Aleks Cvetkovic takes you through this season’s new shirt collars: their histories, merits and most importantly, how to wear them.
Let’s talk about shirt collars. You probably have a good idea of what suits you and what you like –cutaway, spread, button-down?
I tend to wear a soft spread collar when I’m dressed down and a slightly sharper pointed collar when I’m dressing up. It’s nice to have consistent points of reference to structure your sense of style, but it’s also rather easy to get stuck in a narrow framework; navy ties, white shirts or black shoes only, for example – and where is the fun in that?
The new collection from Drake's, Easyday, poses the same question. As the name suggests, it’s a fresh approach to the sartorial staples: a range of understated, comfortable pieces that form the basis of a sophisticated wardrobe, designed to become your favourite go-to’s. Even so, it gently nudges you to try new things, to embrace the idea of relaxed dressing without becoming too set in your ways. Nowhere is this more evident than with its shirts: Easyday offers everything you need to fill your wardrobe, a range of shirts cut from a timeless white poplin, with several different collars to choose from. Here I select three of my favourites.
The first of these is the club collar, sometimes called a penny collar thanks to its rounded edges. It’s an unexpected design from Drake’s, but makes complete sense – it’s a classic, after all. Like most collars, its roots trace back to the late 19th century, but this particular shape has a rather exclusive history. It was first popularised in the 1870s by the not-at-all elitist students of Eton College, who collectively decided to round the points of their collars to mark themselves apart from other British public schools, alluding to their ‘club’ mentality.
Nevertheless, the style caught on outside of Eton’s rarefied gates and became a fashionable choice for young men from the 1910s onwards, both in Britain and the USA. Today, it’s most readily associated with the preppy style of the Ivy League. Remember though, the club collar is a great smart-casual option too. Try it with a navy blazer, grey flannels and suede loafers for a contemporary take on collegiate chic.
Next, we have the ‘Long Point’ collar, which channels the art deco spearpoint collar. It sits close on the neck, frames a small, angular tie knot beautifully and adds character to a formal or semi-formal look. Even so, it retains that same softness of construction (with a floating brushed interlining) that other Drake's collars are known for, which makes it surprisingly versatile. It lends a different dimension to a suit thanks to its clean lines, but it also has a touch of the Bohemian about it should you choose to dress it down – it’s a collar to have some fun with.
Then we have the tab collar, beautifully executed by Drake’s. The tab first starts to appear in the mid 1920s and early ‘30s, as attached collars replace starched shirt collars as a more practical alternative. 1920s newspaper columns suggest that its arrival was met with some consternation at first, but it was taken up by the Duke of Windsor (it’s not clear precisely when) and immediately became the collar to see and be seen in. It’s also tremendously practical: tie your tie, make sure it fills the collar, button-up and forget about it. Your knot will stay in place all day, fuss free. It’s a collar for those who want to look and feel polished.
There you have it then, a look at some of the new collar styles from Easyday. Along with the others in the collection - the spread, cutaway, and English classic - they’re all a delight to wear and each has its own personality. They’re perfect to experiment with and one hopes that they’ll encourage you to try something new this season – these shirts are simply too nice not to.