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What exactly is: A button-down shirt?

What exactly is: A button-down shirt?

In a nutshell

A button-down shirt is any shirt with a button-down collar—unless you’re an American, in which case it describes any shirt with buttons down the front.

Backstory

In 1896, American John E. Brooks (of the Brooks Brothers tailoring empire) attended a polo game while on a trip to England. To prevent their collars flapping up in the heat of a chukka, players had cunningly sewed buttons on to fasten them down on the field of play. Inspired, Brooks took the idea home, mass-produced it, and the rest is history.

How to wear them well

"Button-down shirts are great with jumpers because the collar stays in place," says Thread stylist Kasia Katner. "They're usually Oxfords, so they work well with jeans and chinos. As a general rule, they're more casual than shirts whose collars don't button down, so they don't usually look great with ties."