Tina, here.

A good white button down blouse is a core wardrobe staple that keeps on giving, season after season. But you've got to know how to wear it so you don't look like a corporate fuddy-duddy. 

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

A white blouse has to be replaced about every 2 years or so, especially if you’re prone to staining or dry-cleaning them. So for this reason, I don’t like to pay too much for them.

I like my white blouses like most everything else in my wardrobe, clean and classic. I’ve been buying the same one for years and years. It’s non-iron (for the most part), and has the prettiest sateen finish, without being shiny. No extra doo-dads. You gotta keep the classics clean. Don’t mess with them. No weird buttons or stitching or anything off-message. (Vault members have been buying my favorite white button down, and you can too by joining the Vault.)

And the secret you need to know that allows anyone, busty or not, to wear a white button down? You must wear a vanilla cami (called “ivory” here) under your white blouse. Why does this little layering piece make wearing a white button down possible for women who never thought they could? Because it causes the placket to lay flat instead of puckering and pulling across the chest.

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

No shelf bra. Adjustable shoulder straps. Perfect vanilla color that won't show under a white blouse like white will and most "nudes" do. Shop this cami here.

So here is how to wear that main player in your Core Wardrobe, a White Button Down.

1. Euro Elegance: untucked, with a skinny suede pant

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

I love the simplicity of a freshly laundered white blouse (oh, I do launder mine by the way, because they are no-iron; I wash in cold and hang to dry). Wear it untucked with the sleeves turned up and the collar popped, and add luxurious leather or suede skinnies.

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

When your shirttail is long enough, i.e. it covers your bum, you can wear your button down over skinny pants and not fear for damaging onlookers' psyche.

2. All-American Style: under a pull-over, with jeans

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

Keep it casual and elegant by letting the shirttail peek out from under your sweater.

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

Wearing a collared blouse under a crewneck sweater is a great way to break up the unflattering neckline and create a face-framing look, which you could see if my hair weren't in the way. Shop these jeans inside the January Style Vault Bonus Issue, Core Wardrobe Staples.

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

It's always important to ever so slightly pop that collar when you're wearing a white button down - that's what makes you appreciate one of its best qualities, how it frames your face.

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

This is about where you want the shirttail to hit if you are allowing it to peek out the bottom of your sweater. I just added this cashmere sweater to the January Style Vault, Style Notes section and it's 60% off! The brown is sold out, but there are lots of pretty colors.

3. Working Woman Style: tucked in with dress pants and nice pumps

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

White button down with menswear dress pants. It's very Katherine Hepburn. Shop a fab pair of salmon red dress pants just added to the January Style Vault, Style Notes section.

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

If you're looking for a top for those nice pants or that colorful skirt you have nothing to wear with, you want the white button down. It's the perfect foil for a louder wardrobe partner.

Core Wardrobe: A White Button Down Anyone Can Wear

If a sweater feels too bulky to put on over the sleeves and collar of a white button down, grab that trusty pashmina for a layer of warmth during the colder months.

And I love a white blouse à la Sharon Stone with a full-length satin ball skirt. I have never had the chance to do that, but one day I will. #lifegoal. One thing I do not like a white blouse with? A suit. Way too stiff.

Be sure to keep reading our blog this January for the whole series on my Core Wardrobe Staples every Woman Needs. Vault members have been shopping them and seeing how to wear them (and buying all the other fun pieces new for the season) in January's Vault. You can join here!

We’re also cleaning out closets in January and giving women fab personal style makeovers. Check out our one-on-one wardrobe packages here. 

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Tina

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Photos by Krissy Leigh Creative

https://www.flickr.com/photos/krissyleighphotography/

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