But they can also be boring. How do you remix a dress in new ways? Add a jacket or cardigan. Try swapping out accessories – jewelry, shoes, scarf, or belt. These are all common strategies. Consider, though, an unexpected way to create new looks with an old dress: layer a button-front shirt underneath. A crisp, collared shirt sharpens up a frock and adds interest.
When choosing a dress and a button-front to wear under it, keep the following in mind:
A lightweight blouse under a lightweight dress is always a win. But I’ve also tried a flannel shirt under a thin jersey wrap dress (heavy under light) and a summery cotton shirt under a wool dress (light under heavy). I don't recommend layering a thick shirt under a heavy dress.
Light under light, heavy under light, and light under heavy
Generally, button-front shirts have a traditional collar. These add a crisp element to v-neck or scoop-neck dresses. Don’t be afraid to layer under a collared dress, though. As long as you respect the weight guidelines, two collars can play nicely.
A collared shirt and collared dress CAN be friends
Almost any sleeve combination will work. If you like some contrast, try longer sleeves under shorter sleeves. If you prefer the sleeve difference to be minimal, try matching sleeve lengths or cuffing or rolling the longer sleeve to the shorter sleeve’s length. If you wear short sleeves under long, just be sure that the shirt sleeve is thin enough not to give you odd lumps under the longer dress sleeve.
Longer under shorter, cuffed to match shorter dress sleeves, rolled to match shorter dress sleeves, and shorter under longer
My favorite dress to pair with a button-front is a wrap dress, but other styles work, too. I also recommend an empire waist dress, a tie-neck dress, a sleeveless dress or a strapless dress
A button-front under a sleeveless and a strapless dress
Just about the only type of dress I don’t like a collared, button-front underneath is a strappy sundress. For that pairing, I like the shirt over the dress.
Button-front shirts go OVER strappy sundresses.
Color and Pattern
My philosophy is: Anything goes! But if you aren’t an avid print mixer or color clasher, play it safe with neutrals and solids. Mix it up a little with one patterned or colored piece. Or, hell, go whole hog with a visual cacophony.
I’ll take any opportunity to mix patterns!
I’ve doubled or tripled my buttonfront shirt collection in the past few months. Now, I have endless shirts-under-dresses looks to try! Is it something you’d wear?