Button-down shirts as soft as silk but more forgiving?
March 22, 2019 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm a woman in my 20s who wants to change up my daily uniform. I used to wear soft, drapey, silk button-downs but am looking for a lower maintenance replacement. I would love to have the same look. Which brands should I look at and what materials?

Lifestyle and budget changes mean that I can't afford my previous wardrobe of silk button-down blouses anymore. (Dog paws and silk really don't mix! And silk is finicky even on its best days.) Here are examples of what I wore from Vince: shirt A, shirt B. They were super flattering because of how they draped.

I'd love to find a shirt that has a similar look but at a lower price than $300 and with a more forgiving material. (Maybe I'm asking for the impossible, ha.) I'm usually a size 4/small. I'm thinking:
- full/partial button-down or has some structure
- soft for comfort! what materials are good? maybe viscose like this Lucky Brand shirt, which looks very drapey but isn't available in my size?
- drapey, so much more flattering
- solid colors are optional but awesome

I tried Madewell button-downs, and the stiff flannel and boxy fit just looked meh on me. I hate shopping, so I had already given up and was just defaulting to wearing my long-suffering boyfriend's t-shirts out of laziness (I know). Once I find a new go-to blouse, I'll just buy 5 in different colors and wear them all the time. :)

I'd love specific brand recommendations or links to blouses that you like! Please help out this shop-a-phobe.
posted by hotchocolate to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I like the rayon shirts from Uniqlo. I go for the ones with a standard collar, but they have some with necklines more along the lines of what you are looking at too.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 9:47 PM on March 22, 2019 [9 favorites]

I have heard excellent things about Everlane’s silk shirts.
posted by stellaluna at 10:27 PM on March 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ok I think that Vince silk shirts are higher-maintenance than a lot of others, in my experience. Check out Equipment? They’re maybe $200 but you can get them discounted pretty reliably on sites like the Outnet and secondhand. I just throw mine in the wash on cold and dry in the drier, and steam for wrinkles if needed. They’re not terribly drapey but I generally wear a medium and I have a large and a small and they both look good, just different fits.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 11:20 PM on March 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like the Banana Republic Dylan blouses. They're mostly poly or rayon, and the fabric is uneven. Some are amazingly comfortable and others have that terrible too-thin-poly static cling, so you may have to order a big batch at once and return some. The plus side is that the good ones are very easy care--machine wash and toss in the dryer--and hold up great (I have one that I've been wearing weekly for at least 3 years that still looks new).
posted by snaw at 5:59 AM on March 23, 2019

I do much the same as you; when I find a blouse that works, I buy a bunch in different colors. So I have several of these rayon shirts from Uniqlo (that kinddieserzeit mentions) and several of these in silk from Everlane (that stellaluna mentions).

The weight of the Uniqlo rayon means they drape very nicely and being able to just toss them in the wash is nice. But they don't hold up over time, really. The one I just recycled was less than two years old and I wore it about once every two weeks? The Everlane shirts are really lovely; the finish and details are solid and the silk is lovely. And they last - I've not yet had to get rid of even the oldest one even though I wear them more than the Uniqlo ones (though of course it helps that they get dry cleaned very rarely). BUT, that's pretty much the difference between $29.99 and $110, right?
posted by minervous at 6:39 AM on March 23, 2019

And correcting my previous post, Dylan should actually be Dillon. Sorry!
posted by snaw at 6:48 AM on March 23, 2019

Caution about everlane's silk shirts... I have never encountered a shirt that wrinkled faster. I mean COMPLETELY crushed from a 30 min commute into work. Its been a few years so maybe they fixed the silk weave, or maybe I haven't figured out the secret to silk... But I couldn't wear them at all.
posted by KMoney at 7:06 AM on March 23, 2019

Eddie Bauer's Infinity button downs are a big part of my work wardrobe. They are there most easy to care for garment I've ever owned. They don't wrinkle, they don't take special laundry care, liquids just roll right off them, they're stretchy and forgiving. I would wear one every day of the week if people wouldn't think that was weird. Seems like on the website they only have grey right now, but I have them in purple and blue, so other colors do exist.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:31 AM on March 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also love the Uniqlo rayon button down shirts!
posted by forkisbetter at 11:54 AM on March 23, 2019

Downvote for Everlane silk. Felt cheap, didn't hold up. I can positively recommend two things - 1) Eileen Fisher shirts and sweaters that include Tencel as a material. Super durable, fewer wrinkles. I find these on sale all the time, and 2) LOFT "utility blouse" which isn't that soft or perfectly made but wow, these are so incredibly durable and inexpensive. I watch for sales on these and buy when they are around $30 or less like the one via the link (40% off sale right now). Nothing will compare to silk but these are great compromises.
posted by belau at 8:22 PM on March 23, 2019

On the budget (under $50) and machine wash/dry end of the spectrum, I like LOFt utility blouses and Express Portofino shirts. Both go on sale quite regularly.

But if you're used to wearing Vince silk blouses... sorry, there's a reason they cost $300 and you need to be prepared to accept compromises in drape/fit/fabric at a lower price point, especially if you want to go to machine-washable synthetics.

Everlane would be a reasonable compromise if you were looking for a cheaper silk blouse -- although my experience is with a blouse from several years ago, I suspect quality may have declined since then -- but they definitely aren't machine-washable and even hand-washing would require hand-ironing to touch it up afterwards.
posted by serelliya at 4:50 PM on March 25, 2019

I think some of the babaton blouses at aritzia are what you're looking for. This one is a dream, and it never wrinkles, feels so good and drapes nicely.
posted by anoirmarie at 7:43 AM on March 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

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