16 white button-downs with a difference

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I endlessly love (and wear!) classic white button-downs, but occasionally I find myself in the mood for one that isn’t so classic, but instead has a detail or two that sets it apart. Like for instance, the ruffles here, which are a bit deeper than you usually see.

And relatedly, I like the spiff tuxedo ruffles on this one.

The drop shoulder and voluminous sleeves on this pleated tunic from Cos give it a romantic vibe.

Meanwhile, the band collar and slightly cropped hem here are rather spiff.

An elegant popover with a just-deep-enough neckline.

This boxy short sleeved button-down looks cool in every respect.

And here’s another good boxy shirt with a clean and flattering A-line silhouette.

The touch of eyelet is quite winning on this well-priced top that looks like it could be Nili Lotan.

A seersucker top with a little extra length, for those times when butt coverage is the order of the day.

The tonal plaid print on this ruffle pintuck top is a nice, subtle touch.

This tie-front top just looks so breezy and cool.

The big front pockets on this utility shirt from Alex Mill are standout.

I’m slowly getting used to the puffy shoulders trend—for others, not for me—and everything else on this top is so straightforward that I feel like one could wear it without feeling like one was in costume.

A sweet, sheer-ish blouse that’d look great with a black bra underneath it.

The barely-there cheetah print here is just kind of fun.

And finally: an embroidered button-down that is so very quietly sexy when paired with a cami.

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15 Thoughts on 16 white button-downs with a difference
    kimbersam
    22 Jul 2021
    9:28am

    The Cos and the Alex Mill are tempting! Does anyone else, when they are wearing a white shirt, over conciously think, “I am wearing a white shirt” when eating, drinking for that entire day? I was “wearing a white shirt” yesterday and while on a work call draped myself with a kitchen towel before drinking bright red/purple root juice. (disclaimer: the user is known for spilling enough food/drink to overcome the protective powers of the kitchen towel. Do not try this at home.)

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      Dawn
      22 Jul 2021
      11:19am

      Yes! I ordered one of those great white dresses Kim posted about and I’m afraid to wear it anywhere I might be having a drink or a meal, which is just about everywhere lol.

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        kimbersam
        22 Jul 2021
        12:42pm

        I actually thought about taking off my shirt and drinking the juice in my bra but was afraid that somehow my laptop camera would turn on, and there I would be….half-naked with my newly acquired waist roll brazenly displayed.

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          MeezStephanie
          23 Jul 2021
          1:03pm

          I have done this. And I still stain. I adore a white tshirt or shirt but am afraid I can’t get away with it because i’m such a Spill Sister.

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    Gin r
    22 Jul 2021
    11:19am

    Is there anything better than a white shirt and a gin and tonic and potato chips after a day on the beach?

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    Joannawnyc
    22 Jul 2021
    11:26am

    Love a good white top! I added 2 this summer–J.Crew and Madewell–but will always consider another (although I am prone to acquiring yellow mystery stains)

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    Katja
    23 Jul 2021
    4:09am

    good tip for mystery organic stains on white fabric (all fruit juice, ketchup, tomato sauce etc) is to lay them out in bright sunlight – they fade away completely!

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    cw
    22 Jul 2021
    7:32am

    I have a “tuxedo” button down that I bought maybe 8 years ago that I hoped I would get some wear out of and I wear it ALL the time. Highly recommend! Love all these options for our high heat high humidity days. Even though I’m a spillage/stain person, I always gravitate toward white shirts.

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    y.k.
    22 Jul 2021
    8:57am

    woa. dinosaur that i am , i thought black bra under white sheer was verboten.

    love that COS tunic.

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      Viajera
      22 Jul 2021
      12:53pm

      I am also skeptical of this – it’s a matter of degree though – I don’t think I mind if the bra is barely discernible, such that you aren’t even sure if the person did it on purpose, or knows their shirt is see-through. If the bra is quite obvious, as in the photo of the absolutely gorgeous Rebecca Taylor top, then I kinda don’t like the look. I think a little cami would look better. Matching the skin tone or not, doesn’t matter. There is no logic here though bc I think it is fine if your straps stick out. Especially if they are pretty colors. Anyhoooo. It’s too hot to do all this math. Cute tops, Kim!!!

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    SR
    22 Jul 2021
    2:41pm

    I used to look smashing in a white top, if I do say so myself, but lately I just look washed out. The increasingly blotchy beigeness of my 54 year old skin is causing me to rethink a number of old favorites.

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    MaryAlice
    22 Jul 2021
    3:38pm

    I wasn’t sure about the bra showing but the other day I was at a wine bar,and a girl was there with black shorts, black oxford shoes, a delicate white short sleeved sheer organza shirt with a black bra underneath, and it looked smashing (especially with her black bob haircut). So it can be done (although there’s a limit on boob size to pull this off and mine exceed it)

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    Kathy O
    22 Jul 2021
    10:10am

    Thanks for this post and the swimsuit post. I bought the front tie shirt in red from Bloomingdale’s. This will be my party on top shirt for the summer.

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    Mindy
    22 Jul 2021
    10:32am

    I appreciate and find humorous that you had to follow up your post on something you “loathe shopping for” with one on something you “endlessly love.”

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    Caroline
    22 Jul 2021
    10:51am

    I love the Alex Mill shirt.
    In the olden days I would have considered those pockets the perfect opportunity to go bra less..
    Not as liberated as it sounds, I’m barely a B cup on a good day. I doubt anyone noticed but it felt great!

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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