Women's Style Inspiration  / Casual Style  / How to Style a Classic White Shirt or Blouse

How to Style a Classic White Shirt or Blouse

See which white blouse staple is your style's closet essential.

A women in a white tie-up shirt and high waisted wide leg denim jeans and red slides
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Regardless of her personal style, every stylish woman usually has a white blouse hanging in her closet.

As fashion icons like Carolina Herrera, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and Meghan Markle have proven, the classic white blouse isn't strictly practical. It also conveys an effortless, timeless edge and can make a seamless transition from the office to after-hours.

Gone are the days when a woman's white blouse style was limited to a crisp, cotton button-down. A new crop of designers like Equipment, Treasure & Bond, and Sanctuary are reimagining the wardrobe staple in different silhouettes, fabrics, and details.

But with so many brands, shapes, and materials to choose from, finding the perfect blouse style is sometimes easier said than done. From shopping tips to style inspiration, here's a breakdown of how to wear a white blouse.

White fitted button down shirt paired with gold hoops and a long green high waisted skirt

The fitted shirt

Want to celebrate your curves? Enlist a fitted button-down. Perfect for hourglass and pear-shaped figures, this style has darted fabric at the mid-section to accentuate the waist. While plenty of brands make fitted blouses, labels like Theory and Vince offer well-made options that can last for years.

How to wear it: This type of white blouse style is all about a great fit, so experiment with proportions. Embrace your figure with a classic hip-hugging pencil or midi skirt, or embrace the voluminous trend with wide-legged trousers or a pair of boyfriend jeans. Fitted blouses have less fabric than most styles, so they're easy to layer under a sweater once the temperature drops.

The boyfriend shirt

There's a reason a boyfriend shirt is one of the most in-demand white blouse styles. With an oversized fit and worn-in feel, it offers comfort with a bit of sexiness. While boyfriend shirts are ideal for those with a tall, plus-size, or apple-shaped figure, anyone can look great in them.

Plenty of brands sell their own spin on this beloved blouse. Treasure & Bond, a Nordstrom–exclusive brand, reimagines the silhouette in several colors and patterns, including classic white. Additionally, Sanctuary's size-inclusive stock has options for both petite and plus-size figures.

How to wear it: Since a boyfriend-style button-down is oversized, offset its baggy silhouette with a fitted bottom. A pair of slim-fit jeans, cigarette pants, or cool bike shorts will come in handy when showing off your figure. To use your blouse as a lightweight layer once the temperature rises, leave it unbuttoned, tie the bottom around your waist, and pair it with a sundress or a bodysuit and denim cutoffs.

A boyfriend shirt over a floral strap dress and sneakers
A collarless white blouse with wide leg trousers and tan slip on shoes

The collarless shirt

Though traditionally collared, a white blouse doesn't have to be to pack on the style. Whether it's a breezy tunic or or a basic button-down, a collarless shirt ditches convention for true simplicity. As a happy medium between a fitted blouse and a roomier one, the collarless shirt has been reimagined in a number of necklines, including scoop, crew, boat, and deep Vs. Since there's less fabric by the neck and chest, it's a great match for anyone with a full bust or apple-shaped figure. From Eileen Fisher to Vince Camuto, the fashion world is brimming with plenty of elevated options.

How to wear it: Collarless shirts are a pared-back alternative to a classic white blouse, making it just as versatile as a crew-neck sweater or long-sleeved top. That means you can wear it with almost anything.

This shirt's minimalism begs for modern styling. Whether truly collarless or Mandarin-style, try it with solid-color wide-leg pants with some sort of interesting detail, like a paper-bag waist or front pleats.

The silk shirt

Button-downs are typically made with crisp cotton or poplin, but a silk blouse also deserves a spot in your closet. Though it may require more maintenance—a silk shirt isn't exactly something you can throw in the washing machine—it gives the classic white blouse a sophisticated edge. Silk also has a flattering way of creating curves, making it a perfect match for a rectangle-shaped figure.

While many brands sell silk blouses, very few labels do it as well as Equipment. The brand's washed silk strikes a happy medium between formal and effortlessly chic.

How to wear it: Similar to wearing a fitted white blouse, a silk button-down can look good with just about anything. But if you want to up the style ante, pair this top with textured pieces. For example, a heavy wool skirt or pants during the colder months will juxtapose with the shirt's smooth, silky feel. Once the temperature rises, double down on silk by pairing this top with a luxe wrap skirt. Or, if you want to exude an effortless cool, a silk blouse can dress up any pair of jeans.

Silk white button down blouse paired with light wash denim jeans and fun slip on shoes
Short sleeve white women's shirt paired with white cuffed jeans and slip on sandals

The short-sleeve shirt

A great option for warm climates as well as for petite figures who have trouble finding well-fitting long-sleeves tops. Short-sleeve blouses often have additional design features like ruffles, lace, eyelets, or a peplum, so choose a style that shows off your personality. We love Madewell's more timeless styles as well as the ultra-feminine designs from CeCe.

How to wear it: Look summer-ready with matching white jeans or shorts. From there, you can accessorize with sandals and a great pair of sunglasses. Once the cold weather rolls around, slip your short-sleeve top under a cardigan and pair with skinny jeans and riding boots.

The off-the-shoulder shirt

As the boldest blouse of the bunch, the off-the-shoulder style is a considerable departure from the classic button-down. Off-the-shoulder tops draw the eye upward, making them a perfect match for hourglass, petite, and pear-shaped frames—or anyone with narrow shoulders.

You can expect to find plenty of off-the-shoulder options during the summer. From dainty eyelets to body-hugging ruching, BP. is one brand that has something for every style.

How to wear it: This summertime style tends to lean boho, so pair it with related pieces like midi or maxi skirts in bold colors or earthy prints and a pair of statement earrings.

White off the shoulder crop top with a high waisted flowy skirt

No matter which type of white blouse you buy, keeping your whites bright is the key to looking sharp. Check out this comprehensive guide to wearing white.

Find your new favorite must-haves with personal styling.