Button-Up Shirts

There is a certain breed of fashion follower (species Trulious Devoutus) that relishes the thrill of the chase. Whether they're on a statewide search for the ultimate pair of over-the-knee boots or pestering the Chanel store about when their two-tone tights are going to arrive, their product-driven brains will pursue of-the-moment items with (scary) intensity. Though there is no question that we occasionally act like the TD and fixate on our fleeting seasonal desires, our wardrobes depend on less flashy, more functional pieces. These beloved basics deserve the spotlight too, so today we're returning the fashion focus to one such key item: the button-up blouse. Thankfully, several respected trendsetters (chief among them: Kate Moss and Nicole Richie) recently reminded us of ways to wear this faithful staple in style and alerted us to some must-buy versions!

Even though today's topic is not as in-your-face of a movement as, say, rolled cuffs or fringe details, there is something equally intriguing about this subtle shirt trend. Nicole Richie, seen here en route to driving school in Los Angeles, centered a casual outfit around a button-up blouse earlier this month. She put a fresh spin on the standard choice and chose a sheer vintage Dries Van Noten shirt instead of the typical oxford cotton button-up. Richie balanced the transparent top with a sturdy blazer and completed her look with black leggings, a fedora, and Oakley's Frogskin Sunglasses ($100). Though button-ups are usually associated with daywear, you can also pair them with fancier pieces for an ideal evening look. Ashley Olsen executed this beautifully at the Intermix 15th Anniversary Party in New York City, when she wore The Row's ivory Banded Blouse ($525) to the festivities. Olsen kept things demure by wearing the top over a Fitted Tank ($275), and finished the outfit with a pair of black Motorcycle Pants ($1700) and a New Tux Jacket ($1125), all by The Row. She made her already amazing outfit (so understated, so chic) even more sensational by carrying Henry Beguelin's Parachute XL Bag ($1545, 310.659.9320).

Even Kate Moss (the style initiator herself) is an advocate for the classic buttoned blouse. On a recent shopping venture in London, Moss kept up her usual flawless appearance by wearing a Topshop Blouse (her exact shirt has sold out, but try the 3/4 Sleeve Top ($20) for a similar look) and Ralph Lauren Blazer. Her light denim Siwy Hannah Jeansicon ($198) in Wish and of-the-moment Marc by Marc Jacobs High Heel Belted Bootie in Luggage Brown ($695, 323.951.1964) kept her outfit from looking overly corporate. Our last (and certainly not least!) celebrity examples for the day-Katie Holmes and Keira Knightley-both sported untucked plaid versions of the trend while in New York earlier this month. While en route to rehearsal for All My Sons, Holmes wore a Shipley & Holmes Long Sleeve Blouse ($160) with a gray cardigan, light wash jeans, and Givenchy's Two Buckle Wedge Bootie ($795). In the same week, Knightley strolled through the city in Topshop's Big Check Long Sleeved Shirt ($50) and Gray Leopard Skinny Jeans ($85), a Mayle Ludovine Coat ($895), and Chanel Ballerina Flats ($465, 800.500.0005).

It's likely you have a handful of button-up shirts already lying around, but it never hurts to have more options (especially budget-friendly ones), so we found a handful of alternative tops that match the looks shown by the ladies above. To emulate Richie's vintage top, try Forever 21's Jace Crinkled Woven Shirt ($28) or LaRock's Elise Top ($194). If you prefer the look of a chic white blouse in the spirit of Ashley Olsen or Kate Moss, try byCORPUS's Long Sleeve Pocket Dress Shirt ($60) or J. Crew's Striped Annette Blouseicon ($68). Finally, if you're mad for the plaid lumberjack look that suits Holmes and Knightley so well, check out Delia's Elisa Plaid Shirticon ($35).-Jessica Amento

Photo of Nicole Richie, Buzz Photo. Photo of Ashley Olsen, Getty Images. Photo of Katie Holmes and Kate Moss, SplashNews. Photo of Keira KnightleyInfGoff.