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…