Bostonista Writes Back: To Button, or Not to Button

1205946219Style-strapped locals often look to Bostonista for advice on a wide range of topics, such as what to wear, how to decorate, and which area hotel to visit for an afternoon tryst (seriously).

This week’s query:

My office is business casual, which means I don’t have to wear a tie to work. That’s great news, considering I’d rather hang myself by a silk noose than tie a Windsor every morning, but it leaves me befuddled over what to do with my collar. Do I button down its flaps like I would with a tie? Or do I let them hang free and loose to flap in the wind?


Collar? I barely even know her.

Oh, Collar Caller. We respect your anti-tie tirade, but if you manage to muster the energy required to lace up your shoes in the morning, knotting a tie wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

But I digress. This ongoing collar controversy will likely never die, so long as those tricky shirt designers leave the ultimate decision of whether to button or not to button in your hands. But here are a few rough guidelines: If the collar in question is starchy and stiff, buttoning it down will probably bring your neckline up far beyond what looks normal, unless you’re experimenting with that neck-brace chic effect, which I hope for everyone’s sake, you’re not.

However, if the shirt you threw on this morning is a few too many wears past clean and crisp, you’ll want to tighten up those buttons and at least create an illusion of recent dry cleaning. (Another terrific idea: a double dose of deodorant.)

And if any of your snobby superiors dare call you out on the choice you’ve made for the day, just arm yourself with the tried and true boxers-or-brief argument. Taking the “personal preference” high road not only will make you seem more independent and confident, the awkwardness of discussing underwear styles with a higher-up will make him or her think twice about questioning your style choices ever again.

Got a style quandary? Drop us a line at

–Joe McGauley