Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mail Bag: Styling Collared Garments

My wardrobe is not very "stylish" currently, but I like to make do with what I have for now. I'm trying to lose some more weight and hate buying clothes only to not have them fit another month later ya know? Anyways, I tend to gravitate toward collared shirts and dresses. However, I'm noticing they don't make the best choices for layering and looking stylish. Do you have any pieces that are collared....I remember not seeing many if any throughout the years. If you do or just have a would you use them? I have long sleeve collared business type shirts, collared polos, and like I said a collared dress or two (think shirtdress from 50's).


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.

Collared dresses
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!

Collared polo
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.


Sarah said...

Wow, it is amazing how much your style has changed since the start of your blog!!

Breezer said...

Wow, it's so interesting that you're pondering how to style a collared polo shirt today because I was just asking myself the same question!

I have several polos in my closet from a summer job stint at a Polo Ralph Lauren factory outlet. I'll consider this an assignment, and I'll report back with what I can do with them! :-)

Thanks for the challenging inspiration!

Emma at Daily Clothes Fix said...

So useful. I have some styling ideas from that (why have I never put a shirt under a wrap dress?).


EvaNadine said...

i have seen people layer polos so that the color of one peeks out over the color of the other. im not much of a polo gal, though, so thats about the best i can offer...

islandercoles said...

I recently have fallen in love with vests. Collared shirts look really great layered with a vest, you can make the look professional or casual pretty easily depending on what you wear on bottom and for shoes.

Mom of Many Blessings said...

Thanks Kasmira! That was really helpful! And I think I'll google Polo style to see what I can come up with there cause I seriously have like 8 polo's in the closet right now lol. There just great for those "easy" days at work. Put them some with khacki's and a funky belt and walk out the door. :) Take care!

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