Sunday, November 28, 2010

Top Ten Tips to Finding the Perfect Button Down Shirt

Good evening, all! The Thanksgiving holiday and preparing for finals has definitely bogged me down. Nevertheless, I have intended to blog all weekend long. Also, I promise to do much better as soon as my exams are over. What I want to talk about today is why men and women MUST understand the fit of a button down shirt. Of all items in your wardrobe, the fit of this piece requires some work on your part. When you have a shirt with the proper fit, you WILL use it endlessly. Let me give a little hint hint and say that if you do not own a white button down shirt, now is a good time to get one. White is an extremely basic color and this one shirt you will use time and time again. No excuses, I know that you can find one of these anywhere. Ok, back on track, button down shirts are everywhere and they are used in all types of ways. Believe me, I know that it is sometimes hard to find a shirt like this that looks good on you. It takes patience but it will pay off. People will be stopping you on the street in no time. For me, I have problems with sleeve and body length. The important thing to remember is that there is no reason to get frustrated. If you try on ten of these shirts and only find one, you've succeeded. Now, let's talk about the fit of this shirt for men and women. Below is a list of things that you need to look for in this type of shirt. If you already own one, make sure it is fitting you well. I know these tips sound picky and it is not always possible for every person to find every fit to a tee. However, getting the fit as close as possible to the tips below means that you can use this shirt for several outfits.
Men and Women:
1. The shirt needs to be long enough to tuck in but short enough to wear un-tucked. Basically, you need this shirt to be versatile. Having one shirt that can be worn both ways saves you money. Consider this an investment piece. Literally, I have a white button down that I have owned for six years and I am still wearing it!
2. The shoulder seam of the shirt needs to fit right at the edge of your shoulder. Having a seam too far above your shoulder means that the shirt is too tight on the arm. Also, having it too long means that it is too baggy. Look for the proper fit in the arm. For men, a good arm fit is a big difference when showing off those guns on a first date. For women, a good arm fit means that we have the mobility to put our arm around those muscles. Ha! (Pictures 2, 3,7)
3. The cuff of the shirt should hit right at the bend of the wrist, no more or less if possible. For men, this helps to ensure that the sleeve will not be too long if worn with a dressy jacket and tie. Women's shirts are usually in a variety of lengths. As for those, no real worries here. (Picture 5)
4. Men, make sure that the neck can button. A good way to not get the neck too large or small is to make sure that two fingers fit comfortably in the neck. (Picture 6)
5. For the fit of the chest and shoulders, avoid pulls in the front and back. The buttons should lay flat and when the shoulders are relaxed, the shirt should lay flat there as well. This is one of the most important aspects of the shirt fit. Do not forget about it. Having these areas fit properly will make you feel much more relaxed. (Picture 4)
6. For the fit through the body, pick a shirt that is comfortable around the stomach and hips. By this I mean, do not have the shirt hanging off of you. This will make you look fat. Additionally, do not pick a shirt that does not meet at the ends when you button it all the way down. Moreover, a man's button down will have a straight fit so be searching for the one that looks best on you. For women, the same rules follow but when it comes to the fit of the stomach and hips, most button downs will include curved seams. These are PURPOSELY meant to emphasize your waist. (See picture 1 above-sorry its kinda hard to see the curved seams but look to the right and left of the buttons and you get the gist)
7. When wearing the shirt, unless with the tie guys, never button the top two buttons. Ok, I know unbuttoning the second button down on the shirt is just a personal preference. I think it just looks more relaxed and not so stuffy.
8. Men: I LOVE UNDERSHIRTS!!! A good ole' Hanes five pack is CALLING YOUR NAME!
9. Women: Because we can use this shirt in a TON of ways, neutral colors and/or neutral prints are a great option. Picking these types of basic colors ensures that you can get the most for your money. Even still, if you have a print you love that is bold, go ahead and get it-just remember that other neutral accessory items need to go with it.
10. Remember that tailoring is always an option. I sound like Stacey and Clinton on WNTW. Most dry-cleaners will do this for just a few dollars. If you still cannot find a well-fitted button down after trying these tips, you might have to resort to tailoring. Find a shirt that fits the largest part of your upper body comfortably and then fix the areas that need adjustment.

As for outfits that can be worn with the classic button down, try belts, cardigans, sweaters, and jackets as the accessories to complete your outfit. Hopefully a later post can be all the things you can do with one button down. Sounds like a fun post to me.
Love to all!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post haha. I'm pretty picky with shirts myself, but if it's on sale... I gotta give it a little slack. Also! I'm so short I can't ever get the right sleeve length anyway! (so frustrating)