Athina: 6 ways to wear a basic white button-up shirt

Athina Cantle headshot
Athina graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management) in 2014. When she isn’t spending time pursuing a career in sustainable fashion, Athina is most likely thrifting, sewing, socialising with friends, or eating tzatziki.

Trends come and trends go, but one item of clothing that almost everyone owns is a white button-up shirt. This wardrobe veteran never ceases to amaze me with its versatility! You can pair it with denim for a casual study session over lunch or dress it up with heels for a networking event. And did I mention you can pick up a staple white shirt for well under $50, or even under $30 if you’re really thrifty?

Try these six styling tips to get more bang for your buck with your basic button-up.

Look 1: The full tuck

A fully tucked in shirt can suit many occasions. Button up your shirt all the way except for the collar and pair with dark corporate trousers for a day at the office. Or, button up the collar and wear with a tie for more formal events such as graduation, weddings or job interviews. For casual occasions, simply roll each sleeve a few times and undo your top one or two buttons.

 Look 1: The full tuck

Look 2: Layer up

The full tuck is also great for layering with a classic cardigan or knit sweater in cooler months. Give your look an on-trend twist by adding a statement necklace under the collar or, for an ultra-feminine look, layer your shirt under a fitted dress or playsuit; the fullness of the sleeves of your shirt contrasting with the fitted torso creates a fun, unique silhouette.

Look 3: The half tuck

The half tuck, my personal favourite at the moment, is where you only tuck in the left or right side of your button-up into your pants or skirt. Alternatively, try just tucking the front of your shirt in and leaving the back loose. This effortless look is perfect for smart casual occasions such as socialising with friends, visits to campus or casual Friday at work.

Look 4: The dressed up untuck

This season, the lads are using the classic button-up to shake up traditional formal wear. Iron your white button-up dress shirt so it’s fresh and crisp and leave fully untucked. Ditch the tie but still do up every button, including the one on your collar. If you’re really wanting to dress to impress, finish the look with chinos, boots and a long coat. A word of warning though for my fellow carefree stylers, you can’t pull off this look without ironing your shirt first!

Look 4: Dressed up untucked

Look 5: Backwards button-up

Trend-setters, this one’s for you! For this fashion-forward look you’re going to put on your button-up … backwards. Bear with me! It may sound weird but I promise this isn’t a joke. Tuck the collar of your shirt in against your chest then gather the excess fabric at the small of your back and tie it in a knot. The result is a gorgeous backless blouse!

Look 5: Backwards button-up

Look 6: The deconstructed button-up

Although not for the faint-hearted, this has been a very popular style on the streets of Fashion Week. Drape the collar of your shirt over your shoulders to mimic the silhouette of an off-the-shoulder top. Then, button up the shirt starting halfway down the buttons. The result will be a love heart off the shoulder blouse ... If in need of further inspiration, check out @naninvintage on Instagram, she is the Queen of the deconstructed button-up.

Versatile and budget-friendly basics are the staple of any student wardrobe and these six unique looks go to show just how much #unistyle you can squeeze out of your white button-up. Use #usqedu on Instagram to show off your thrifty student style tips.

If you’re on the hunt for even more budget-friendly and versatile basics, these are the five items every uni student (of any age) should have in their wardrobe.


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