These days, you may have noticed a surge of gentlemen walking around with missing collars on their button-ups. No, these men aren’t misguided. Collarless shirts are a cool and eye-catching alternative to the tried-and-true button-down. Contrary to what you might be thinking, collarless shirts aren’t a new style by any means. They’ve actually been around for decades, and are finding their way back on the racks as a dynamic variation to the traditional casual or formal dress shirt.
What is a Collarless Shirt?
In the earlier part of the 20th century, there was a time that collars were produced separately from their button-up counterparts, so collars could be washed more frequently and men could get away with owning less dress shirts overall. Without the collar attached, men’s shirts just buttoned up to the top with no folded over fabric. This style of shirt was popular both for white and blue collar workers alike. For blue collar workers, like farmers and factory hands, band collars were the look of choice because they didn’t require a tie (a hazard in factories, for sure) and because they didn’t get in the way of manual labor. While detachable collars are now more or less a thing of the past, the collarless shirt trend has risen up and become a sort of rebellious menswear trend, with the idea being that you left your detachable collar off and omitted the tie on purpose.
The collarless shirt is also referred to as the grandad collar shirt, and it comes in a few different variations, the most notable of which are band and mandarin. A band collar simply means a collar that stands up and does not have any points or fabric that fold down. A mandarin collar (a.k.a a stand collar) is like a band collar, but has fabric that extends above the final button and goes around the neck, but does not meet completely in the front, leaving an open space. The extra fabric is the main distinction between the two, but all mandarin collars are, by definition, band collars.
How to Style
Back in the day, collarless shirts had strong connotations of white- and blue collar work. Today, collarless shirts pretty much shed their 20th century implications and have been reborn as a fantastic alternative to your button-up or tee. And, with the continuous blurring of the line between casual and formal style that we’ve seen in recent years, collarless shirts are becoming more and more accepted across a wide range of scenarios. Here are two ways to style your collarless shirt.
Collarless shirts are more commonly rooted in casual style. Pair your collarless shirt (one or two buttons left undone) with a cardigan, rolled-up chinos, derbys, and a hat for a nod to 20th century panache.
Gone are the days that this tie-free style isn’t office-friendly. Prove all the traditionalists wrong by pairing your a crisp white collarless shirt with a blazer and double monk straps. Buttoned up all the way, the collarless shirt will really lend itself to this put-together ensemble in a unique and approachable way.