Button-Up vs Button-Down Shirts: What’s The Difference And How to Style Them

Difference Between Button Up vs Button Down Shirts

Men’s shirts are that one garment that never runs out of fashion; these are always in vogue. All that changes are the seasons, the patterns, and the colors accordingly. Like in the last few years, fine checkered prints, florals, and light shades have taken a front seat. In some regions, even the baggie shirt is slight, coming into the mainstream from the retro look.

But for most men, a shirt is a classic, all-time fashion statement that they wear typically on special events mostly or to impress the masses. Thus, they don’t experiment much with it, unless it is party time!

For men, a shirt is a shirt, if it has buttons running down the front, that’s it! So, then what actually is the difference between a button-up and a button-down shirt? Or is there really a huge fashion gap when it comes to button-up vs button-down? We take a deeper look, piece by piece, style by style. 

What is a Button-Up Shirt?

A button-up shirt or button-front shirt is that piece of clothing with a distinct neckline, a button-free collar, and a full-length opening at the front, which is secured by buttons.  All shirts with buttons through their entire front are actually button-up shirts.

What is a Button-Down Shirt? 

These are a finer version of button-up shirts, either through the entire front or halfway down, but the catch is that they have two buttons on the collar. In simple words, there are extra buttons to fasten the collar and keep it in place.

History of Button-Down Shirts

The historical backdrop of traditional shirts traces all the way back to 1869, in England. Polo players frequently found that when they were charging around the field on ponies, the necklines of their shirts would fold up in the breeze, and debilitate their vision. So they appended buttons to their collars, to hold them down for matches. 

England Polo Match

It was John E. Streams who made the conservative button-up shirt a style thing. After watching a polo match in England, he returned to his American workplace and began fabricating them. Initially, these came to be known as polo neckline shirts. Quite soon the button-down shirt got into the realm of style and fashion….and as you can see these days, it is an exceptionally well-known thing we see today.

Try Blazers with Button-Down or Button-Up Shirts!

8 Type of Blazers For Men- A Modern Day Fashion Style of Men’s Blazer

When to Wear Button-Down and Button-Up Shirts? 

Frankly, there isn’t actually that much brainstorming needed to decide How to style a button-up shirt or How to wear a button-up shirt. They are somewhat more astute, and with a thin tie and fitted coat, they can make you look classy yet chic. In case you are picking a button-down shirt, the ease of the matter is that even for a formal event you won’t need a tie. 

Men's button up and button down shirts

Button-up shirts gel with any and every occasion, because whether you team them up with just a trouser or with a tie and a suit or just a suit, these are quite easy-going in all circumstances. Pair an open neckline button-up shirt with chinos for a savvy easygoing look which you can wear to supper or for that relaxed Friday at the workplace.

The Bottom Line

One must focus on your overall style and persona, rather than digging around the difference between button-up and button-down shirts. In short, rather than putting your brain much into button-up vs button-down for any occasion, focus on the shirt colors, overall style, accessories, men’s shoes, and totality of your outfit. And if you still need more tips, on how to style a button-up shirt or how to wear a button-down shirt, you can always write to us.


Is a button-down collar more formal?

A button-down collar actually becomes greatly informal if you team it up a suit and tie.

What do you call a button-down shirt?

Some people call them casual shirts, others call them buttoned-collar shirts. There is no particular name as such.

Are button-up shirts formal?

Oh, yes when teamed up with even trousers, they give you that crisp formal look.

Can I wear a tie with a button-down shirt?

This should be ideally avoided. But if you at all do, don’t fasten the collar buttons. 

If I’m not wearing a tie, do I have to leave the top buttons undone on a button-up shirt?

If you are wearing a suit, then the top buttons must be done. But if it is just a shirt-trouser or shirt-jeans pairing, then you can leave one top button open

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