Button down shirts – what are they and when do you wear them

There’s a white shirt in every wardrobe. Whether you are a career woman, a student, a teenager or a mother, the white shirt will always be the right answer to any style indecision. Waisted and feminine or oversized and masculine, paired with a suit or wool sweater for a smart, chic look, or more casual when worn with jeans and sneakers. In soft white linen, voile, poplin or flannel, it is a practical piece that should always go in a suitcase and without which a wardrobe is complete.

One of the distinctive features of a shirt is undoubtedly the type of collar, from those that are wider, larger and more formal to narrower ones with a vaguely retro flavor. B. D. Baggies signature collar is the unmistakable button-down, the casual collar par excellence in which the points of the collar are held in place by buttons. Its story began in the United States in the mid-20th century on polo playing fields. While most men’s collars at the time were not fastened at the point with buttons, polo players found the non-fastened style to be cumbersome as it would flap in their faces while riding. So the first button-down shirts came into being, and soon left the polo fields to become an ideal solution for more casual everyday looks. For everyday wear, we suggest wearing button-down shirts with the buttons fastened, but nothing stops you from leaving them undone for more casual and relaxed look.

Which shirt to choose for a formal outfit

The choice of shirt to pair with a smart jacket does not depend so much on the style as on the rigidity of the collar. A softer collar, like on a button-down Oxford, appears more casual; while a stiffer collar, such as on an elegant shirt, is certainly more formal. For this reason, for an important occasion, we suggest choosing shirts with the classic wing collar to wear with a bow tie, or a classic Italian or straight point collar to be personalized with a beautiful elegant tie. In conclusion, it’s preferable not to go for button down collars as they tend to be more casual due to their sporty origins.

And if you don’t wear a tie…

You can choose to button your shirt all the way up even if you're not wearing a tie, achieving that trendy "air tie" look favoured by the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Ryan Gosling or Timothée Chalamet. However, this look, tends to work best with smart clothes with a clean cut look.