There are two basic classifications of shirts – casual and formal. However you must have often heard the term – button down shirt. What does this mean? Let us also understand the meaning of button-up shirt which is not as commonly used term but will help you understand the concept better.
The main difference is basically the collar buttons. Shirts with a collar buttons are button-down shirts. This is essentially for a formal look. It ensures your collar remains form and buttoned down. It will not fold or bend around the edges. However casual shirts do not require a button down collar. Also in cases of shirts with firm and stiff collars, a buttoned down collar is not essential. This brings us to the button up shirt.
The button up shirt is the one with collars that do not have a button. Such shirts were considered casual until recently when button down formal shirts have become the new trend. These shirts have a stiff and firm collar that stays down throughout the day and do not require a button to fasten. While the button down is considered as the traditional look, a button up shirt is more modern.
In case of bow ties or knot ties, it is preferable to wear button down shirts and the bow or knot may raise the collar and spoil the firm look. The buttons on both sides will ensure that the collars are pressed down even for a fatter knot or a nice bow tie. Also, it is considered as the official work-wear, formal shirt in its true sense. This indicates that your dress shirts should essentially be button downs while your casual or semi-formal shirts may or may not be so depending on your choice.
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