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How many button up shirts do you have in your wardrobe? Me – too many to count. They are without a doubt my go-to choice when it comes to covering my top half. They can be dressed up, dressed down and anything in between; exude both a pulled together and casual air; and fit into almost any aesthetic no matter whether you like yours oversized and boho or slim and minimal. I picked 3 of my favorite BurdaStyle patterns and created a few fun outfits that are sure to inspire you to whip up a classic button up shirt for your own styling adventures.

I love classically preppy clothing. When I think of great New England prep style I always gravitate towards celluloid versions like Ali MacGraw in Goodbye Columbus and Love Story and (even though it’s highly depressing, it’s still a great picture of classic east coast prep) Ordinary People. Fitted blazers, chino pants and crisp oxford shirts that will stand the test of time. Add in trendy accessories to make the look fresh and youthful.

Pattern: Long Sleeve Blouse. Top by Malene Birger, jacket by Gryphon, bag by Proenza Schouler, booties by Prada, skirt from Acne, bracelets from PacSun, earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane.

Maybe a traditional button up shirt is just too stuffy for you. Try a slouchy, laid back take on this classic style by opting for an oversized version in lightweight linen or silk. The drape is perfectly offset by skinny pants and simple, flat boots. Throw on a sleek jacket and round out the look with bold jewelry like a large ring or loads of chain necklaces.

Pattern: Linen Overshirt. Top by Helmut Lang, boots from River Island, jacket by Marcus Lupfer, ring by Loree Rodkin, pants from Sandro, bag by Givenchy.

Fitted button up shirts are a staple of the office wardrobe, but who says they need to be boring? Take a simple white shirt and turn it up a notch with a funky cardigan or a bold shoe. By keeping the rest of your outfit simple and tailored, you can play around with pattern, color and texture in other areas like accessories and add-ons.

Pattern: Emily Shirt. Top by Steffen Schraut, cardigan by Sonia Rykiel, trousers from H&M, bag by Hermes, day planner by Mulberry, watch by Michael Kors, ballet flats by Reed Krakoff.

Check out a few of my favorite button up shirt projects from our talented BurdaStyle members:

From left: madebymeg’s adorable da Vinci Blouse, the Liberty blouse à passepoils by passionplaisir – based on the Long Sleeve Blouse, and wzrdreams’ Chambray Shirt based on the Emily.

What’s your favorite way to wear this classic closet staple? Any sewing or fitting tips for making your own?


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    Jul 25, 2012, 09.45 AMby lastoro

    Nice shirts!

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    Aug 24, 2011, 03.49 PMby Kemikoyi

    I love shirts too esp those with the cooperate office look. Though i don’t know how to make any yet…

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    Aug 24, 2011, 03.15 AMby corinneski

    I think the trick with a gaping shirt front is to start placing the buttonholes as follows: 1. bust point; 2. top button and then space them evenly along the shirt front.

    1 Reply
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      Sep 20, 2011, 11.30 PMby lochmoss

      You are exactly right. Get the “gap” first.

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    Aug 24, 2011, 01.45 AMby minimimi

    I am not a huge fan of button up shirts. They always gap at the bust,especially when you are active. I just have not found a great way to alter that to fix the problem. I am 34 DD and button shirts just do work well…. love the look hate the gaps. I have even sewn in hidden snaps to help with the problem.

    1 Reply
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      Aug 24, 2011, 10.32 AMby crockett315

      I am totally there! My poor daughter is a 34DD and not only do we have the gap problem, we also have the fact that the extra top stuff means having to lengthen everything to put the waistline where it belongs!!

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    Aug 22, 2011, 04.21 PMby wzrdreams

    Eek! I’m reminded that I always meant to make another Emily blouse. I think I need a trip to the fabric shop now.

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    Aug 21, 2011, 11.04 PMby loyl8

    I made this invisible placket shirt from a burda pattern and I love it.

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    Aug 21, 2011, 04.53 AMby alice9163

    I have many shirts and wear them with pants everyday! I really like the gold pants with brown piping featured in the main page. Where can I download the pattern?

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    Aug 20, 2011, 03.23 PMby jvanvelsor

    I have many shirts, and love them. They are much more flattering to me than any T shirt style. I’m sure you are aware that Threads magazine this month has a wonderful article about shirts. I also highly reccomend the blog . It is primarily a shirt making blog, with many excellent tutorials.

  • Missing

    Aug 20, 2011, 03.23 PMby jvanvelsor

    I have many shirts, and love them. They are much more flattering to me than any T shirt style. I’m sure you are aware that Threads magazine this month has a wonderful article about shirts. I also highly reccomend the blog . It is primarily a shirt making blog, with many excellent tutorials.

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    Aug 20, 2011, 12.50 PMby harrietbazley

    I never wear T-shirts because they don’t have buttons in front :)

    I like my dresses to button up too; other people start drolling over low-cut vintage party dresses but I’m busy coveting the down-to-earth ‘shirtwaists’. And it’s much easier to get a flattering bustline that way!

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    Aug 20, 2011, 11.04 AMby ruthw

    I’ve been on a shirt-making binge lately since I realized that I kept reaching for the few blouses and shirts that I had and decided that must mean I need more of them. However, the blouse in the intro picture for this article #130 from August 2010 – i have made it and I really don’t recommend the pattern. It has great shaping on the shoulders and fits well with no darts – very clever. BUT it has “concealed buttons” and they are “concealed” by buttoning into the back of the front facing. This is really bad drafting. It doesn’t work in wear because the buttons tug the facing outwards when you move. I have seen this so-called concealed button drafting on another Burda mag shirt pattern since then. I think it’s about time the drafters lost this method.

    Today I am about to try to salvage my blouse by handstitching the buttonholes on the facing closed and then just making normal buttonholes through the front piece and facing included.

    This summer I have also made four other button-up shirts by Burda mag (as well as other stuff) and had no problem at all with them. They are all great, including the one that had a proper concealed button panel [8/2009/129].

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    Aug 20, 2011, 01.00 AMby madebymeg

    thanks for the shout out! i’ve been on a blouse binge lately. here’s my own inspiration page of cool twists on the classic blouse:

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    Aug 20, 2011, 12.07 AMby redviv

    Love shirts and completely agree with the go-to status they hold in my wardrobe.

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    Aug 19, 2011, 08.55 PMby MientjiB

    I have a massive gap in my wardrobe when it comes to button-up shirts! Thank you for this post – some inspiration to get me going :-)

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