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Is a Black Shirt or White Men’s Button Down Shirt More Versatile?

Is a Black Shirt or White Men’s Button Down Shirt More Versatile?

We think they are of equal value, and the versatility depends on the end use. Here are 3 versatile styling options for each based on a business look, a business casual look, and a casual look.

The Versatility of a Men’s Black Button Down Shirt

A black shirt is perfect for any outfit combination, other than wearing with a tie.
Black Button Down Collar Shirt

Black goes with everything, or so the saying goes (except colorful ties). It outfits amazingly with jeans, khakis, dress pants, you name it. It never goes out of style; for that matter it seems to be more in style each year that passes. Black is the ultimate city look. Perhaps, the best reason for a black shirt is utility - for the ease of wear. Black hides flaws, like dirt, and wrinkles. But also it hides our own flaws, like one too many donuts on cheat day. A black shirt is formal, serious, mysterious, and rich looking.

1) Business Look – Black Suit and Black Shirt

A black shirt is perfect for any outfit combination, other than wearing with a tie. It’s too hard to achieve non-competing black colors – ever seen a matte shirt with a sheen tie? Not the best look. As a rule, it is better to wear dark on light. For example, a navy tie on a white shirt looks great, a white tie on a navy shirt - that's odd. A khaki jacket over a white shirt – classic! A white jacket over a khaki shirt -odd again. 

Instead we recommend a full black on black business look without a tie: a black button down shirt with a black jacket and black slacks. Un-button the top two buttons for a little more edge.

2) Business Casual Look- Black Blazer and Black Shirt

Black shirts transition well from day to evening and wear better than any other color out there. There are few looks more perfect and modern than a black shirt under a great black blazer. The black on black look also pairs well with medium wash jeans to meet friends out for drinks, or change the pants to light khakis to make a great business casual work look.

3) Casual Look – Black Shirt and Denim

This one is simple. Start from your business casual look above and remove the blazer. You’ll have a nicely fit black shirt paired with black denim. We suggest to un-button the top two buttons to loosen up the casual look even more. 

Pro Tip: You can purchase the same white or black button down shirt for all end uses if you choose a versatile fabric. We recommend a shirt out of poplin. For more info on fabrics see our weaves guide here.

The Versatility of a Men’s White Button Down Shirt

A men’s white button down shirt is iconic. But keeping a white shirt white is not easy. If you can keep a shirt white, it shows refinement and a caring for the finer things in life. Just like personal grooming, a clean car, or a clean home speaks volumes about a person. A man who shows up in a well pressed clean white shirt is immediately telling the world that he has his act together, that he means business. White shirts never go out of style. You will get your use out of them. They never are a bad investment. Although it is necessary to freshen your style and look with new trends, over time these trends come and go. The classic white shirt with classic details and a perfect tailored fit can be worn in a variety of ways for years.

The Iconic White Shirt

1) Business Look – White Shirt with Tie

Your ties are an expression of your ideals and sensibility for that day. There is no better backdrop to display the ties than a great white shirt. As crazy or calm as your tie pattern is, a white shirt does not compete - it compliments. For a full business look, don a well- tailored suit to complete your white shirt-tie look.

2) Business Casual Look – White Shirt with Dress Slacks

This look is slightly less formal but still powerful. An iconic white shirt looks best tucked into suit pants with a suit belt, and the top two buttons un-done to look more relevant to today’s comfort dressing.

3) Casual Look – White Shirt with Dark Denim

A smart casual look is basically the same as a business casual look but with more casual pieces. Swap the dress pants for dark denim, swap the suit belt for a casual belt, keep the top two buttons un-done, but this time roll the sleeves up on your shirt.

Pro Tip: A modernly tailored button down shirt will make all the difference in your look. If your shirt is too baggy at the waist, chest, and shoulders it doesn’t matter what your other garments are – you will look sloppy.