When you're listing an item on Etsy, there's this pesky category that is for the "recipient" of the item. Basically, Etsy wants to know who you think is going to wear that item. The category is optional so you aren't required to fill it out to create the listing but it's encouraged. I've always struggled with the idea that what I make is for one specific kind of person. Most of the time, I end up selecting "unisex adults" for everything. Because who am I to say who can wear dinosaur earrings or a body chain? For me, fashion is not defined by the social construct of gender.

I've always loved the idea of wearing a men's fit shirt as a dress and it's an idea that I keep coming back to over the years. In my opinion, Rihanna is probably the mainstream master of playing with traditional men's silhouettes and fits. Most recently, she wore this look in the FourFiveSeconds video. Another one of my style icons Nadia Aboulhosn also pulled off a denim fit flawlessly recently.

So here a few of my tips on how I like to wear a traditional men's buttondown as a dress!

1. Fit for the Booty 

Finding something "oversized" for a plus size woman isn't easy so don't get discouraged when you try to put on a size down from your women's size and it doesn't fit right. The main thing that you want to look for if you are doing a full buttondown is how it fits over your butt. The sleeves can be rolled up; the waist can be belted; but if you want it to button all the way down, you can't fake those last three bottom buttons. I tried on at least 10 men's XXL buttondowns before I found this one that fit perfect in the butt and at the collar. I paired it with tall over-the-knee boots and a vintage collar clip to Ready to Stare-ize it.

 

Outfit Details:

Buttondown: Vintage, Ready to Stare

Collar Clip: Vintage, Ready to Stare

Diamond Cage Rage: Melody Ehsani 

Trill Midi rings: Ready to Stare

Wavy Brass ring: Ready to Stare

ATL ring: Custom, GroundscoreNYC 

Boots: Dots (R.I.P)

2.  Fake the Buttons

If you want to skip trying on 10 different buttondowns, finding one that has only the top three collar buttons. This allows you to get a shirt that fits snug in the chest and the hips without worrying about the fit with the jacket. Since the one I found had really Urkel vibes, I decided to edge it up with a gold chain necklace, Timberland boots, and a dark lip.

Outfit Details:

Buttondown: Vintage, Ready to Stare

Necklace: Gold Pharaoh Necklace, Ready to Stare

Lipstick: Simply Vamp Temptress, NYX

Boots: Vintage, Timberland

3. Over-Accessorize

My style motto is "more is more" and that whole Coco Chanel quote about removing one piece of jewelry before leaving the house is the antithesis of my philosophy. So for this look, I paired a men's 4X buttondown which was pretty baggy on me with a layered necklaces, a fuzzy crossbody bag, earrings, and thigh highs. With the shirt being a few sizes too big for me, I get length in this one that I didn't get in the others. And between the accessories and the rolled sleeves, who would even notice the fit?

 Buttondown: Vintage

Necklaces: Vintage, Ready to Stare

Earrings: 87 Chain Link Digit Earrings, Melody Ehsani

Purse: Rainbow Faux Fur Crossbody bag, Ready to Stare

Thigh highs: Lois Size D, Kix'ies

 4. Belt It.. Duh 

I saved the most obvious tip for last. Adding a belt to the shirt gives you an automatic waistline that the shirt won't do on its own. This look has two other cheats too -- the shirt is a woman's 4X so I didn't have to worry about the fit over the butt and I also wore leggings so I didn't have to worry about the length. At the end of the day, do what works for you and your comfort level. If you aren't ready for the thigh highs and 10 pearl necklaces, this is definitely a more approachable way to achieve a similar look.

 

Outfit Details:

Buttondown: Vintage, Ready to Stare

Belt: Layered chain belt, Ready to Stare

Car ring: Ready to Stare

Earrings: Daisy earrings, Ready to Stare

Boots: A few seasons old, but from Nordstrom Rack

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And special thanks to @Glamlife25_8  for doing my nails!

This post was originally published on February 9, 2015.