7 Ways to Improve Your Basic Button Down

We've all been guilty of falling back on a classic button down and black pants when we're feeling less than inspired in the fashion department. But this spring we're in luck: oxford shirts are in for 2014. The trend comes with a caveat, however; in order to rock your button down, it can't be boring. We took inspiration from the runways and our favorite street style icons to come up with seven effortless ways to wear your button down in a fresh, fashionable way.

1. Turn an Oversized Button Down Into a Shirt Dress

If you've somehow ended up with a button down that is even bulky on your boyfriend, try turning it into a shirt dress. Paired with a vintage brown leather belt and kitten heels or ankle booties, a shirt dress looks both relaxed and refined. Keep in mind that the fingertips test that you remember from grade school is applicable here: if the shirt doesn't reach past your fingers when you hold your hands at your sides, the world isn't ready to see you wear it as a dress.

Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

2. Wear an Oxford Shirt with Distressed Jeans

Take a cue from the high-low trend and pair a crisp oxford shirt with a pair of strategically ripped, faded jeans for the perfect casual weekend ensemble. When coupled with a pair of pointy toe pumps and a menswear watch, the ensemble hits just the right note of distinctive style.

Fred Duval/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

3. Pair a Shirt with a Maxi Skirt

Take a cue from decades past and wear your button down with a chiffon maxi skirt. Not only does the look exude taste, but it also provides a certain amount of warmth in the transition time between winter and spring.

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

4. Rock an Oxford Shirt with Leather Leggings

If you're looking to add some edge to your basic button down, leather leggings will do the trick. The ensemble works best with a relaxed fit button down and a pair of boots or flats; heels give the look a more coquettish vibe. For extra sophistication, add a fitted blazer over the top.

Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

5. Wear With a Graphic Floral Skirt

Try working your button down with another hot trend for spring: bold florals. The mix of menswear with florals provides a chic, fresh twist on the classic shirt. For a more avant garde take on the look, try a floral pattern with asymmetrically placed blooms, bright, contrasting colors, or a faded print.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

6. Create a Modernized Tuxedo

Tuxedo dressing is having a moment in fashion, and happens to be a perfect way to use your oxford shirt in an unconventional way. For a look that reads modern instead of strictly menswear-inspired, look for slim, ankle-length pants and a jacket that hits at or just above the hip. Neutral heels and minimalist jewelry complete the look.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

7. Wear Under a Sleeveless Dress

Be forewarned: this trend typically doesn't work under strapless dresses or those with cap sleeves (sorry, Sarah Jessica Parker and Julia Roberts). However, under a streamlined, sleeveless dress, a white button down has a quirky, preppy feel to it. In order to balance out the classic elements, try pairing the look with a brightly colored shoe or a bold statement necklace.

Sandy Young/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images