As the stylist for Laura Harrier, Camille Rowe, and Katherine Waterston, Danielle Goldberg is no stranger to a Best Dressed-making red carpet moment, but when it comes to her own wardrobe, she is more often than not found in an understated button-down. “I don’t think there's any other item in my closet that offers such versatility,” Goldberg says of her sartorial weapon of choice, which she wears to client fittings, Fashion Week parties, or to feel pulled together at home. “It's a symbol of professionalism but it's also incredibly sexy,” she says—and, most importantly, "entirely effortless.” Of course, not all button-downs are created equal, she cautions: “Like a good pair of jeans, the fit is everything.”
Here, she sounds off her best tips for finding the perfect button-down—from fit to fabric to color—plus how to wear it. (Hint: it’s all about the buttons!)
Shop the Men’s Department
Though Goldberg has many of fashion’s favorite designers on speed dial, she often heads straight to the men’s department for button-downs. (J. Crew and Theory are go-tos.) “Men's button-downs allow for more freedom in the shape, whereas ones made for women often try to emulate the female body, which defeats the purpose of why a button-down is great,” says Goldberg, who prefers a broader, classic fit, free of bells and whistles. She even bristles at pockets: “They’re my own personal pet peeve,” she says with a laugh.
Choose a Cotton Fabric
When it comes to choosing which style to buy, she recommends looking first at the fabric. “You want something that's thick enough that it has some weight but not so heavy that it just hangs,” notes Goldberg, who recommends opting for a substantial cotton that—unlike satin and silk, which often lay flat—offers a structured fit.
Consider the Color
While Goldberg believes that everyone should have an off-white button-down as well as one in a bright color, the unsung closet hero, she says, is actually something darker. "I think more people should have black button-downs,” she muses. “It’s understatedly sexy.” So convinced is Goldberg that when she was designing The Studio Shirt—her recent one-off collaboration with the NYC-based label, Comme Si—she included pitch black and chocolate brown spins on her ode to the ultimate tailored shirt.
Take it to the Tailor
“Like a good pair of jeans, the fit is everything,” says Goldberg, who notes that she always takes her button-downs (which she buys oversized) to the tailor. "Make sure the sleeves aren't too long so they don't get too bunchy when you roll them up,” she warns—and most importantly, pay attention to how it falls on your shoulders. “It has to fit your shoulders. Ultimately, if it fits your shoulders, then you’re good to go.”
Wear it with… well, everything!
"The thing I love the most about the button-down is that the styling opportunities are endless,” says Goldberg, who pairs hers with jeans, black trousers, or Maryam Nassir Zadeh cargo pants. When it comes to accessorizing, she recommends reaching for classic pieces, such as a watch worn over the sleeve, a simple pearl necklace (hidden during the day and exposed, with the undoing of a button, in the evening), or a handkerchief tied around the neck, à la Camille Rowe. “Everything for me is about quiet statements,” she muses.
Button with Purpose
“Buttoning is how you can decide the vibe you’re going for," says Goldberg, a self-described “button snob”. "Three buttons is a meeting and an afternoon whereas just two buttons is a date.” At home (or for waist-up Zoom calls), on the other hand, she often buttons her shirt at the collar and leaves the waist open. “It’s a fun way to wear it with sweats around the house."
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