Fashion history often reserves surprises and unexpected stories. There are clothes that become iconic, reflecting timeless style to become part of tradition, and they bring with them a wealth of curious facts about their origins and details. The button-down shirts are an example. This type of shirt, which features a button on the collar, in fact dates back to the late 19th century, and was created with a precise aim: to make playing easier for polo players. During polo matches, the players would be bothered by the continued flapping of their shirt collars. This problem brought about the idea of improving their polo shirts by fastening the collar with a button.
It did not take long before this shirt went from strictly sportswear to a widespread casual item, worn all over the western world. Since 1963, thanks to the work of famous tailor, Ben Sherman, the button down became a genuine style icon. It entered our collective imaginary thanks to important figures who made it a genuine must: from Paul Newman, who wore it with the collar unfastened, to Alain Delon and, in Italy, Gianni Agnelli.
The style of the button-down shirt evolved over time and for example, in the 1950s, it was fashionable with wide sleeves and a short collar. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the collar became longer, while the shirt fit became slimmer. Since the 1980s, the changes to the button-down shirt that have taken place in the marketplace have made it one of the most widespread shirt models in the world, and it couldn’t be otherwise.
The button-down shirt is in fact one of the most versatile models, able to meet any need: from elegant wear for the office or formal meetings, to casual for those seeking a sportier, more dynamic look. This versatility also comes from the choice of fabric: for example, Oxford, a durable fabric that gets better with use, making the button-down shirt an item that will never go out of fashion. And for men who prefer a sporty, casual look, we have the velvet version of the button down, with a perfect fit, even when paired with a t-shirt underneath.
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