The humble button-down is our weekday saviour, but many overlook it because of its corporate connotations. If you’re lucky enough to work in an office with a laid-back dress code, chances are you can get away with rocking all manner of informal tees (and lets not even get started on all you work-at-homers).
But a slick shirt is easy shorthand for when you don’t know what the day will throw at you. It can pull together the most basic of jeans and skirts—ideal if you spend most of your day sitting down—as what you wear from the waist up is what will most people see, most of the time.
The shirt has come on leaps and bounds in style and attitude in recent seasons; a catwalk predilection for ruffles and dramatically oversize silhouettes mean yours can be as girlie or as androgynous as you desire, and as investment-worthy or thrifty as you please.
And as with any wardrobe classic, making it personal lies in how you style it. There’s nothing more effortless than a mannish shirt worn half-open with the sleeves semi rolled-up, in the same way that a fitted, preppy-style full button-down confidently says, hey, I’m ready to get stuck in.
Sandra Semburg; PICTURED: Gritty Pretty founder Eleanor Pendleton does smart-casual in a blue shirt with flared jeans at Sydney Fashion Week.
Shop our edit of the best shirts for work—they may even have you longing for more days at the office…
This boyfriend-fit shirt not only packs a punch when worn on its own, but it also adds interest when layered with chunky knits.
We have yet to discover anyone who hasn’t been bewitched by Joseph’s silk shirts.
Every modern girl needs a shirt that has a fashionable edge.
Because everyone’s wardrobe needs a serious and straight-talking classic. We love the additional bow on this one.
Perfect for adding an elegant edge to skinny jeans.
The perfect piece for adding a fashion twist.
Super chic, and it’ll go with everything.
We challenge you not to want to wear this style every day of the week.
Effortlessly minimal with a printed twist.
With those gold buttons and dipped hem, this is the perfect workwear piece.
Meet your “I’ve got nothing to wear” saviour. This shirt goes with everything, thanks to its tonal print.
With collar detailing, a concealed button front fastening and a wrap belt to focus on the waist, this shirt will be super flattering.
The perfect excuse to sport your shirt tucked out.
This is the epitome of an easy, breezy essential.