Impress Everyone in Office with Your Stylish Yet Understated Elegance. 10 Formal Shirt Ideas for Women and Great Tips to Nail That Perfect Office Look (2020)

Impress Everyone in Office with Your Stylish Yet Understated Elegance. 10 Formal Shirt Ideas for Women and Great Tips to Nail That Perfect Office Look (2020)

Formal shirts are the perfect office wear for working women. They not only make you look smart and elegant, comply with the dress code of most organisations, but are also comfortable for the long hours you spend in the office. We have curated a list of the top formal shirts for women that you can buy online. Moreover, this BP Guide will also share with you great tips to nail that perfect office look and how your formal shirts can double up as casual wear as well.

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Complete Your Formal Look

An Indian woman’s work wardrobe is an eclectic mix of traditional wear (like sarees, kurtas and salwar kameez) and western wear (like pantsuit, skirt-suit, trousers, shirts and formal dresses). While traditional wear is much preferred, shirts and trousers/skirts also occupy a major part of the work wardrobe partly due to their formal appearance. Aside from being professional, they also offer comfort in the hot and humid climate.

With the wide variety of options available for working women, you get to dress to fit in the office environment and your comfort. The idea is to dress crisp and clean without compromising on your comfort. And your accessories play a major part in achieving that.

Comfortable Shoes

The crucial point to note when choosing formal shoes is your comfort. You are going to have to wear them all day long. An uncomfortable pair can add to the stress of your busy day at work. While heels might seem attractive, set it aside for your night-outs. Flats, if not wedges, are your better chances at comfort. Go for flats if you are bound to be on your feet all day long. Covered shoes or pumps are the ones to choose if you are going for a professional look, but sandals and peep-toes might also work depending on your outfit.

Subtle Makeup

Unless your work requires extensive makeup, try to keep your makeup subtle. A touch of concealer to hide the dark spots and a BB or CC cream followed by a liner or kajal, mascara and a matte lipstick of a lighter shade is sufficient. If your job involves being at the front-end with customer interaction, go for a bold lipstick and neutral eye makeup. Subtle eye makeup also ensures comfort in the sweltering heat.

Simple Accessories

As much as you are tempted to go OTT when wearing sarees or salwar kameez refrain from doing so. In a professional environment, your accessories should be elegant and toned down. A pair of stud earrings or small drops with a chain and pendant should be fine. If you are so tempted, add a bracelet. Tennis bracelet adds a touch of sophistication. At all costs avoid wearing multiple bangles and anklets with ghungroos. Rings should be one in each finger.

Tattoos and Piercings

Piercings and tattoos do not go well in a professional environment. Tattoos should be covered either with clothing or makeup. Better yet, do not get visible tattoos when working in a formal setting. Piercings, one on each ear, is allowed for earrings. Nose piercings though followed by conservative women depends on the work environment. Any other visible tattoos or piercings should be covered or removed.

Tips to Work Your Formal Shirt to Your Advantage

Formal wear, when styled correctly, can be stylish and make you feel confident enough to face the long day ahead. Here are a few tips to work your formal shirt to your comfort:

  • While your formal wear should be structured, it should play to your comfort. Remember, you are going to be wearing it all day long.
  • Cotton is the fabric of choice for Indian women for its comfort and structured look. So, it’s better if you pay a little more and purchase a non-iron shirt. Think about all the time you would be saving.
  • Your cotton shirt can be worn both tucked and untucked. If worn untucked, your shirt should hit mid-hip and should not be longer than your jacket.
  • Silk shirts should be worn, tucked. Untucked silk shirt gives an unkempt look.
  • Make sure your shirt doesn't gap at the buttons. In case of gaps, go for a larger size or get your shirt tailored.
  • Assuming that you are into experimentation, pair your shirt with a plaid skirt. Nothing creates an impression like plaids, in a formal environment.

