8 Different Ways to Wear a White Dress Shirt: Women’s Guide

I’m glad that I’m focusing on showing you multiple ways to wear staple pieces in your closet in order to get maximum wear. In this economy, nobody has time to wear an item only once and we are more prone to shop for pieces that can be styled multiple ways. The next item I shall be showing you to dress up (or down) is the white dress shirt.

This closet staple can be best traced in the Victorian era where it was an important symbol of wealth and class distinction. A Crisp white dress shirt was actually seen as a sign of someone who could afford the finer things. Can you believe that? I mean it does actually make sense when you think about it.

The effort it takes to maintain the cleanliness, brightness and pure color of a crisp white shirt is much more than any other color. Being able to do so during that era meant you could afford to pay someone to take care of your laundry and thus were probably wealthy.

Imagine your socio-economic status being reduced to whether or not you could afford a white shirt and if so, how many you could afford. The more white dress shirts a man could own, the wealthier he came across.

I specify ‘men’ here because women were not wearing dress shirts during the Victorian era. We were being bound up tight with corsets, shrinking our waists to almost nothing in an attempt to seduce men. It would only be post second world war that women would formally enter the workforce.

Nowadays, white dress shirts are accessible to all and range in price from extremely affordable to extremely expensive. No matter your budget however, there is a white dress shirt you can afford. The styles and lengths of dress shirts for women has also expanded throughout the decades and we find ourselves with options of cropped, regular length, high-low, midi and maxi dress shirts.

White shirts have historically been known to be the best option of clothing to wear to a job interview. In recent times, they are not only known as being a formal shirt worn for just formal occasions but can be worn casually with a pair of jeans or even leggings.

In this post, I hope to show you the multiple ways you can style your classic dress shirt and also show you how to style other lengths of dress shirts you may not own yet. To start off, make sure you already own the perfect white dress shirt. These are my favorite HERE and HERE.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no cost to you.

1) White dress shirt with jeans

Starting this list off with a more casual style, we have the classic white shirt with jeans combination, a look that works regardless of body type. Whether you’re working with blue jeans or a pair of black ones, this is such a laid back yet luxurious look. It’s the perfect casual look for a summer day in the Hamptons or a Fall day in Toronto.

I love how depending on the footwear you go with, this look could become slightly elevated. If you were to pair it with heeled sandals, you could wear it for a PTA meeting. If you decide to pair it with some comfortable flat forms or even Birkenstocks, then you get a different vibe.

I personally like to tuck in one side of my white button-up and leave the other side hanging. You should try it some time. It gives your look more dimension.
Or, you could opt for a cropped white shirt which would look amazing with a pair of skinny jeans and heels. Perfect for date night!

The good news is most white dress shirts don’t require you to wear a white undershirt or tank tops underneath, but if you sweat a lot and/or wish to preserve the armpits of your shirt, you might want to consider investing in a few. Women can definitely get away with men’s undershirts so feel free to grab a couple from your man’s wardrobe 🙂

2) White dress shirt with a flare skirt

Now here’s another great opportunity to play around with your white shirts. Consider going for a cropped white shirt with short sleeves and a button-down collar, and pairing that with a high waist pleated midi or mini skirt. The midi skirt option would still work for an office look. If you are on the more conservative side, swap the cropped white shirt for a regular-length one and tuck it in to accentuate your waist.

For a more playful look, tie your shirt at the front to create a knot. The mini pleated skirt and white shirt works great as a chic look to hang out with the girls (or boys). Your dress shirt could also be replaced with a white t-shirt and this look would still work nicely.

*Image from Pinterest

During the colder months, you could wear a white button-down shirt with a flared skirt and leather jacket or longline coat and you would be serving some haute Fall fashion. Ankle or knee-high boots could be worn to complete your look. Another good choice would be a pair of loafers – especially if you are headed to the office.

If your shirt happens to be really long, you could let it hang over your skirt and add a belt on top. Adding a navy blazer to this look would give a nice slightly preppy vibe.

3) White dress shirt with leggings

I’m so glad we now have white button down shirts that are long enough to be worn as dresses because this is one of my favorite Fall looks. A white shirt dress goes very nicely with a pair of leggings, like the famous Spanx faux leather leggings, and some knee-high or thigh-high boots.

If you’re feeling daring and it’s not cold outside, you can even opt for not wearing any leggings and show off those bare legs. Not able to find boots that go past your calves? No problem. Try going for either pair of boots or even some heels, if you’re headed somewhere fancy.

*Image from Pinterest

If you’re looking to make this look appropriate for office wear, you definitely want to stick to the leggings and instead of the thigh high boots, try going for a nice flat ankle boot for a complete look. Take note that with longer dress shirts, your outerwear should also be longer.

During the winter months, it’s an important thing to go with your maxi puffer jacket or coat, not only to keep warm but also to avoid looking awkward when your shirt is hanging out from underneath your coat.

4) White dress shirt with biker shorts

A common misconception is that white dress shirts have to be kept for semi formal or formal events. This is clearly not the case and whit button-downs can be worn for a variety of occasions, no matter the dress codes. This look would definitely be the most casual on this list but it’s one you may want to try out if you’re tired of wearing the same old items with your white dress shirt.

First, you want to ensure you invest in a pair of good biker shorts that won’t ride up and turn into botty shorts after a 5 minute walk. Leaving you to keep tugging at them awkwardly in public (trust me, I’ve been there!)

*Image from Pinterest but get a similar look HERE

Interestingly enough, my favorite biker shorts are actually work out shorts because by design, they’re made to stay in place during rigorous exercise. Check out these Gymshark options if you’re in the market for a good pair of biker/cycling shorts.

When it comes to pairing a white dress shirt with shorts, regardless of whether your shirt has long sleeves or not, my personal preference is to go with a shirt that just covers your bum. It keeps things classy yet still casual and you can also accessorize with a small belt.

A pair of white sneakers would be a great choice of footwear if this look is to be worn in the warm weather. If not, knee or thigh-high boots would work great.

5) White dress shirt underneath a midi dress or sweater

A pretty neat way of wearing a white dress shirt is underneath a dress. The dresses that work best for this look are shift dresses, pencil dresses and any dresses with a wide enough collar. This is because you want the shirt collar to show underneath your dress to give it a crisp look. If you are wearing your shirt underneath a sweater, the same applies in terms of the width of the sweater. A crew neck works best.

What’s great about this look is you can now pair your white shirt with any color of dress or sweater thanks to the neutrality of this perfect undershirt. For the cold weather, this is the perfect way to add an extra layer of warmth to your outfit.

You could also add a pair of leggings or tights in a solid color underneath your dress and this would still work great with your overall look.

6) White dress shirt with a pencil skirt

This look needs no introduction as you probably already rock this look pretty frequently but the list would not be complete without yet another classic pairing. Instead of going for your usual black pencil skirt, try opting for a skirt in a bold and different color such as burgundy, green or red, depending on your skin tone. Let your skirt do all the talking.

Another thing you may want to try the next time you’re reaching for your pencil skirt is a more cropped button-down white shirt versus your typical length. A different style of shirt can bring a regular outfit to life. For footwear, you could go with sneakers, flats loafers, boots or heels – the choice is yours!

7) White dress shirt with pants

This is yet another classic outfit combo and one which most of us already own. If you’re planning on pulling this look off in the Summer, I suggest you go for a white linen shirt to go with your pair of pants. This is because linen is such a breathable fabric and would keep you nice and cool.

To try something different in terms of footwear, why not go for a white oxford? Just make sure the weather predicts sunny skies, ok? If that’s too much for you, your black loafers or flats would work just fine.

As for your pants, make sure you already own a great pair of wide leg pants, which would go well with either a cropped white dress shirt or one in a regular length which you could tuck in. The best part about this look is that once again, you can play around with pant colors. For formal wear, you may want to stick to light colors or dark solid colors such as dark grey, black, navy blue and light grey.

And there we have it! A nice compilation for white dress shirt outfits for any occasion. As you can see, they can be worn as casual shirts or more formal shirts depending on how they are styled.

No matter the style you’re going for, a white dress can be your best friend, especially if you’re on a budget and only shopping for pieces that can be the most versatile in your wardrobe.

Now you have a good reason to shop for your best white shirt!

While you’re here, you may want to check out how you can style your faux leather leggings with your white dress shirt!

I also have a post on 8 great ways to wear a belt over a shirt.

Also check out my post on the best ways to wear a denim shirt dress.

Until the next post,