually are.

The length of the sleeve should end at wrist level and not fall past that point like most button-down shirts do today.

Know How To Button It Up.

  • Don’t button the top button.
  • Don’t button the bottom button.* Don’t even think about touching any of them.
  • You’re supposed to be wearing this shirt open at all times, so don’t bother leaving yourself open for an embarrassing moment of indecision—just stick with what works best for your body type and personality type!

Don’t Be Afraid Of Color And Pattern.

You can wear a button-down shirt open in all sorts of ways.

The key is to think about how each look will work with your personal style and the kind of work you do.

  • If you already have a patterned blazer or shirt on, consider adding another patterned tie for the day. This way, it’ll feel like part of an outfit rather than just an accessory (which would be more likely if there was no tie). Just be careful not to mix patterns too much; one solid color might be enough!
  • If wearing your jacket open is too much trouble, try wearing it closed under an unbuttoned shirt so that everything stays together as one cohesive ensemble—but keep in mind that this might make getting dressed up for work seem too complicated or formal!

Start With A Crisp White Shirt, Then Branch Out Into Solids And Patterns.

Start with a crisp white shirt, then branch out into solids and patterns.

White is a great starting point because it’s versatile and easy to match.

It’s also the most common color for button-down shirts, so if you’re looking for something simple but still professional-looking, this is your best bet.

Read our guide on latest shirt color trends to style according to trend.

Be Prepared For Summer.

If you want to wear a button-down shirt open, but aren’t sure how to do it effectively and in style, consider these tips:

  • Wear a t-shirt underneath—this way you can still show off your shoulders and chest without exposing too much of your torso. If this isn’t an option for you (or if the weather is hot), consider wearing an undershirt instead!
  • Fold back one side of the collar at its widest point so that it hangs just below your earlobe—this will keep things from getting too tight around your neckline. You can also fold back other parts of the collar if they’re too tight or constricting; this will allow room for shirts or jackets that may be worn underneath later on in case they get cooler than expected during summer months when sweaters aren’t always available everywhere else!

Find The Perfect Fit For Your Body

The most important thing is to find a shirt that fits your body well.

The first step in finding the right size for your body is knowing what kind of shape it has.

If you’re not sure, look at yourself in the mirror and try on some shirts with similar styles and cuts to see if they fit or not.

Take note of where on your torso each one sits.

Does it sit high on one shoulder, low across both shoulders?

Is one side tighter than another?

These details can help narrow down which style might work best for you,

but don’t get too hung up on them—just pick out something that feels comfortable when worn over pants or jeans.

Personal Style Journey: The Versatile Button-Down

Let me take you back to a sunny afternoon in Paris. I was sitting at a quaint café when I noticed a woman passing by, wearing a crisp white button-down shirt left open over a vintage graphic tee. It was effortless, it was chic, and it was utterly Parisian.

That moment sparked a love affair with the open button-down look that I’ve been experimenting with ever since.

From the streets of Paris to the hustle of New York City, I’ve styled this versatile piece in countless ways. I’ve worn it knotted over a maxi dress to a beach wedding, and I’ve layered it with a cashmere sweater for a cozy yet sophisticated work outfit. Each time, the button-down shirt proved to be an indispensable fashion ally.

Real-Life Style Wins: Community Spotlight

The Beachside Business Meeting:
Mark, a freelance designer, shared his success with the ‘Casual Chic’ look. He paired an open, light blue button-down with chinos and boat shoes for a client meeting at a seaside resort. The result? A contract signed and a style that didn’t go unnoticed.

The Last-Minute Date Night:
Emily, a long-time reader, had a last-minute date and zero time to plan an outfit. She threw on a black button-down open over a lace cami, paired with skinny jeans and heels. Her date was impressed with her style, and she felt like a million bucks.

The Power Move:
And who could forget when Sarah, a tech entrepreneur, rocked the ‘Office Trendsetter’ look at a major pitch? She layered a crisp white button-down over a turtleneck, commanding respect and sealing the deal.

Your Style, Your Story

Every outfit tells a story, and we want to hear yours. How has the open button-down shirt played a role in your life? Did it give you a confidence boost at a job interview? Did you receive a compliment that made your day? Share your moments with us, and let’s celebrate the power of personal style together.

Conclusion: Style It Your Way

The open button-down shirt isn’t just a piece of clothing; it’s a canvas for self-expression. Whether you’re channeling the relaxed vibes of a coastal getaway or the sharpness of city life, this guide is here to inspire you. So, take these tips, make them your own, and remember: the best way to wear an open button-down is the way that makes you feel like the best version of yourself.

And there you have it—a comprehensive guide to rocking the open button-down shirt with panache. Keep styling, keep sharing, and most importantly, keep enjoying the journey of personal style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to wear a button-down shirt unbuttoned?

The answer to this question is yes and no. It really depends on the situation and how you style the shirt. If you’re wearing the shirt to a casual event, then it’s perfectly fine to leave it unbuttoned. However, if you’re trying to achieve a more polished look, then we recommend buttoning up the shirt. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your personal style.

How do you style a button-down shirt open?

There are a few different ways that you can style a button-down shirt open. One way is to pair it with a blazer or jacket. This will help to create a put-together look that is still stylish and modern. Another way to style a button-down shirt open is to wear it with a pair of jeans. This is a great option for a more casual look. Finally, you can also wear a button-down shirt open with a skirt.

Related Posts:

Button-up vs button-down shirts
How to wear a plus-size button-down shirt

Tasha Juli
Tasha Juli Korman is a fashion and lifestyle blogger. She has been blogging for over five years now and found her niche in the world of style! Whether it's taking you on a personal journey through her wardrobe or sharing outfits that match your own personal style, you enjoy following along.