Consider These 10 White Button Downs the Foundation of Your Wardrobe

M.M. LaFleur The Lagarde Shirt blew us away with its ability to repel wrinkles and odors.

Best White Button Downs
Photo: Banana Republic/ MM LaFleur

The white button down works the hardest out of all the tops in your closet. The timeless piece goes with just about any bottom, like black trousers, for a work-appropriate look, but easily transitions to an off-duty vibe with jeans or shorts when the weather warms up. Just take inspiration from style icons like Carolina Herrara who closes almost every runway show in a white button down tucked into a skirt. "When I don't know what to wear, it's what I choose," Herrara once said of the staple. "I find it fascinating; it makes me feel secure."

Because this shirt will be in constant rotation, you need to love it, especially if you plan to splurge. So to help you find the best white button downs to shop now, we went on a mission to find the top styles, using stylists' recommendations, first-hand product experience, and reading customer reviews. We looked for styles made of durable materials that ideally are machine washable, have buttons that don't pop open, and come in a range of fits that look amazing on different body types and sizes. With its wrinkle and odor resistant material, non-gapping button design, and universally-flattering fit, the Lagarde Shirt from M.M. LaFluer proved to be the perfect combination of form and function.

So button up, or button down, with our top best white button down shirts.

Our Picks

Best Overall: M.M. LaFleur The Lagarde Shirt

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What We Like: Machine washable, wrinkle and odor resistant, this shirt will easily take you from meetings to happy hour.
What We Don't Like: It's a bit pricey.

The Lagarde Shirt stood out for its innovative design details made to withstand the plights of an eight hour work day — wrinkles, odors, and buttons that pop open. Treated with Polygiene, an anti-odor finish, the polyester fabric won't hold smells, maximizing your time spent wearing the shirt instead of tossing it in your hamper. Not everyone loves synthetic materials, since it tends to be less breathable than, say, cotton, but the composition allows the shirt to be wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking, and impervious to shrinking. Plus, reviewers say it actually feels luxuriously soft and boasts a good weight (basically, it's not see-through). The extra button at the chest prevents gaping, while the hidden button on the wrist makes cuffing the sleeve easier on hot days when you want to roll them up. It offers a streamlined look thanks to its tailored fit and no pocket design. Sure, it's a little pricey, but considering how easy it is to care for and how long it will last, it's worth the investment in our opinion.

Size Range: 0P-18 | Materials: 100% Polyester | Care: Machine washable, hang dry

Best Value: Uniqlo Rayon Long-Sleeve Blouse

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What We Like: Wrinkle resistant and durable, this blouse gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
What We Don't Like: The collar flops over instead of having a crisp shape.

As I prepared for my first job just after graduating college, I stocked up on a few of these blouses from Uniqlo after trying the short sleeve version during a previous internship. I wanted a versatile, professional-looking shirt I could easily care for without breaking the bank. This blouse fit the bill to a T. It has a goldilocks fit: not too tight or too oversized. The slim fit worked best for my petite frame because I can tuck it into bottoms without fabric bunching up around my waist. Even after being tucked in for eight hours at the office, the shirt never wrinkled. The lightweight fabric feels comfortable during sweltering summer days. Best of all, it's durable — the shirt looks just as good three years later as it did the day I bought it.

Size Range: XXS-XXL | Materials: 76% Rayon, 24% Polyester | Care: Machine Washable

Best Customizable: Misha Nonoo Husband Shirt

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What We Like: You can customize this shirt for a piece that feels one-of-a-kind.
What We Don't Like: You have to remove the studs before washing.

As a wardrobe stylist in New York City, Beverly Osemwenkhae recommends the Husband Shirt from Misha Nonoo to her clients and owns a few herself. "I just love the cut," says Osemwenkhae. "Most husband shirts can be a little too oversized, but this cut just has a great balance of looking relaxed but also structured." Part of that juxtaposition comes from the elongated sleeves that add a touch of flair (but they can be cuffed, if that's more your style). Instead of buttons, you'll find tuxedo-style studs in the metal of your choosing. You can further customize the shirt by choosing the fabric (cotton poplin, viole, or linen) and adding a personalized monogram for an extra $20. The shirt certainly has a higher price tag, but if you're looking for a sustainable option that's made to order, it's worth the investment. Do note: it takes up to 10 days to produce the shirt.

Size Range: XXS-4XL | Materials: Cotton Poplin, Viole, or Linen | Care: Hand or Machine Washable

Best Oversized: Banana Republic Oversized Poplin Shirt

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What We Like: This oversized shirt masters the effortless look without overwhelming your frame.
What We Don't Like: Reviewers say the fabric can be a bit see-through.

For your next oversized button down, choose cotton poplin. "The best fabric would be cotton poplin because it's breathable, lightweight, versatile, and easy to layer with," says Joanna Angeles, a stylist in Los Angeles. "It doesn't wrinkle as easily as linen and doesn't retain heat like polyester fabrics." When searching for oversized shirts, this one from Banana Republic caught our eye because of the material and strategic design. The dropped shoulders offer that perfectly slouchy look without drowning your body in fabric. High slits on the sides make it easier to tuck the shirt into high-waisted bottoms, which can be extra challenging when dealing with a baggy fit, especially when on the petite size. But to ensure the shirt fits well on everyone, the top comes in both petite and tall sizes to help you find your perfect fit.

