In clearing my closet twice in the last eight months, I am becoming more aware of the clothing I reach for, those pieces that are comfortable, stylish and suit my mood most frequently. The one item that is a stalwart is a blue and white striped button down shirt from Banana Republic. It’s the only item I have that was thrifted; Brooke got the thrifting bug while in middle school and pressed me into joining her on a mission. At the first shop I found the shirt for $4, and I’ve worn it regularly ever since.
This button down shirt is slightly too big, and very soft from being washed so much. It requires little ironing, though I do like to crisp the collar, because I still like the flipped collar look. The blouse goes nicely with skirts, trousers and jeans. Plus, I can wear it year around; in winter under sweaters and cardigans and in summer with the sleeves jauntily rolled up.
With the popularity of that shirt, one might think I have lots of button-down shirts, given their versatility and by how much I wear that particular shirt, but that would be wrong. Up until recently, button downs were not a favorite of mine. I’ve always preferred knitwear…even in summer.
Mind you, I still LOVE my knitwear. There is nothing like a soft cotton knit shell in the summer, or silk, perhaps. And cashmere in winter! I live for the days I can wear my cashmere turtlenecks.
So, as I am saying good bye to my brief fling with fast fashion and returning to my classic roots, I found myself on the Brooks Brothers website pressing the purchase button. Which lead me to two thoughts. First, perhaps we need some fresh ideas for styling button down shirts, and second, how to pay attention to what our closets are telling us.
Let’s talk about how to wear a button down shirt: I purchased two; one with a contrasting stripe on the cuffs, collar and placket which sort of reminds me of a necktie, and the other just a beautiful blue stripe. How do we style the classics such that we don’t look dated?
How to Wear Button Down Shirt:
To tuck or not to tuck? While I am showing my shirts out in this piece, tucking is a thing again, especially with high waist pants. Belting is another great option; I like to choose an unusual belt, such as the one shown above with a small holder.
Now on to our closets:
So, when it comes to what we wear day after day, we often wear things because they are comfortable and often because they fit. Some of us have gained weight, while others have lost a few pounds. Often these two conditions have us a bit stuck. So it’s hard for our closet to really tell us anything except maybe it’s time to go shopping and get a few new things.
But for those of you who have been stable in your size and have a fair amount of clothing to choose from, it is good to take a look at what you love and wear a lot to see what you really love about the item. Is it an amazing color? Does the cut suit you perfectly? And finally, should you get a few more to add to your collection, and, perhaps get rid of a few things that aren’t as flattering?
That’s what I did. Once I had pared my wardrobe down, and took note of what I really wear and love, what colors I seem to look best in (which has actually changed in recent years btw) I decided to get a couple more of the same to enjoy. I’d love to know what your favorite clothing item is! A great pair of jeans? A special shoe? Or a certain shirt… it’s always interesting to get an idea of what everyone likes.