Button Down VS Non Button Down (Straight) Collar for Men's Shirting

by | Feb 16, 2016 | Image consulting for Men

Collar styles on shirting can designate multiple facets of style and function. Shirt collars used to come in two simple varieties – button and non-button.  Now, whether custom or ready to wear in the store you can purchase modern (smaller collars, shorter points) collars, cutaway (wider point spreads) collars, tab collar, club collar and many more – it can feel overwhelming.  Let’s start with the button vs. non-button decision.

  1.  Traditional business shirting features a “straight” point collar.  These collars can have the points narrower or wider (as in a spread), but they do not have a button.  Very appropriate with a tie, but not necessary.
  2. Button down collars originated as sporting shirt for Polo players.  Collars were affixed to the body of the shirts with buttons to prevent them from flying up during a match.  This shirt style was originally called “polo shirt” which is why the manufacturer Brooks Brothers who made them so famous still retains that on the label as “the original polo shirt” on there shirts today.   One hundred years later there was a Preppy movement in the 80’s that allowed these collars to be worn with a tie, but that is technically not appropriate, as these are casual, sport shirts.  If a tie is worn, it should be a casual tie, such as a wool or cotton tie with a casual outfit, avoiding wearing a fine silk tie with a button down collar.
  3. j-hilburn-collar-choices

Some custom companies – J Hilburn is one –  will offer a hybrid shirt collar called the hidden button down.  This allows a man to have the best of both worlds.  They are a little fussy – it’s a tiny button, but it totally does the job of holding down the collar while retaining the appearance of a straight collar.

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