Dress shirts are one of the wardrobe essentials for women. They are easy to integrate into the business wardrobe and uncomplicated to style.
Dress shirts are one of the wardrobe essentials for women. They are easy to integrate into the business wardrobe and uncomplicated to style. But straightforward as the button downs are, a few questions always seem to come up:
- Do I wear the shirt tucked in or not?
- Should I button up all the buttons?
- When is it appropriate to roll up the sleeves?
- Should the shirt collar be tucked into a sweater?
- Is it OK to wear the shirt collar popped up?
These are all good questions, so I am addressing them in this article. However, before I delve into this, there is one overall aspect worth remembering. Namely, women have much more liberty in styling their business shirts compared to men. Generally speaking, nothing is off limits but the secret of a put together and appropriate style lies in understanding what, when, and how to apply.
To Tuck or Not to Tuck?
There is no universal rule to whether you should wear your shirt tucked or not. Both options are perfectly acceptable for women’s business attire but there are a few aspects to consider.
Tucking in the shirt is typically reserved for dressier occasions and to create a more tailored look. It instantly pulls the ensemble together for a professional result. A shirt that is tucked in, visually creates a waist and draws the eyes to it rather than leaving the body one long line.
The only thing to keep in mind is that the shirt needs to be long enough for an effective tuck as a short shirt will always be in danger of escaping no matter how well you tuck it.
Wearing the shirt untucked can be equally elegant and stylish but only if the shirt fit is impeccable. To create a streamlined silhouette the shirt needs to be fitted and even more so than on the tucked in shirts. Also, as an entire shirt is on display, it’s important to ensure that there is no excess fabric creating bulges on the front or back.
Lastly, did you know that tucking and not tucking are not your only options? It is also possible to wear your button up half tucked i.e., tucked in only in the front. Half tuck creates as asymmetrical aspect to the outfit and helps to emphasize the silhouette without being quite as formal as the full tuck.
Let the Collar Express Your Style
The collar is the dress shirt’s most stand out feature and one of the first things that people notice about the outfit. No matter what type of outfit you will be wearing with your shirt, it informs the viewer, often unconsciously, what the rest of your outfit is likely to be and how to perceive you. It has the power to either make a look or kill it entirely.
Which is why, before even beginning to contemplate how to style your collar, the primary step you ought to take is finding a quality shirt with a crisp and firm collar. A good collar has a different type of material known as interlining between the top and bottom pieces of the collar. This material forms a sort of skeleton providing shape and keeping the collar stiff.
Once you have found a good, collared shirt, the collar game can be played around with quite a bit to express your personal style.
How high you choose to button your collared shirt is a matter of taste. Your look is office appropriate whether you wear it buttoned up or leave up to 2 topmost buttons undone.
Wearing your shirt buttoned up all the way up is a clean and modern lookwhich you can never go wrong with in business. Buttoning up to the top shows that the wearer is detail oriented and organised. It can, however, also give off the sensation of rigidity.
Leaving two top shirt buttons open is one of the most common ways of wearing the formal shirt for women. It maintains every bit of formality and is unavoidable if you want to show off accessories like a scarf or a string of pearls. Leaving more than three buttons open is difficult to get away with in the business environment.
One of the major benefits of leaving a few top buttons open is the positive visual effect that the V opening of the shirt collar creates. The V opening elongates the neck visually from the base of the neck to the bottom of the V.
Popped collar looks voguish and brings a stylish effect to any outfit. It adds a vertical element around one’s neck and frames the face in a flattering way.
In mainstream fashion, collar popping was originally a country club staple, made popular in the eighties. But prep culture en masse contributed to the demise of the style as the decade ended.
Today, it is okay to upturn the collar as long as it occurs as a tasteful, deliberate styling accent to highlight the silhouette or detailing of a shirt.
Layering a collared shirt underneath a sweater is a super-simple styling trick that immediately makes a basic outfit look current. You can wear the collar either sticking out or tucked in.
Roll Up Your Sleeves with Confidence and Style
Rolling up the sleeves of your dress shirt is something of an art. It’s a deliberate style choice that looks youthful and gives off a statement of freedom. Rolled up sleeves are the quintessential style of any woman looking to enhance her outfit and no additional excuses are needed to roll them.
While there is no “right” or “wrong” way to roll up the sleeves, certain sleeve rolls can look cleaner and sharper than others. My personal favourite is the master roll that sets you apart from everyone else wearing a dress shirt and makes your shirt come to life.
Dress shirts belong to the business wardrobe. They are classic, chic and obviously formal. This does not mean however, that there is one “right” way to wear a business shirt . Fashion should be fun and styling your clothes should always reflect your likes, creativity, personality, and lifestyle.