I went through three and a half years of my photo archives to discover that I don't wear many collared shirts or dresses. In the early days of my blog, these were one of my wardrobe staples, but they fell out of my favor as I became more eclectic with my style. Button-ups can easily seem stuffy and boring. It sounds like you are feeling the same way!
Long-sleeved, collared, buttoned shirts
The simplest way to relax an oxford shirt is to turn up the sleeves. Unbutton the cuff and give it one turn for flair and flare. Or, fold the sleeves up to just below the elbow and then push the cuff above the joint so that you get a puffed effect. (I do this with my blazers, too.) Experiment with different cuff heights. It’s a no-commitment way to temporarily “alter” the garment.
An oxford shirt and slacks is a clean, simple combination, but it can also come across as rather sterile. I prefer to pair the button-up with something girlier, like a feminine skirt. (E, of Academichic, does this look well.)
This type of shirt can also pair happily with dresses. You can sharpen up a dress by wearing a collared shirt underneath:
Or on top:
In fact, a button-up over a sundress promises to be one of my favorite looks this summer.
Shirt dresses are my absolute favorite for dress layering. Treat them like an indoor coat: wear another dress underneath, button from your bust to your bellybutton, and belt.
Admittedly, both these looks are a little casual, but I’m confident they can be adapted for a business setting.
You can also layer over your collared dresses, but be conscious of the type of neckline you choose. I’ve found that shirt dresses pair best with round or v-neck sweaters, cardigans, and vests. You can wear them with a collared blazer, but be prepared for a collar fight!
I don’t wear this style of shirt. Any reader suggestions for fresh ways to style a polo shirt?
I’d also like to recommend these ladies who can really work a collared shirt:
Kyla of Blue Collar Catwalk
Angie of You Look Fab
- Check out Angie’s Tunic Shirt series: Business Casual, Semi Formal, Smart Casual, and Casual.