Formal Shirts for the Professional

RunwayIn White Formal Shirt with Neck Tie

Can it get any more formal or classy than a white shirt? The White Formal Shirt by RunwayIn with a necktie is an epitome of understated elegance. The monotony of white is broken by a black piping at the cuffs and the button placket. With a regular fit and a spread collar, the white shirt is made of poly crepe fabric. Besides the straight hemline, it also features a concealed button placket. Pair it with black formal pants and pumps for a professional look. Priced at ₹ 1,229.00, it is available to buy from Myntra.

Zara Striped Shirt with Pocket


A striped shirt that offers an easy transition from formal to casual wear like this Pink Striped Shirt by Zara is a must-have in your wardrobe. The shirt is made of a 55:45 composition of linen and viscose which accounts for its comfort and breathability. It has long sleeves and a button-up front. Another interesting aspect of this shirt is the front patch pocket and an asymmetric hem, not common in formal shirts. The V-neck of the shirt makes it ideal to be worn with a pantsuit. And the same makes it easy to transition into casual wear as well. Imagine it tied up as a crop top with denim. Buy it from Zara for ₹ 2,290.00.

Mango White Semi Formal Shirt

A monochrome look is always fashionable and can come in handy for semi-formal occasions as well. The White Semi Formal Shirt by Mango is the embodiment of feminine elegance. With long sleeves and cuffs accentuated by tie-ups, the white shirt projects self-confidence and courage. Besides the buttoned front and a mandarin collar, the semi-formal white shirt also has a regular fit and a curved hem. Pair it with a plaid skirt or a hounds-tooth skirt in black and you are ready for your meeting. Buy it from Myntra for ₹ 1,436.00.

Vero Moda Textured Shirt with Spread Collar


A clean and crisp style with a textured look, the Blue Textured Shirt with Spread Collar by Vero Moda is a picture of sophistication and chic beauty. The cotton blend shirt comprises a spread collar and a curved hem. It also has long sleeves with single-button square cuffs. Priced at ₹ 1,000.00, the shirt offers a regular fit and is perfect when worn with formal trousers or pantsuit. It is available to buy from Ajio.

Van Heusen Solid Concealed Placket Shirt

Comfy and in a delicate colour of pink, the Solid Concealed Placket Shirt by Van Heusen is comfort and elegance rolled into a neat little package. Featuring three fourth sleeves and a buttoned cuff, the shirt carries a crisp collar and a curved hem. The button placket is concealed for a more polished look. Costing ₹ 1,499.00, the formal shirt is of a cotton blend fabric and has a slim fit. Perfect when matched with a pencil skirt or in a skirt suit, the shirt is available to buy from Lifestyle.

Cherokee Printed Top with Spread Collar


Soft and comfortable, the Printed Top with Spread Collar by Cherokee combines prints with the ever famous white shirt. With a notched spread collar, the shirt has three-quarter sleeves with buttoned cuffs and an asymmetrical hem. Made of 100% cotton, it is quite breathable and perfect for the hot summer days. Unlike a traditional shirt, it has just a couple of buttons at the top with a gather-detail at the yoke. Priced at ₹ 359.00, it is available to buy from Ajio. Tucked in a formal trouser, it is formal wear, but with denim, it is as casual as it can get.

Kraus Solid Three-Quarter Sleeves Shirt

A comfortable formal shirt for those days when the sweltering heat is intolerable; Made from 100% cotton fabric, the Solid Three-Quarter Sleeves Shirt features a spread collar. Another important aspect is the double flap pockets. Available to buy from Lifestyle, the shirt has three fourth sleeves and a single button cuff. Paired with a formal trouser, it can make for a day of ultimate comfort. It is priced at ₹ 1,119.00 and can easily transition from formal day-wear to a night outfit with simple changes.

Chemistry Navy Blue & White Striped Formal Shirt

Who says your formal wear cannot be feminine? The Navy Blue & White Striped Formal Shirt by Chemistry is everything you would look for in a formal shirt – smart and chic, formal yet feminine. With a mandarin collar, the formal wear features a curved hemline and a button placket. Though it has a regular fit, the waist is cinched with a belt in the same design as the shirt. Apart from that it also has three-quarter sleeves and a single button cuff. Made from 100% cotton fabric, the shirt has distinctive vertical stripes of navy blue and white. Costing you ₹ 749.00, it is available to buy from Myntra.

Cation Women Orange Solid Shirt


Striking and stylish, the Orange Solid Shirt from Cation is an everyday formal in stunning colour. Flaunting a mandarin collar and a deep V-neck, the hemline of the shirt hits right at the waistband. With a regular fit, the shirt is made of 100% cotton which accounts for its comfort. Pair it with black pants for a contrast look or a light coloured trousers for a toned-down look. It costs ₹ 549.00 at Paytm Mall.

Annabelle Printed Ocean Blue Shirt

Does anyone ever tire of polka dots? Make a style statement with your office wear with the Printed Ocean Blue Shirt by Pantaloon from their line, Annabelle. Crafted from premium polyester fabric, the ocean blue shirt features polka dots in a similar shade. A Mandarin collar, three-fourth sleeves, single button cuff and V-neck are some of its prominent features. Wear it with beige trousers or skirt and be boardroom-ready. Costing you ₹ 810.00, it is available to buy from Pantaloons.

5 Ways to Style Your Button Down

Formal shirts have a professional and dignified look. Hence, it is easy to assume that your formal button-downs can be worn only for office, but not quite so. When styled properly you can use it as your casual wear as well. We got our stylists to suggest a few ways to style your button-down for casual use. You can either use it with your denim or shorts, maybe even with your skirt.

  • Wear it Backwards:

    Play with wearing your shirt backwards. Button a couple towards the end and leave the rest open. Pair it with short skirts or shorts, scarves and gladiators for a festival vibe. Play with your jewellery: understated earrings with long necklaces or chandelier earrings work the best.

  • Crop it up by Tying the Ends:

    Who doesn't love a crop top? Unbutton the last two buttons of your shirt and tie the flaps into a knot. You can leave the rest tied up or unbutton the first two buttons. This look is quite versatile and can be worn with culottes, shorts, jeans and skirt. Denim neutralises the edginess, but a leather skirt or pants adds to the edgy look.

  • Front Tuck with Denim:

    Not in a mood for a crop top or an edgy look, then go for a front tuck. Tuck in the front of your shirt and leave the back hanging out. Or you could just adopt our way for a streamlined look. Unbutton the shirt from the bottom until it reaches the waistband of your jeans. Fold the shirt in the back until it rests on top of your jeans. Gather the flaps of your shirt and tuck it in front. Add a sneaker to the look and you are done.

  • Layer it with a Tee:

    Too cold for a shirt and too warm for a jacket? Just layer it over a tee and leave it open. Or gather the flaps at your waist and tie it up. Add jeans and sneakers and you are ready to hit the park. You can also layer your shirt the same way with a sundress for a casual look. This works better with a straight cut dress rather than an A-line, fitted bodice or flared dress.

  • Wear it Under the Classic Overall:

    Overalls are never out of fashion. Next time you wear your overalls, skip your T-shirt and reach for a formal shirt. Solid or striped, both work well and it should have a relaxed fit for a casual look. Fold your cuffs for a three-quarter sleeve or even a half sleeve.
Sunandha Wilis
After spending 12 years in the hectic corporate world, Sunandha quit the industry to follow her passion for writing. She enjoys writing on a variety of subjects including travel, health, beauty, fashion and technology. Apart from writing she also dons the hat of an editor from time to time. Her time off is spent listening to music and wrestling with her boys.
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Formal Shirts for Women – Comfortable and Versatile

Formal shirts for women are not only comfortable but also extremely versatile. You can not only wear them to office but can wear them to casual parties and events as well with proper styling. We hope you would have loved this BP Guide and your shopping list for formal shirts would be ready by now. Stay connected with us for more such engaging content.