By Andrea Cheng
Updated Mar 01, 2015 @ 1:14 pm
Courtesy of Katie Ermillio; Getty Images (2)

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: There’s no other closet staple that’s as timeless or as versatile as the white button-down shirt (see how they're worn by stars through the decades for proof). They have the power to smarten up any look, whether it's a pantsuit or denim blues, and they can be paired with almost anything. Really.

On the fall 2015 runways, button-downs added polish to sexy slip dresses, sleeveless shells, and sexy lace slip dresses (from left: Katie Ermilio, Fendi, and Rosie Assoulin). We took note with one standard button-down (Gap, $35; and assembled three inspired outfits that have us looking at the classic top in a whole new light. The button-down might just be the most underrated layering tool out there.

Layer It Under: A Sweatshirt Tee


Elevate the casual textile with a button-down underneath. Push the polish one step further with a pencil skirt and pumps for an office-friendly version.

Shop the look: Gap button-down, $35; T by Alexander Wang sweatshirt tee, $140; French Connection pencil skirt, $148; Club Monaco pumps, $289;

Layer It Under: A Sweet Cami


A button-down under a cami reduces the risk of excessive skin exposure and neutralizes the too-pretty shade in one go. Pair it with culottes (one of spring's hottest pant silhouettes) for a modern spin.

Shop the look: Gap button-down, $35; Tibi cami, $245; Topshop culottes, $75; Shutz sandals, $220;

Layer It Under: A Strappy Dress


This works with any short-sleeve or sleeveless dress, as long as the fabric and silhouette don't cling. Skin-tight pieces are more susceptible to bunching.

Shop the look: Gap button-down, $35; Theory dress, $715; Pixie Market platform brogues, $162;