Read any fashion blog for a while and you will inevitably find a list of items every woman needs.
Sometimes it’s from a French perspective, and includes cigarette pants and brogues.
Other times Englishwomen write the lists, including things like riding boots and wool blazers.
Sometimes the lists are infinitely practical: comfortable undergarments and mid-height black heels.
This is no list. But, invariably these lists seem to include a good white button down.
I’m embarrassed to admit how much I’ve bought into this advice, and how many white-button downs I own. (Okay, 6).
By far, however, my favorite button-down is an over-sized men’s dress shirt I found at a hospice thrift store. I was visiting my cousin in the small town of New Braunfels, and she was looking for picture frames for a craft she was working on.
I tagged along with her, visiting all the thrift stores in town and perusing the clothes while she looked at homegoods.
When I found the button-down, I knew I had to have it.
I could picture myself wearing it with skinny black pants and black flats, posing like Audrey Hepburn. I knew it would dress up jeans and riding boots, and add volume and an element of fun to a pencil skirt.
I couldn’t wait to cuff the sleeves a la Jenna Lyons, and pair it with a bold red lipstick. The shirt didn’t even have any stains!
It was a bit sad to buy it, though. The hospice thrift shop accepted donations from hospice care facilities, meaning the former owner had probably left it behind when he left the world behind.
While this was sad, it gave me a sense of connection to the former owner: I felt I was honoring his legacy by putting his old clothing to good use. Profit from the sales at the store also went to providing healthcare for senior citizens.
I found my wardrobe staple in an unexpected place: the men’s section of a hospice gift store. May I recommend, if you- like me- are a button-down fiend, never leave a thrift store without quickly flipping through the men’s shirts.
Now, to answer the question that is on your minds.
WHY do you have six white button downs?? They are all different! (I know, I am crazy.) One has ruffles and is a hand-me-down from my mom, another was a gift from Banana Republic and has a pussy bow, one is short-sleeved linen, one is a Tommy Hilfiger shirt that is meant to be left untucked, and the other is a classic fitted Uniqlo button-down. Of course, my favorite is the one I found for the cheapest at a random store in a tiny town!
What about you? Do you have a “classic” white button down? Do you think all women should own one? Are you too scared to buy the easily stainable white from a thrift store for fear of discovering a previously hidden stain when you get home?