Size Range: XXS-XXL, tall and petite available | Materials: 100% Cotton | Care: Machine Washable

Related: The Best Jeans

Best Fitted: Rochelle Behrens The Icon Shirt

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What We Like: This shirt gives you that crisp look of a fitted cotton shirt without any buttons popping open.
What We Don't Like: You have to air dry it or else the shirt will shrink, according to brand.

I first read about this shirt online about 10-years-ago when Rochelle Behrens launched it as a then-novel idea: a button down that doesn't accidentally show your cleavage, especially on a fitted shirt. I have a small chest, but even I had a button pop open. Now that I have a big girl job, I'm considering taking the plunge and buying it.

While M.M. LaFleur's Lagarde Shirt has an extra button to prevent gaping, this style features a second, internal placket of buttons to stop gaping and puckering all along the chest. It's also made from cotton, which you may prefer over polyester for the fabric's breathability and crisp look. Still, you get some stretch thanks to a touch of nylon and spandex. And if you don't want your bra peeping through, customers say the fabric isn't see through. It looks less silky and doesn't have the same odor-resistant technology, but at less than half the cost of the Lagarde Shirt, we think this design is a worthy contender.

Size Range: XXS-XXL | Materials: 75% Cotton, 20% Nylon, 5% Spandex | Care: Machine Washable

Best Cropped: Everlane The Way-Short Shirt

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What We Like: You can switch things up with this cropped take on the button down that still looks office-appropriate.
What We Don't Like: The cropped fit can be too short for those with long torsos.

Whether you are petite like me and like to wear cropped shirts to create the illusion of longer legs or simply just appreciate Hailey Bieber's style, the Way Short Shirt from Everlane might work for you. You still get the essential details of a button down, like the pointed collar and patch pocket, yet in a shorter, modern fit. Unlike lots of other cropped styles out there, this style still looked professional, since it's too short or too tight. In fact, customers confirm it doesn't even show your stomach. With its boxy fit, the shirt makes for a great layering piece, too. (We suggest you wear it as a shacket over a tank top or a dress.) Soon it will be made from organic cotton as part of Everlane's sustainability efforts, and we can't wait to purchase the updated version.

Size Range: XXS-XL | Materials: 100% Cotton | Care: Machine Washable

Related: The Best High-Waisted Jeans

Best Plus-Size: Universal Standard Elbe Shirt

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What We Like: This shirt goes up to size 40 and features a no-gapping design.
What We Don't Like: Some reviewers say the fabric is more transparent than expected.

Buying a white button down that fits properly when you are plus sized can be extremely challenging, according to plus size model and actress Kelsie Nick. "Finding one that fits both the bust and waist without looking like a box is like finding the holy grail," says Nick. For anyone struggling with the same problem, she recommends this shirt from Universal Standard. The fit skims your body, while the curved hem draws eyes upwards and elongates your body. "I love this shirt for the extra snaps ensuring there's no gaping," says Nick. "It's lightweight cotton, able to move freely, and Universal's sizing guide is unlike any others. They've taken the true bell curve of women's fashion making their size medium a size 18."

Extending from sizes 00 to 40, the size range is impressively inclusive and the site clearly explains how to find your correct size in case you're unsure. Compared to the other shirts on this list that prevent button gaping with extra buttons or a second placket, this design uses hidden snaps between the buttons. It's also the only style that offers a half-placket version: If you don't want to button your shirt all the way down or like the tunic look from a half-placket, check it out.

Size Range: 00-40 | Materials: 98% Cotton, 2% Elastane | Care: Machine Washable

Best Silk: Numi The Simone

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What We Like: Despite being made from silk, this shirt resists stains and is machine washable.
What We Don't Like: The style runs small, according to the brand.

If you're anything like me, wearing white gives you anxiety — every meal or lipstick application feels risky and has you triple-checking your shirt for stains. But even if without a clumsy spill, white tops show those pesky pit stains overtime. That's why Numi's silk shirt is a game changer. Made from a blend of sustainable silk and acetate, the Simone is bluesign certified stain-repellent.

One of our writers, Eva Thomas, tried the shirt after seeing Kelly Ripa constantly wear it on TV. Testing it over a four-course dinner and two glasses of wine, she didn't end up with a single stain. Thomas also noticed that the shirt didn't cause her excessive sweating as some other silk tops can do. Add in the fact that the shirt is machine washable, and it's safe to say this top will save you time, money, and stress.

Size Range: XS-1X | Materials: 69% Naia Acetate, 31% Silk | Care: Machine Washable

Best Tuxedo: J.Crew Slim-fit Thomas Mason for J.Crew Tuxedo Shirt

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What We Like: Ruffles make this shirt a little more whimsical.
What We Don't Like: The fabric doesn't have any stretch and might shrink in the wash.

