What is a button down shirt?
A button down shirt, or as also known as a dress shirt, is a shirt that features a collar along with a full opening from the top of the collar to the bottom of the hem, as well as sleeves and cuffs. These shirts are also known as button ups and button front shirts, and they are mainly worn by men, but the women’s term for a synonymous shirt is a blouse.
The full opening at the front of the shirt is typically fastened using buttons, hence why we’d probably think these shirts are called button downs. This would be incorrect though. Button downs were actually named for the American button down collar introduced by Brooks Brothers in the late 1800s. The cuffs on a button down shirt are also normally closed with buttons.
Button down shirts consist of several components. The collar of a button down shirt is normally a turn down collar, meaning it has a strip of fabric folded down away from the neck and usually comes to a point at the front of each side. The front consists of two panels of fabric that overlap each other and are fastened together with buttons. The back of a button down shirt is one piece and is usually pleated at the top middle section of the back, just below the collar. The sleeves of a button down shirt are traditionally long with a cuff at the wrist. Button downs can also have short sleeves.
Button down shirts are usually made of woven cotton or other fabrics. These shirts can be 100% cotton, blends of cotton, twill and polyester, or high end pima cotton. Modern button down shirts are sometimes made with a non wrinkle resin, which makes it wrinkle free. This type of shirt is very popular in our fast-paced society. Typically, non wrinkle-free button down shirts are pressed with a hot iron to make it smooth and stiff. This gives the button down shirt a very professional appearance.
Button down shirts are very versatile. They can be worn formally, buttoned to the top with a tie or with a jacket over the shirt. They can also be worn very casually. They can either be worn tucked into jeans or slacks or they can be free flowing over the midsection. Button downs can be worn by all ages, from infants to adults.
Dress shirts can be customized through the practice of embroidery. This is a method that uses a machine with thread and needles to stitch a design onto a fabric item. Embroidery is high-grade and durable, furthermore it is the most popular way to customize a button down or dress shirt.
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