In our last post, the Millennial Fogey talked about his penchant for shirts with contrasting white collars. Clearly they weren’t a defining staple of the genre during the heyday. But they’ve long been offered by the usual suspects, though likely worn by men whose most recent time on campus was for a class reunion.
Call it Tycoon Ivy. It’s certainly been implanted in the collective unconscious as the defining shirt style of Gordon Gekko, which is why the blogger known as The Style Girlfriend calls it the “jerk shirt.”
As for our take, here’s Ivy Style Associate Editor Chris Sharp:
When I got out of school I worked at a shop and became friends with a buyer from another shop. What the two shops had in common was that they carried Gitman Brothers modified spread-collar shirts with barrel cuffs. The barrel cuffs kept them from becoming too full-on fancy, but the collars were vaguely English and slightly formal, but not so crazy that it would make this buttondown guy uncomfortable.
The contrast collar is a bit of an homage to the detachable collar, and how if you put a white collar on a colored or striped body you have a white-collar shirt suitable for gentleman. Completely random thought: there’s that character in “Metropolitan” who’s obsessed with detachable-collared shirts.
And here saith King Richard The Forty-Fourth:
At J.Press beginning approximately 1960, contrast-collar-and-cuff dress shirts came mainly with a body of light blue end-on-end, madras, or narrow-stripe Madrilyte broadcloth. They crept up to perhaps 35% of our straight-point dress shirt sales.
Students, professors, and businessmen who were our customers — whether in New York, New Haven, Cambridge or the road from coast to coast — often suited-up sans buttondown for church, business meetings, or semi-formal eveningwear, and contrast-collar shirts provided an interesting mix for their wardrobe. They work nicely with a blazer and grey flannels, but are not really appropriate for sportcoats or tweed suits, where oxford would be more correct.
I once tried a blue oxford buttondown with white contrast collar and it sat on our shelves for a year or two before we discontinued it.
And now on to some eye candy or eyesores, depending on your taste. — CC
Above and below, Ralph Lauren: