button up vs button down shirt

Button Up Shirt Vs Button Down Shirt

Button up shirts and button down shirts are two great pieces you can't miss in men's wardrobe. However, If you don't wear cloth that fits you or the occasion, it won't do you any good. Sometimes once we see men's collared shirt with buttons running down the hem, we call it a button up, or some call it a button down shirt. No, no, no. 

Some even think these two names can be used interchangeably. That's also untrue. While we might see their distinctions as only a work of difference in semantics, knowing their differences will help you wear your clothes better. 

Fortunately, our expert tailors at StudioSuits have spilled everything you need to know about the button up vs button down shirt in this article. Ensure to read to the end to see the frequently asked questions. We are sure that this article will enlighten you more about these two pieces of clothing.

Button Up Vs Button Down Shirt

If you want to spot the difference between button up and a button down shirt, look at how the collar is fastened and the button placements. These two styles of shirts  differ in a few ways, which you can see by looking at them, but here is a detailed comparison:

  • Button-Up Shirts are first off different in the button placements. The buttons on the shirts are placed vertically from the collar down to the bottom hem. The person wearing it must align the buttons in the appropriate buttonhole to fasten the shirt. 

Men's button up shirts are versatile and can be effortlessly worn for a variety of occasions, whether they are formal gatherings or casual outings.They are available in various styles, including button-up formal shirts, button-up casual shirts, and button-up dress shirts.

  • Button down shirts come with additional features, and we are talking of the buttons attached to the collar. Unlike button up shirt, the collar is fastened to the shirt with buttons. There are buttons fastened at every collar point on a button-down shirt. Typically, you can describe this type of shirt as one with its collar fastened in place with buttons. Men's button down shirt work better in informal settings and are worn mainly casually. 

Button Up Shirts


Button up shirts for men, also called dress shirts, can be worn in formal, semi-formal, and informal settings. They give you that polished appearance with the way you can fasten your shirt with buttons to fit your body. You will find button-up shirts in assorted colors, patterns, and styles which makes them versatile and a perfect fit for different settings. Button up shirts are made from fabrics of different textures like linen, cotton, polyester, and blends.

They also come in various specifications and sizes, with short, long, and three-quarter sleeves. Usually, button up shirts are worn to business or professional meetings. They can be paired with suits or tailored pants, and you can add a tie for a more classic look. Apart from maintaining a formal look, you can wear button-up shirts with chinos or jeans for any casual event. You can tuck your shirt or leave it untucked for a more casual look. These are wardrobe staples you should have handy anytime.

Button Down Shirt


When you see a button up and button down shirt, the style of the collar will tell you the difference. From the collar construction, you can see buttons on the collar points. With the help of the buttons, the collar is fastened to the shirt.

Although the button down shirts for men originated from sports, it is now an integral part of modern-day fashion. It creates a timeless and elegant appeal for the wearer. You can select your preferred style, color, or pattern that best suits your function or comfort. They fit perfectly into informal settings well. Button down shirts are clothing you can pair with pants, chinos, or denim in casual settings. Their versatility in fitting in different occasions makes them desirable among men and women.

History of Button Up and Button Down Shirts

Button up shirts do not have a long history, but interestingly they have a unique one. When considering the history of button up vs button down shirts, you can trace the former to ancient times. In the 19th century, button up clothes were mainly worn by men as undergarments. Fast forward to the middle of the 19th century, they became standalone fashion clothes worn mostly by men in formal settings. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, and with the wide availability of sewing machines, button up shirts revolutionized in design. They are made with collars and buttons placed at the center front. Modern button-up shirts come in fabrics such as silk, linen, cotton, etc., and are tailored to various styles and cuts.

The first time men's button down shirt came into the picture was in the 19th century, and they were used in polo sports. John E Brooks was one of the founders of the clothing company Brooks Company in America. He got the inspiration for his new clothing style from English polo players. 

The type of sports shirt used then had buttons to fasten the collar to prevent it from flapping and disturbing the player during gameplay. In the 20th century, it became a cloth associated with the sporty style and worn with jeans, khakis, and chinos. Now, both button up and button down clothes have evolved in style, pattern, and fashion trends and now fit several settings. 

When to Wear a Button Up or Button Down Shirt

While you can readily see specific rules and guidelines to follow while wearing some clothes, for button up or button down shirts, it can be tricky. If you are asking when to wear a button up vs button down shirt, here is what to know since both clothes are similar with only a few differences. 

When considering a formal look, both clothes can be worn alongside ties and pants. However, if you are going to an ultra-conservative setting, a button down shirt will do it for you plus, you can also add accessories like a cap to it for a more innovative look. For example, the classic button down shirt has a single pocket with collar points that needs to be buttoned to the shirt. They are usually made of thick cotton fabrics perfect for informal settings, and you can pair them with a sport blazer, regular blazer, chinos, shorts, or jeans for a casual outing.

The origin of button-down shirts came from a sport polo, meaning that they had no intention of being worn to formal meetings. Although this is a mere saying, the extra details (buttons) suggest so. However, as modern fashion has evolved, both shirts now serve in diverse settings. The only thing is, when wearing a button down, ensure that you fasten all the collar points with its buttons for an elegant look.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Clothing Items Can I Pair My Button Up and Button Down Shirt With?

Both clothing are versatile and match perfectly with other clothes. For example, for a classic and timeless look, pair our white button up shirt with tailored trousers and dress shoes for formal occasions.  For more casual approach, you can team up our blue button up shirt with dark denim or chinos and sneakers. Button up and button down shirts also go with a jacket or cardigan for added warmth.

What are the Tips to Style My Button Up and Button Down Shirts?

Styling is a matter of preference and choice. However, you can achieve a more stylish look by doing a few things to how you wear the shirt. Try rolling up your sleeves to make it more fashionable. Experiment with layering by adding a cardigan or vest to your outfit, and you may find it to be a delightful combination. Additionally, exploring patterned shirts or shirts in different colors, such as black button up shirt or green button up shirt, can significantly enhance your look and make a positive impression.

Can I Wear a Button Down Shirt in a Formal Setting?

Yes, comparing a button up vs button down cloth, the latter can be worn in a formal setting. However, they are better worn and fit for occasions like a business meet and greet meeting or a smart casual event. When going for a professional or business meeting, wearing a shirt with a spread collar would look smarter. Check out the collections at StudioSuits to find one that fits your style.

Can Women Wear Button Up and Button Down Shirts Too?

Yes. Most button up and button down clothes you will find are in the men's category, but still, women have their version. Designers who make women's clothes have button down shirts designed to fit the female body structure with different styles, patterns, and preferences.

How Well Should My Button Up and Button Down Shirts Fit?

The contour of your button up or button down shirt should be slim and well fitting. The shirt should align well with your body and sit comfortably on your shoulder. The buttons and the hole must be positioned to face each other so that when buttoned, it's not pulling or straining, giving you a ruffled look. You can also try on various sizes or contact our fashion experts at StudioSuits for a custom-made shirt that will fit you snugly.

How Do I Care for My Button Up and Button-Down Shirts?

If you care for your clothes correctly, you increase their longevity and maintain their quality. It would help to wash your clothes in a washing machine with lukewarm or cold water with mild detergent. You should avoid bleaching on your clothes to prevent damaging them unless otherwise stated.