Oftentimes, the most powerful pieces in your closet are the simplest. And that is certainly the case when it comes to the quintessentially iconic white button-down shirt. Perhaps the button-down top invokes images of Katherine Hepburn, sitting cross-legged in a loose-fitting shirt and sandals, hair effortlessly blowing in the wind. Or maybe, you are a 90s babe, constantly looking toward the one and only Carolyn Besset Kennedy for your button-down top inspiration. Whether you’re planning to wear it casually (a la Hepburn) or formally (a la Besset) the classic white button-down has secured its place as a wardrobe staple thanks to its timelessness and versatility.

When it comes to getting dressed in the morning, the French always go back to the basics. Classic French girl style clothing starts with the must-haves: shirts for women that are perfectly fitted, skinny jeans, and, yes, a button-down in a neutral color. So it’s no mystery that many of our favorite outfits over the years have started with the white button-down as the anchor.

The Doli Shirt is a modern take on the classic women’s blouse. The shirt has a classic collar, long sleeves, and eye-catching details, like a marbleized moiré fabric, which makes it truly unique. But if you find yourself looking for something a bit more classicque, we have options (on sale!) for that, too. Look no further than our Derek White Shirt, which checks all the boxes for a classic look AND is sustainably made.

Whether you choose Doli or Derek (or Doris or Maeva), here are three tips to consider when looking for your next CWB (that’s our new acronym for Classic White Button-Down, btw. Get into it.)

Focus on Fit

If there’s one thing French women know, it is fit. Take your time when contemplating which white button-down shirt is the best for you: oversized, fitted, blousy, extra-long…the list goes on. With so many great options to choose from, there is no reason to settle. Avoid purchasing something simply because it looked good on somebody else’s Instagram. And if you’re ever unsure, always size up. (Pro tip: A little too big is chicer than a little too small.) The most essential French-girl fashion rule to stay true to: don’t try. You should never appear to have spent more than 20 minutes getting ready. So make sure you are purchasing something that fits comfortably, effortlessly, and with different looks.

Quality First

Say it with us: quality over quantity. Invest in fewer pieces of quality clothing to create a better, more streamlined (and more environmentally friendly) wardrobe. You may want to begin by sifting through what’s already in your closet (any stained or ripped pieces, for example) so you feel you are starting from a place of strength. 

Add A Statement Piece

Once you’ve identified your favorite button-down top, it is time to carefully curate statement pieces that will instantly turn your “good” outfit into a super outfit. Pick one statement item per outfit in order to add just the right amount of personality to your look without taking too much attention away from your button-down shirt. Some suggestions: A great tweed, boxy jacket, a classic felt hat, or a great pair of outfit-making earrings. Be sure to look for something additive rather than competitive to make your outfit feel complete. 

Add Some Edge

And should you be looking for something just a little bit different from the typical white button-down, have no fear. We have plenty of options that maintain the key components of the classic look, but with a slight twist. Try Aramis for a women’s striped shirt option, Rita for a blue shirt with some romantic ruffle, or Debbie, for a retro, vintage-top feel.