Rules for Wearing Button-collar Shirts?


A reader asks…
I’ve been wondering if my button-down collared shirts are totally “out.” I like to wear mine unbuttoned, which I’ve been told isn’t proper. Are there rules for wearing button-collar shirts? If, that is, I should still be wearing them?


There’s usually some debate stirring around regarding button-collar shirts. They were originally invented to keep the collar down while men were playing polo, and so they caught on as a casual alternative to other more formal collar looks. People love to wear them and love the security of knowing that their collar won’t be going anywhere.

The problem with button-down collars? They can’t be worn with everything. They have a sportier appeal that works well with a blazer and without a tie. Whether you’re wearing the traditional button-down collar shirt or the style with subtle hidden buttons, remember that this kind of shirt should never be worn with a double-breasted jacket and rarely looks good when worn with ties.

Are they “out”? Not the ones that I wear. However, all button-collar shirts may not be the most visually appealing, so aim for top quality fabrics and construction. Use your judgment to find a high quality shirt with style.