While buying a dress shirt for yourself, you might have heard the terms button up and button down. Even though both terms mean completely different things, many people substitute them for one another. Hence, if you are not familiar with the difference, it might be difficult to understand what type of shirt you should get.
We have created this button up vs button down shirts guide to help you understand the difference between the two so that the next time you are looking to buy a shirt for a specific occasion, you know exactly what to get.
What Is a Button-up Shirt?
Button-up shirts are the most common type of shirt that people wear to work or parties. Button-ups refer to the buttons on the front portion of the shirt. The classic white dress shirt is the most common example of a button-up shirt. You can wear it to any formal occasion or a party. The main identification point is that no button holds down the collar flaps. It doesn’t matter if it is a casual or a formal shirt, or a long or short-sleeved one, it doesn’t matter if you wear it with jeans or a suit, all shirts with buttons on the front are button-up shirts. So basically, shirts like Cuban collars, Dress shirts, or Flannel shirts are all button-up shirts as they have buttons in the front section.
For a formal look, you can wear the shirt with a suit and add a tie that matches the button-up shirt, whereas, for an informal look, you can keep the collar open and wear it with a pair of trousers.
What Is a Button-down Shirt?
Button-down shirts are shirts that have buttons going down the front, just like button-up shirts, but have two extra buttons on the collars to fasten the flaps of the collar to the shirt. In simple words, the term button-down refers to buttoning down the flaps of the collar. These buttons are not merely ornamented but are given to prevent your collar from flapping around.
You can style a button-down shirt as you please. You can wear it both for official and casual events. There is no fixed rule or standard practice that you must wear a tie with them. For a smart but casual look, a button-down shirt is a good replacement for a traditional shirt.
History of Button Down shirts: Why were button down shirts invented?
Button-down shirts where first created in 1869 England. At the time, Polo players were facing an issue with the flaps of their collars; while playing the flaps would fly into their face and hinder their vision.
A a solution to this, Mr John E. Brooks designed the first button-down shirt, i.e a shirt with buttons on the colars. Soon after button-downs were created, they became widely accepted by athletes all over and eventually became popular amongst the common folk as well.
What Is the Main Difference Between a Button-up and a Button-down?
The main difference between button up vs button down shirts are the buttons on the collars. Apart from that, another significant difference is the collar stiffness.
- Most button-down shirts have a soft and pliant collar. This is of the main reasons why button-down shirts are the preferred choice for casual looks.
- Button-up shirts, on the other hand, have stiffer and more flexible collars. These collars stay erect independently, making them the perfect choice for a formal outfit.
We suggest owning at least one button-up and one button-down shirt. This will ensure that no matter the occasion, you’ll have something to wear.