There’s a reason the classic white button-down has reached iconic status: you’d be hard-pressed to find something in your closet that’s as versatile. The quintessential wardrobe staple has a history of working in a multitude of ways: timeless and tailored (1940s Katharine Hepburn); relaxed with rolled sleeves and a lifted collar (1950s Audrey Hepburn); androgynous, downtown cool (1975 Patti Smith); refined enough for the Oscars when paired with a formal skirt (1998 Sharon Stone); and, of course, flirty and borrowed-from-your-boyfriend (Carrie Bradshaw, early 2000s); all of which would look just as modern today. It’s a wear-anywhere, any season garment. The newest renditions—shown here—are less staid than the original. So hang on to your tried-and-true and add one of these to the mix, or go ahead and get them all. No matter the vibe, they’re the fastest way to chic.
Akris Punto Ruched-Front Fitted Blouse in Cream, $495 at Halls on Grand
A perfect, slim silhouette that’s both sultry and sophisticated, this pairs beautifully with slacks, pencil skirts and midi skirts.
House of Sunny Up Shirt in Clean White, $85 at Anaphora in Prairiefire
A chunky zipper and subtle, graphic layers emanate a modern vibe that’s sleek and edgy with slim slacks and skirts; or relaxed and effortless with this season’s fuller cut trousers.
Pouf Sleeve Shirt, $595 at Asiatica in Westwood
Partially puffed sleeves and a small collar soften and romanticize the crisp classic; top-notch Japanese cotton feels silky. For a playful, exaggerated pouf, push the sleeves up.
Baldwin Delphine Shirt in Off-white, $165 at Standard Style
The traditional button-down’s cool cousin: the tapered just-past-the-elbow sleeves and roomy shape are at home with distressed denim.
Comfy U.S.A. A-Line Blouse, $140 at Webster House in the Crossroads
An easy, billowy take on the original; we like it with skinny jeans or slim, cropped trousers.