Fashion

The comeback: A white button-down

The comeback: A white button-down

The Comeback Image by: Getty Images and Genevieve Caron

Fashion

The comeback: A white button-down

There's no need to swipe your husband's dress shirt. Instead, pick up one of our favourite oversize button-downs to complete your borrowed from the boys ensemble.

There's something undeniably sexy about a woman in a man's dress shirt. Perhaps it's the implication—sharing a bedroom and a closet is very intimate—but it likely has more to do with the feeling of strength and self-awareness that comes from wearing something smart, simple and streamlined. After all, confidence is key when it comes to sex appeal.

It's hard to pinpoint when exactly the first woman decided to should ditch blouses and formfitting sheaths for her partner's daily go-to, but early adopters include Lauren Bacall (think of the scene in Key Largo where Bacall and Bogart are wearing virtually the same outfit: white button-downs, belts and dark bottoms, with hers being a skirt, and his, trousers), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall brought us a whole wardrobe of confident androgyny) and Katharine Hepburn (whose personal style included the men's staple). They leaned in to the masculine nature of the piece—femininity be damned—to captivating effect.

Of course, the shirt isn't always paired with menswear staples. Julia Roberts wore hers as a coverup in Pretty Woman to hide her revealing dress, and Jennifer Grey knotted hers at the waist to dirty dance with Patrick Swayze. On the red carpet, recall Sharon Stone, who wore a Gap dress shirt with a Vera Wang ball skirt to the 1998 Oscars, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, who paired hers in 1999 with a black maxi skirt.

The versatility of a great button-down is its main selling point, followed closely by the fact that the piece wears as easily as your favourite tee yet adds classy polish to any outfit. This season, find the style sweet spot between boyish menswear and excessive femininity by channeling your inner Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman's character in Pulp Fiction). Pair an untucked oversize button-down with fitted denim or trousers and flats for an unfussy but clean look. You have no shortage of options—and you can shop them all in the ladies' department, instead of your partner's closet.

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Image by: Genevieve Caron. Hair and Makeup by Jukka/Make Up For Ever/Davines/Plutino Group

Shirt, $145, scotch-soda.com. Jeans, $77, levi.ca. Earrings, chain necklaces and rings, jenny-bird.ca. Shoes, winners.ca.

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The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Roll Out

A rolled sleeve is a casual take on this trend. Keeping the shirt buttoned right to the top gives it a menswear look.

Read more: Short-sleeve shirt, $55, gapcanda.ca.
By: Alexandra Donaldson

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Light touch

Just in time for spring, this linen option features a curved collar and hidden buttons for a streamlined minimalist vibe.

Read more: Tunic, $300, ralstonwillians.com.
By: Alexandra Donaldson

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Amazing lace

Modern minimalism not your thing? Try this lacy number that adds a touch of the Victorian era to your outfit.

Read more: H&M Studio Collection shirt, $149, hm.com.
By: Alexandra Donaldson

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Bow tie

The button-down's usual breezy nature is juxtaposed with a cinched waist and short sleeves, highlighting a more defined shape.

Read more: Wilfred short-sleeved shirt, $98, aritzia.com.
By: Alexandra Donaldson

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Show of shoulders

Yes, the cold-shoulder trend has reached your trusty wardrobe staple, making for a crisp but stylish upgrade.

Read more: Cold-shoulder shirt, $55, reitmans.com.
By: Alexandra Donaldson

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Cuff 'em

Add a little drama with stiff longer cuffs. They work especially well when they peek out from beneath a blazer or a light sweater.

Read more: Shirt, $40, dynamite.ca.
By: Alexandra Donaldson

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Wide cotton shirt, $30, hm.com.
 

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Shirt with ¾ sleeves, $36, zara.com.

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

White scalloped sleeve shirt, $85, bananarepublic.ca.
 

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Relaxed silk collarless shirt, $88, everlance.com.

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

New Blythe top in silk, $128, jcrew.com.

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Asos Curve oversized shirt with stripe, $68, asos.com.

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Babaton Kearney blouse, $110, aritzia.com.
 

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Eyelet white shirt, $65, gapcanada.ca.

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Shimmer button down, $129, freepeople.com.
 

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

Cooperative short-sleeve shirt, $59, urbanoutfitters.com.

The best white button-down shirts to shop now

 
Premium quality silk blend blouse, $99, hm.com.

 

 

 

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The comeback: A white button-down

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