Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cutaway Collar Sport Shirt

For a while there I was in full on all button down collar everything mode when it came to my sport shirts.  From a consumer standpoint they are ubiquitous and don't take even the slightest bit of thought to pull off.  After paying close attention to my more stylish friends it soon became clear that my narrow sport shirt worldview was just that - narrow.  Whether knotted up or tie-less, the cutaway collar sport shirt started looking damn good.  As with most sartorial elements I was particularly drawn to to the dichotomy of it all.  The juxtaposition of two things as simple as a casual shirt and its "dressed up" collar drew me in.  A large part of this freshly ignited flame has to do with the collar itself.  A sport shirt, or any shirt for that matter, with a terrible collar is always going to look like shit regardless.  In this particular case it's all about finding a middle ground.  If the collar is too intense it will look awkward without a tie, thus limiting the versatility of a shirt meant to be worn on a regular basis.  On the other hand, if the collar is too flimsy or weak you pigeon hole the shirt as one that can't be worn in an office environment or when you want to break out your favorite neckwear.  The best designers in menswear, like Michael Bastian, place an emphasis on cutaway collars, but most guys don't have the coin necessary to pick up one of these shirts whenever they see fit.  That's why I really dig Wharf's "The Four" - it's accessible, high end style  The pattern is on point for this time of year, the fit is slim, it's made in the USA and, most importantly, the collar is exactly the kind you should be hunting for.  A shirt like this is pretty unstoppable no matter what occasion you're dressing for.  And that, my friends, is what's known as value.


-L.A.S

22 comments:

  1. interesting post. just when i think i have seen it all! fashion never sleeps. keep it up!

    progressionpersonified.blogspot.com

    check it out i always appreciate new readers and feedback. cheers!

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  2. The fabric used for this shirt is exactly the same as used for an Epaulet shirt that I recently purchased (http://www.epauletshop.com/servlet/the-716/**Mens-Buttondown-Collar-Navy/Detail). Does anyone know who is supplying Epaulet and Wharf with this fabric?

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  3. @James: it's called plaid.

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  4. James and Anon- A trail of breadcrumbs seems to lead back to New England Shirtmakers.

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  5. Can someone tell the fellas at Wharf that a buttondown shirt has buttons for the collar? Thanks.

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  6. Did the last Anon even bother reading the post before asking that question?

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  7. Jay- Actually Anon @1:47 is right. Wharf labels this shirt as "'The FOUR' Plaid Button Down Shirt".

    To play devil's advocate for a second, is there a difference between "button down" and "buttondown"? That's the real question.

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  8. Just pointing out that a button down shirt need not have a button down collar.

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  9. Incred- Everyone I have ever talked to who has knowledge of this sort of stuff on a professional level, calls shirts with button down collars "button downs". If they shirt does not have a button down collar it is referred to by another name.

    So maybe..."Just pointing out that a [button up] shirt need not have a button down collar."

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  10. Echoing what LAS said ...I think.
    These sport shirts are called Button UP shirts. I'm sure when most of us are putting it on start with the bottom buttons and button UP.
    The button details on the collar is what makes it a button DOWN.
    Button is a funny word when you think about it.

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  11. Professional lingo notwithstanding, this is copy on a consumer site, no? I think that you'll find that "button down" is broadly recognized as a synonym for any open-front shirt with buttons.

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  12. Wearing a spread collar sport shirt today from Isaia. It's a very soft collar, which is integrated into the front of the shirt rather than stitched on. I'm not sure if this way of attaching the collar has a specific name, but the collar rests very nicely. Obviously, it's a sport shirt and it's not meant to be worn with a tie.

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  13. I've actually taken sports shirts to my tailor to have the collars remade into cutaways. Cost about 12-15 bucks. Well worth it.

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  14. Incred - If you do some research you'll be hard pressed to find references to "button down shirts" before Brooks introduced their "polo collar." You will however find many references to shirts based on their collar type. This was because most men considered a shirt with buttons down its front just a regular shirt. Putting the BD in front would be redundant (like calling it a shirt shirt).

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  15. @Tuce I think your shirt has what's called a 'camp collar.'

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  16. Nice shirt.
    I've been meaning to ask a Shirt Factory that is a client of mine on my daily business (not my blog) to make me a White Selvage Oxford slim fit shirt with cutaway collars. I think it would also look great. They also make the nicest ones in flannel.
    Here in Portugal we call these collars, Italian collars...
    Whats your size? maybe I can get them to make me 2 .. for free .. and I could mail you one...

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  17. Incred - Just because a lot of people believe something doesn't make it right (ie: The right to privacy is stipulated directly in the constitution, Bob Dylan as a talented musician, etc.). I think that most of the readers of this site consider it for a consumer who wants to be educated. Why should Lawrence go out of his way to promote a terminology that is inaccurate?

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  18. @Anon 10:04 - Obviously, among what are even more correctly defined as "dress shirts", an open front is a given and the collar type is much more useful distinction. Then again, even Brooks Brothers sells a "Classic All-Cotton Traditional Fit Oxford Stripe Dress Shirt", with a button down collar, next to several "Button Down" shirts.

    Besides, Lawrence already pegged this as a "Sport Shirt", which are basically distinguished by their deviation from the formal rules of shirting.

    Correct or no, examples of "button down" shirts without button-down collars are plentiful, which was the only point I was trying to make.

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  19. They are plentiful and inaccurate, which was my point. Instead of perpetuating bad information there should be a push to try and correct it.

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  20. You guys are fucking idiots. You are arguing about a shirt collar.

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  21. this is one amazing article! Thank you for posting this. This is one amazing article! Thank you for posting this.

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  22. I have heard lots about American apparel. I think, i have to visit there store soon Sport Tek Shirts

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