I feel like dress shirts are highly underrated these days. People mostly feel like they are supposed to be worn with suits only. Often case that is the best way to style it, but I do not believe it is the only way you should style it.
I love to wear dress shirts during the summer and fall season as it gets hot in California to do any layers. I usually keep it simple and leave a few buttons unbuttoned with a tank top showing through.
As for the dress up appeal, that is where the right kind of footwear comes in handy. You want to wear a double monk-strap dress shoe to go from casual to chic.