Join The Club: Rounded Collars

 
Since it would seem that the climate in New York has transitioned to full-on winter over the course of a fortnight, it looks like the perfect time to touch on a collar that’s especially suited to the flannel and tweed outerwear we’ll be seeing on the streets. The club collar, with its rounded points, has been a staple of preppier wardrobes for the better part of the century; but it’s also a great, offbeat alternative to the button-down, even for those who aren’t strict adherents to the “Ivy League Look.”

Smart from the Start

The club collar's rounded points once marked a member of British high society.

The club collar’s rounded points once marked a member of British high society.

The club collar comes to us from the other side of the pond, where it was originally part of the boy’s uniform at England’s prestigious Eton College. By the 1920s, the exclusive (hence club), enviable style quickly outgrew its academic roots, and had become the collar de rigueur for gentlemen nationwide. Stateside, the collar eventually found its way into the collections of Brooks Brothers, J. Press and Ralph Lauren; establishing itself as a mainstay of prep style.

Sinatra loosens up the tie and keeps his top button undone, for a slightly flippant look.

Sinatra loosens up the tie and keeps his top button undone, for a slightly flippant look.

But with sportswear rapidly usurping the shirt and sport jacket outside of the workplace, the collar has only flirted with the widespread popularity it once had. You might recall just a handful of instances where a mop-topped Ringo, a rakish Frank Sinatra, or Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko character from Wall Street could be seen sporting the club. However, thanks in no small part to the breakout success of period cinema like Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, and Gatsby, we’re starting to see a resurgence of the rounded collar. As more quintessential cool guys like Tom Ford and David Beckham show affection for the style, we’re predicting a quiet comeback among guys who aren’t afraid to be the best dressed in the room.

David Beckham updates the look with seriously sharp suiting.

David Beckham updates the look with seriously sharp suiting.

Advanced Style Club: Now Accepting Members

The club collar is a bit too style-advanced for the boardroom, but it shines as a smarter alternative to the button down in casual settings. The key is balancing its old school looks with modern details, not going overboard on the nostalgia. Hold the suspenders, please. Throw on your sharpest wool or tweed number with a repp tie, for an All-American take on the collar’s scholarly beginnings, or keep your top button undone to channel a bit of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ devil-may-care attitude. Either way, if you haven’t got a club collar, the best is yet to come.

A wool suit and repp tie give the club collar All-American flair.

A wool suit and repp tie give the club collar All-American flair.

 

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