There are few summer garments as classic and versatile — and thus essential — as the white linen button-down. Fresh from the dry cleaner, it's wrinkle-free and suitably formal for work; by the weekend, it's appealingly creased and worn, to be paired with tan or navy shorts to brunch, or tied over a swimsuit as a cover-up.
The origin of my craving for a white linen button-down can probably be traced to Gwyneth Paltrow's wardrobe in "The Talented Mister Ripley." Whether by the Tyrrhenian coast or in the city, few are the scenes in which Paltrow isn't wearing a white button-down (though hers are short-sleeved cotton, not long-sleeved linen). In the film, her shirts are typically tucked into a full, patterned skirt, either worn mostly buttoned up (in the city) or completely unbuttoned to reveal a colorful bikini top (by the water).
My go-to linen button-down is from J.Crew (surprise, surprise), which I own in multiples. It's of a good medium weight that isn't transparent or too easily wrinkled, well-priced and about as classically cut as they come.
J.Crew Perfect Shirt in Linen, $80, available at J.Crew.
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