The white shirt, revamped: 7 Style Panel tips for taking this staple to the next level

White Shirt Style Panel

White Shirt Style Panel

Be it a trip to the cottage, an office meeting or a night on the town, the white button down shirt has played the role of constant staple in our wardrobe choices. An oversized boyfriend shirt knotted (or not) at the waist and rolled at the sleeves throw in fuss free loose hair makes us the girl next door. A simple buttoning up, tucking in, studded leather pairing or adorning of the neckline of this sartorial staple can reinvent us into a different persona.

Though classic has always been synonymous with the classic white shirt, we’re here to help with new ways to wear it. We look to front row fixture Olivia Palermo who knows just how to challenge the limits of a white button down shirt. We’ve seen her pair it with nude leather shorts, under and over a dress, with and sans a statement necklace and everything in between.

This week, the Style Panel girls stylishly deviated from the white button down’s classic image. Channeling this fall’s black and white trend, Canadian Fashionista’s Amber Desilets added a polka dot blazer and a monochrome purse. Barbara Ann’s Style Blog’s Barbara Ann Solomon brings an element of biker babe chic with a black leather skirt and pink lucite Jeffrey Campbell heels. Falling in Style’s Iva Grbesic incorporated leopard print trousers to her red carpet ready look for a TIFF screening. It’s easy to see that our Style Panelists are daring you to make the white button down your own!

Question 68: How can you get creative with the classic white shirt Read the answers now! »

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AMBER DESILETS, LONDON | BARBARA ANN SOLOMON, TORONTO | BECKY KUNG, CALGARY | IVA GRBESIC, TORONTO | KAYLA SHORT, HALIFAX | LEAH GUST, TORONTO | MELANIE MORAIS, EDSON |

White Shirt Melanie Morais

Melanie Morais, 25
Edson, AB | BornLippy

When it comes to the basic yet classic white button down I’m all about pairing it with fun accessories. Fall brings in a lot of rich deep colours and patterns so there are always tons of options to spruce up the otherwise basic button down. Since the white button down can be virtually worn with any outfit, it’s important to let it stand out by choosing the right accessories without overpowering it. I went with minimal jewelry and wore a fun fall hat and clutch with my “feel good” jeans. Have fun with it and it will look effortless!

Melanie’s wearing: Shirt, hat and clutch, Gap. Jeans, Citizens of Humanity. Flats, Aldo. Watch, Michael Kors.


White Shirt Becky Kung

Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino

I truly believe every woman needs to own a white button shirt, simply because there are endless ways to style this timeless staple piece. Most often I will pair a white shirt with denim skinnies and a blazer over top for the classic and sophisticated feel. However, lately I’ve been stretching the style horizon with this staple, by recreating looks such as pairing it with cutoff jeans and then pulling out the bottom corners of the top to create the exposed-pocket look. A white button top with an unexpected twist!

Becky’s wearing: Top, H&M. Shorts, Garage Clothing. Neon Belt, Call it Spring. Clutch, Gap. Watch, Michael Kors. Bracelet, Forever 21. Necklace, vintage.


White Shirt Kayla Short

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents

It’s a very common occurrence that I raid my boyfriend’s closet for something comfortable to wear. Mostly I hijack sweaters, shirts, and even socks, but one item I love to swipe from his closet is this white oxford shirt. A white button down shirt can be styled many different ways whether pairing it with a girly skater skirt and adding some statement bling to jazz it up or simply wearing it with your favorite pair of jeans for a weekend road trip in the car. Casual and classic, it’s a win for weekend getaways.

Kayla’s wearing: Shirt, borrowed from boyfriend’s closet. Jeans, Massimo Dutti Canada. Weekend Bag, H&M. Frames, DKNY via Vogue Optical.


White Shirt Iva Grbesic

Iva Grbesic, 37
Toronto | One Chic Mom

Classics defy trends and are always stylish – like the classic white button down. You can wear it to work with a power suit, on the weekend for brunch with a pair of casual boyfriend jeans or a dinner date with fun accessories and great trousers or pencil skirt. I decided to style mine for the latter.

Toronto is in full swing for TIFF and I had the pleasure of screening “The Dallas Buyers Club”, where Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto where in attendance and answering viewer questions with the Canadian Director Jean-Marc Vallee. I had to make sure I was TIFF ready and wanted to wear the most amazing leopard print trousers from Banana Republic. How to style such dramatic pants without looking like I was trying too hard? Easy, a classic white button down with statement necklaces and a classic black blazer. I was on trend (animal prints are everywhere this season) and red carpet ready. That’s how I like to style a classic for a night on the town.

Iva’s wearing: White Button down, Brooks Brothers. Trousers, Banana Republic. Blazer, Smythe. Necklaces, J Crew and Divana. Clutch, Danier. Shoes, Jimmy Choo.


White Shirt Amber Desilets

Amber Desilets, 30
London, ON | Canadian Fashionista

The white button down shirt is both traditional and modern and will never go out of style. It’s a must in every girl’s closet as it can add a fresh, clean look to any outfit that can be mixed and match with pretty much every single piece of clothing in your closet. It gives a sense of sophistication to any ensemble, with a touch of masculinity providing the perfect combination. There is a perfect white button down shirt for every body type and for every season, the trick in mastering this trend is to make sure it fits like a glove. I’m keeping it classic and playing into the black and white trend that’s going to be huge for Fall 2013 in today’s look.

Amber’s wearing: Shirt and jeans, Smart Set. Blazer, Forever 21. Watch, Guess. Bracelet, BCBG. Necklace, Cocoa Jewelry. Purse, Target. Pumps- Spring.


White Shirt Barbara Ann Solomon

Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog

White button-down shirts are the most basic essentials. This season invest in a few different styles. A silk one, my favourite for the season, styled with leather can create an effortless chic look. The boyfriend or oversized shirt can be styled with a punk-styled plaid skinny pants and boots for an easy and edgy outfit and invest in a light weight layering white shirt for your preppy days and layer it under a graphic sweater with a pair of patterned skinnies and pumps.

As white shirts are so important, when you find one that fits your body well, regardless of the style, I always invest in more than one. A good white shirt is actually hard to find.

Barbara’s wearing: Shirt, Joe Fresh. Skirt, Forever 21. Hat, H&M. Heels, Jeffrey Campbell. Purse, Marc Jacobs.


White Shirt Leah Gust

Leah Gust, 31
Toronto | Leah Says’

A white shirt is a staple – easy to wear under a cardigan, jacket or paired simply with your favourite jeans. This season I like the look of an oversized shirt. For this challenge I borrowed my boyfriend’s J.Crew shirt so it would fit a little big, left it unbuttoned and paired it with a pair of vintage suede trousers (also a bit oversized) and a pair of loafers. This look reminds me totally of Annie Hall and just offers a hint of femininity, which I love. Wearing oversized can be a bit tricky so I recommend rolling the sleeves and wearing a wide leg trouser to emphasize the menswear vibe.

Leah’s wearing: Shirt, J.Crew Menswear. Trousers, Vintage Holt Renfrew. Shoes and necklace, vintage.