You might have relegated your button-down shirts to the back of the closet over the past two years to make way for a work-from-home wardrobe of athleisure and casual pieces, but as we head into spring, it’s time to give collared shirts another go.

A good button-down can take you from the office to the farmers’ market to date night with just a few styling adjustments. Today, we’ll explore how to style the versatile button-down shirt to suit any occasion.

First, Pick Your Fabric
When shopping, look for quality fabrics with 100% natural fibers, such as cotton, poplin, or linen. These breathable fabrics wash well and are comfortable for year-round wear, and they’re worth the investment. Check whether your shirt is preshrunk or not, as these fibers can shrink in the wash and affect the fit later on.

Next, Find Your Perfect Fit
When evaluating the fit, ask yourself a few questions – is the button placement flattering? Does it fit correctly in the bust? Does the hem hit in the right place? Consider how you plan to wear your shirt – if you’ll be rolling the sleeves or tying the shirt tails, check the sizing to ensure that you can wear it as intended.

Give Your Button-Down a Trendy Twist
The oversized button-down has been a runway staple for a few seasons, and it’s surprisingly wearable out in the real world, too. Tuck an oversized shirt into a high-waisted pant or slim skirt for an elegant, office-appropriate look, or belt your shirt to transform it into a casual dress or breezy beach coverup.

Get Into Print Mixing
Plaids, stripes, florals – the sky’s the limit when it comes to mixing prints. Print mixing or “power clashing” can seem intimidating, but we have a few simple pointers to get started:
Opt for a monochromatic palette: pick a colour, then reach for prints in similar shades to build a cohesive outfit and make the look feel intentional.
Or, mix complementary colours: for a vibrant pairing, select hues on opposite sides of the colour wheel. There are millions of complementary colour duos out there, but the basic pairings are yellow/purple, blue/orange, and red/green. These pairings make clashing prints feel cohesive.
Lean into the clash: have your heart set on two completely unrelated pieces? Great! When you wear something you love, you feel confident, and that feeling will help you carry any look.

When in doubt, accessorize! A classic button-down offers a neutral backdrop for a range of spring accessories. Take advantage of the button-down’s open neckline to feature a statement necklace or a knotted silk scarf, or add colour with a bold bag.

Tip: A soft tape measure is your best friend when shopping second-hand. Use it to jot down your own measurements, then slip it in your bag for your next shopping trip – if you’re unable to try on an item, you can measure the garment on the rack and check it against your measurements to see whether it will fit.