I'm Certain This Is the Most Valuable Basic: 5 Outfits to Make It Feel Chic


(Image credit: @jen_wonders)

Kris Jenner works hard, but I’m convinced my white button-down works harder. There is not one piece in my closet that single-handedly gets more wear than my white button-down shirt. Whether it’s worn over a bathing suit with white linen pants, under a blazer with trousers, or tossed over a tank top and jeans, this piece is so versatile and polished all at the same time. 

When we talk about best basics (often), there are a few main pieces that are so necessary including quality T-shirts, well-fitting jeans, tailored suiting, and (my hero piece) the button-down. Layering options with a button-down are endless, plus it gives an air of effortful dressing immediately, whether or not it was truly an effortful look. 

Button-downs don’t always have to be stiff and business-like, especially in times of work-from-home and hybrid-work environments. I’ve tapped my favorite fashionable Instagrammers for five new button-down outfit ideas. Shop my take on their looks below.

1. Vests


(Image credit: @aysha.sow)

Vests are a great transitional piece and also super versatile in your wardrobe. Match them with a trouser for a full suit look and pop the set over a white button-down for an ultra-tailored menswear-inspired outfit.

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2. Baggy Trousers


(Image credit: @jen_wonders )

It may seem like a dichotomy but a well-tailored pair of baggy trousers is about as chic as it gets. Find a pair that has an intentional wide leg and somewhat of a puddle-pant feel. This gives just the right amount of effortless polish to any look. Wearing it with your oversize white button-down is an obvious way to look super put together.

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3. Ballet Flats


(Image credit: @luciacuesta_)

Upgrade your sweatpants by pairing them unexpectedly with your crisp button-down. A fun tote bag and pretty flats perfectly complete this trend-forward look.

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4. Longline Coat


(Image credit: @stephaniebroek )

Elevated pajama pants or just wide leg satin trousers are a super comfortable way to make hybrid-work dressing chic. Add on a classic neutral bag and a longline coat to complete the ensemble.

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5. Cropped Sweater


(Image credit: @champagnemani)

Layering a button-down underneath a cashmere sweater is always chic. Make it edgier with a pair of parachute pants and the cool-girl sneaker of the year, Salomons.

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Next: My Friend Needs New Jeans on an Under-$100 Budget—46 Pairs I Suggested

Copelyn Bengel
Associate Shopping Editor

Copelyn is the associate shopping editor for Who What Wear based in New York City. She writes about fashion and accessory trends in addition to creating original content.

Before her time at Who What Wear, Copelyn was at Bustle Digital Group working on the accessory market for cover shoots and fashion features across Nylon, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily. Copelyn has also previously worked at InStyle and Cosmopolitan in the fashion and accessory departments on shopping and fashion market.

Copelyn has a journalism degree in editing and graphic design from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, Copelyn freelances in graphic and web design in the fashion-and-lifestyle space. She also loves to upcycle clothing and home décor as well as collect an embarrassing number of colorful sneakers and experiment with her hair color.