Shirting 101: The Button-Down Collar
Published on January 17, 2013
The button-down collar is a wardrobe staple and one that deserves a place in every closet. What I love about a button-down is that it lets you dress up a casual outfit or dress down more formal attire. My personal style falls somewhere on the margins of casual and dress, which most likely explains my obsession with the collar. Consistent with many traditions in menswear, the origins of the button-down collar are rooted in function. Over a century ago when polo players needed a way to anchor unruly collars while riding, buttons were used to tether them and the button collar was born. Style should be personal and I don’t believe in the necessity of following too many rules. Pairing this traditionally casual collar with a necktie and suiting is an on going debate. A resolution has never been reached and it really comes down to personal taste and what’s right for the occasion. There was a time when I wore a knitted necktie with a button-down collar nearly every day. This balanced because the casual texture of the necktie went well with the casual nature of the shirt. If you decide to wear a button-down collar with a suit, I would suggest doing so on occasions when you are consciously dressing down the suit –like a summer wedding in a khaki suit or a cocktail party. Dapper old schoolers such as Frank Sinatra, and Miles Davis pulled off the necktie, button-down collar oxford, and suit combination notably well. In our collection, we have the classics such as White and Blue Oxfords as well as patterns and stripes such as the Blue Box Check Button Down, Blue Bengal Oxford –a personal favorite, Purple McKinsey Oxford, Henderson Plaid, and the Purple Micro-Check. Without realizing until writing this post, nearly all the shirts in my closet have a button-down collar -maybe it’s subconscious buying habits, or never knowing when I’ll be needed to sub in for a polo match.