Did you know that not all men’s shirts are the same? We don’t mean the different colours, prints, or weaves used for the various fabrics, as those are particular elements that appeal to the eyes and give a distinctive look to a garment, according to the season and the latest fashion. What we are talking about are those “little” details that make a big difference and which, although essentially invisible, are a pleasing part of a garment’s history. One such detail is the shirt collar, which we might call the “heart” of the shirt, the essential style-defining element that reflects the wearer’s personality. There are lots of different shirt collars: Kent, cutaway, button-down, Mandarin and then of course, the “club collar”, a synonym for noble excellence.
The club collar is a rounded collar, a shirt collar type that is rather rare these days, although lately it has been making a comeback. Its history is curious, beginning at Eton, one of England’s most exclusive public schools and alma mater for many important UK government ministers as well as for Prince Harry and Prince William. To stand out from boys at other schools, who wore uniforms and shirts with classic pointed collars, Etonians began to wear shirts with rounded collar tips, as if to demonstrate – in an almost snobbish fashion – that they came from a more exclusive school. This concept of belonging to the elite meant that over the years, the club collar captured the attention of wealthy men from all circles, from the elegant gangsters of the 1930s to brokers and ad men. In today’s film and fashion industries, men’s shirts with rounded collars are often worn by celebrities such as David Beckham and Tom Hardy to demonstrate a certain refined, English-style elegance.
But how does one wear a men’s shirt with a club collar? Style perfectionists should accessorise it with a precious metal collar pin – especially in white gold or silver, worn directly on the collar, on the shirt, and under the tie, or with a bow tie, according to the desired look. In any case, a rounded collar can look good without any accessories, as long as it is fully buttoned. And when it comes to matching, the club collar can be worn with a classic three-piece suit or with a simple two-piece, while to create a more distinctive, elite result, you can always go without the jacket and wear the shirt over a pair of chinos.
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