After comfortable underwear and the perfect white T-shirt, a reliable white button-down is a man’s best friend. Its role isn’t just providing a collar for a necktie or slipping seamlessly beneath a blue suit — it’s also the quickest way to make any man look clean and presentable. To find the white button-downs (dress shirts, oxfords, and even band-collar shirts) with the best fit, collar, and sleeve length, we grilled ten stylish guys for their favorites.
Best white button-down for tall guys
“I look for shirts that meet a certain standard of fit, and the J.Crew slim-fit shirts do the job. I’m a tall dude, so it’s hard to find shirts that fit properly. And then honestly, the majority of my choice is based on price because I wear them almost as often as I wear white T-shirts. They’re not disposable, but they need to not be precious, either.” —Mikael Kennedy, photographer and rug dealer
Best unstructured white button-down
“My favorite white button-down shirt is probably from P. Johnson Tailors. Their stuff is much lighter and unstructured, and made with really soft fabrics. And their clothes are actually made in Italy. The attention to detail with the fit is just impeccable, and everything has this ease. Those little details like real mother-of-pearl buttons mean the world to me. As the owner of a tailor shop, I see so many people spending a lot of money on certain labels, and it’s still just not the right fit. When you understand fit, you understand how hard it is to get it right, especially for something off the rack.” —Desmond Brooks, co-owner Shop Boy Tailoring NYC
Best affordable white button-down
“This Uniqlo shirt is only $30, and I’ve worn more expensive shirts, but I keep coming back to this one. It’s classic-looking without making you look like a menswear blogger from 2010, and it’s slim-fit without making you look like you bought your shirt from a sponsored Instagram post by a direct-to-consumer brand. Simple, smart, and cheap. I look mostly at the size of collar and the placement of the second button. Most other stuff can be adjusted at the tailor if you need. I also like the Maison Margiela Artisanal Kiss Shirt. It’s high art.” —Griffin Funk, designer, Apple
Best thick white button-down
“The Milano Fit Oxford is a workhorse of a white shirt. It’s made in North Carolina out of superdense cotton oxford cloth, and it’s actually kind of rough when you first get one. But then, with enough washing and wear, it becomes one of the softest things in your closet. Plus, it’s thick enough that no undershirt is required (no one will see your nipples), which I prefer. But the thing I love most about them is the tall collar. Wearing a button-down shirt with a micro-collar is like wearing a suit jacket that ends above your ass — there’s no dignity in it (you look like a dick). You could almost fit a rattle snake under the collar on one of these, but they still look great with jeans and rolled sleeves, too.” —Brad Bennett, editor of Well Spent and founder of BDBCreative
Best slightly weird white button-down
“One of my favorite dress shirts is this Comme des Garçons because, even though it’s a classic white shirt, I don’t always want to look like everybody else, and I think white shirts can be super boring. But the amazing thing about Comme des Garçons and their shirting is that every season, the shirt is weirdly a little different. Sometimes it’ll be a tuxedo front shirt with the ruffles; sometimes it’ll be really long; sometimes it’ll be short; sometimes it’ll be wide — so they have this amazing ability to take something as standard as a white shirt and do it a million different ways. I find that that helps me wear a white shirt and still feel like an individual.” —Alex Frank, writer
Best everyday white button-down
“But when I want to look just kind of regular, I just go to Uniqlo because they pull off that kind of starched-white-shirt look really well. A white shirt is not something I wear all the time, but when I’m trying to look like I’m well-behaved, I’ll choose this one.” —Frank
Best looser-fitting white button-down
“I find that most white button-downs are too stiff, particularly the collar. I like my collars to be kind of loose and on the small side. I also prefer my shirts a little bit roomy around the chest and shoulders, so they sort of fall a little looser on me, as opposed to being tight and restrictive — but still slim. I don’t like the sleeves to be too long, and I find a lot of white button-ups have really long sleeves, so I only feel comfortable wearing them rolled up. This Kato one checks off all the boxes for me.” —Vincent Bancheri, owner Mamma Bird Recording Co.
Best spread-collar white button-down
“Disclaimer: I don’t own this shirt, but I have tried it on. It’s Ascot Chang for the Armoury, a really amazing dress shirt, just simple and very clean. It’s a brilliant white, it has a good fit, and I really love the collar shape on it. I just don’t have a need for it right now, but it’s the perfect shirt.” —Jacob Gallagher, men’s fashion editor, The Wall Street Journal
Best sleeve-length white button-down
“Like noted EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg, I wear a lot of white shirts. Probably my favorite one is the royal oxford-cloth button-down from Eton. It’s designed in Sweden by this vertically integrated company where they own their cotton fields, and they own the factory in Romania where the people actually stitch their shirts together. It’s just shy of the fit that you would probably get if you went bespoke. Despite the fact that my arms are relatively short, I cannot get shirt sleeves that are quite long enough to go all the way to my wrist joint, but the first time I tried this shirt on and tried on a sweater over it, I noticed that it was sticking out from underneath the ribbing of the wrist on the sweater just the right amount, like that perfect weird place between a quarter-inch and a half-inch. It’s as close to perfect as a shirt gets, and because of that, it’s worth spending the money, I think.” —Justin Fenner, deputy editor, mensjournal.com
Best band-collar white button-down
“In terms of a casual look, this button-down is one of my favorites. The band collar is super comfortable to wear; in recent years, I’ve been wearing true collared shirts less because, you know, I don’t want that shit all up on my neck if I don’t have to have it there. Plus, the construction’s really good, too; I can wash it over and over, and it still holds together, which is awesome. It looks good open and over a T-shirt or buttoned up all the way.” —Vicken Donikian, co-founder of Good Fishing
Best short-collar white button-down
“Kamakura has this oxford-cloth button-down that’s made with a slightly lighter-weight shirting than the traditional oxford shirt, so it wears beautifully right out of the box, and more than anything, they just have the most beautiful collar roll. Whether it’s because of what’s on trend or what’s easiest to produce, today’s typical oxford tends to have a really short, stiff collar that lies really flat, but the Kamakura collar rolls in a way that just frames a necktie so nicely, and it carries that same shape when you wear the shirt open, which I tend to do. More than anything, though, it’s the history of the company — Kamakura opened in Japan in the early ’90s, but only after the founder had spent decades living and traveling throughout the U.K. and U.S. — particularly in the ’60s, learning about British tailoring and American Ivy style.” —Michael Strout, brand strategist
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