Want to make a button down more fun? Add ruffles like Katie Holmes. Though stemming from the traditional tuxedo shirt, when added on womenswear, ruffles give a feminine flair. This shirt also has impressive details like refined topstitching, interior chambray piping, and menswear-inspired pintucks. The cotton comes from Thomas Mason, one of Europe's oldest mills. With a slim fit, this shirt can be tucked into any bottom or worn out like Holmes.

Size Range: 00-16 | Materials: 100% Cotton | Care: Machine Washable

Best Linen: Uniqlo Premium Linen Long-Sleeve Shirt

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What We Like: Made from premium linen, this affordable shirt looks good even as you wear it on repeat.
What We Don't Like: Because linen wrinkles easily, you'll likely have to steam it after each use.

Whether you are commuting to the office on sweltering hot days or prefer a button down as your go-to beach cover up, the lightweight fabric will keep you cool thanks to how breathable and airy it is. Erika Reals, associate fashion commerce editor at Byrdie, likes this linen shirt from Uniqlo so much, she's stocking up on more colors. "I found it is really good quality for the price," says Reals. "I wore it all the time last summer and it still always looks brand new post-wash and steam." The shirt is made from premium European linen but is one of the cheapest options on this list. Like all linen, the shirt isn't anti-wrinkle, but Reals says it stays fairly crisp throughout the day. "I'm usually wearing it in the summer to the beach or casual hangs, so it's not something that's a huge deal when it does get a bit wrinkly," says Reals. Styling tip: Though the fit is true to size, Reals went two sizes up for an oversized look.

Size Range: XXS-XXL | Materials: 100% Linen | Care: Machine Washable

What to Keep in Mind

Material

When choosing the fabric for your shirt, consider the look you want while keeping in mind care instructions and wrinkle-resistance. While cotton is the go-to material because it's crisp, lightweight, and breathable, many styles come in other fabrics like polyester and rayon, which offer more stretch and resistance to wrinkles. Silk takes your shirt to the next level of elegance, while linen lends a more casual vibe.

Fit

For the best fit, look for a cut that flatters your body type the most. "If you're on the slimmer end with a rectangle body shape, you want to wear a more relaxed cut or boyfriend cut button-down, which adds more volume to the body and will give you more of a shape," says Osemwenkhae. "For an hourglass, a more tailored fitted button-down will be ideal, accentuating the smallest part of your body, and that's your waist."

Transparency

To state the obvious: the thinner the material, the more transparent it will look. If you don't want to have your bra showing through, look for a weightier shirt. But as celebrities like Zoe Kravitz have demonstrated, it can also look stylish to wear a bra in a contrasting color, like black, underneath.

Your Questions, Answered

How do I style a white button down?

Oh, the possibilities are endless. As Osemwenkhae says, the staple is seasonless, meaning you can wear it all year round. It makes a great transitional piece in the spring, as you can wear it as a light jacket like Haley Bieber did over a matching set. Or forget the bottoms altogether and wear an oversized shirt as a dress a la Natalie Portman and Diane Keaton.

In colder months, try layering a button down underneath a sweater like Katie Holmes. "I love wearing a white button down with a crop sweater and trousers or layered with a bustier and boyfriend jeans and pumps," says Osemwenkhae.

How do I clean a white button down?

As you wear your white shirt to all your favorite outings, you'll likely end up with a coffee or wine stain at some point. Always check the directions on the item's label first as some styles can be machine washed while others require dry cleaning or hand washing. But here's some advice on how to tackle those tricky stains:

How to Remove Coffee, Tea and Fruit Juice Stains from a White Shirt:

  • Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar with one teaspoon of castile soap in a bowl and place stained shirt in the solution for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda or oxygen bleach on stain and agitate.
  • Wash in cold water.
  • Repeat if necessary.

How to Remove Red or Pink Wine Stains from a White Shirt:

  • Dab the red wine stain with a damp, white cotton cloth to absorb any excess wine.
  • Spray on a DIY cleaning solution consisting of ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide, 2 tbsp of castile soap, and lemon essential oil, and gently agitate.
  • If needed, sprinkle baking soda or hydrogen peroxide on the stain, spray again and agitate.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water.
  • If the stain is still visible, soak for an additional 15 minutes to overnight with 1 tsp of laundry detergent mixed with either ¼ cup of baking soda or hydrogen peroxide

How to Remove Makeup Stains from a White Shirt

  • Mix 1 tsp laundry detergent, baking soda, and cold water to make a paste together in a cup.
  • Dip a washcloth in the solution and rub the spot.
  • If the stain is difficult, soak the shirt overnight in a solution containing ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and baking soda.

How far do I button up?

While the choice is yours — we fully support any look from a sultry deep V to a fully buttoned up top — two or three buttons down is the sweet spot for showing just the right amount of skin. For a more risque look, follow the likes of Gigi Hadid who only buttoned a single button in the center for an ab-baring look. And because cuffing the sleeves can be just as mind-boggling, we've made a video on how to do so.

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