Hello friends. We’ve just made up a very cool new prototype of a ready-to-wear, linen-blend camp collar shirt. The lay-flat camp collar (often found on Hawaiian or bowling-type shirts) has been incredibly popular lately with stylish guys, frequently seen on #menswear leaders like The Rake’s Wei Koh, photographers KE Guerre and Robert ‘Thousand Yard Style’ Spangle, and top British stylist Tom Stubbs. It’s a great choice for summer — and since that’s the only season we experience here in Singapore, is a smart choice year-round in these parts.
[ The only thing camp about Al Pacino's Tony 'Scarface' Montana was his collar. ]
You really do need to make an intelligent choice with your collar — it’s the frame for your face. And just as an inappropriate frame can ruin an otherwise beautiful painting, so too can the wrong collar mess with your head.
The gentleman with a long, slim face should consider a spread or cutaway collar, which will broaden his lean features and reduce the prominence of an angular chin. Conversely, a round-faced man is best served by a pointed collar, which helps hide jowls or double chins, and with its downward-sloping lines, creates the illusion of length in the face.
If you’re averse to wearing a tie — yes, we understand, they can be bothersome here in the tropics — a button-down (buttoned through, Ivy League-style, or with the fastenings subtly hidden away) will help prevent your collar annoyingly slipping under your jacket. That’s not to say a button-down shouldn’t be worn with neckwear. In fact, it looks particularly good with a ‘trad’ crested or repp striped tie.
A tab or pin collar shirt (with either a flap of fabric buttoned across, or a decorative pin screwed through each side of the collar) will help keep your tie standing so erect, you’d think it had popped a little blue pill. To increase the 1930s throwback effect, consider having one of these made with a curved club collar — a very jazz-age dandy choice.
[ In the 1974 film of The Great Gatsby, Sam Waterston (left) wears a pin-collar shirt, making his tie stand to attention. Robert Redford (right) sports a curvaceous club collar. ]
The famous Chinese writer and philsopher Lin Yutang once said, “Neckties strangle clear thinking.” No doubt he favoured a Mandarin collar, which we’re very fond of and frequently make for clients at Kevin Seah Bespoke. We also have a selection of the Mandarin’s more minimalist sibling, the band collar, in the Kevin Seah Black ready-to-wear collection.
For black-tie, meanwhile, you can’t go wrong with a classic wing collar — super fly!
Collar fit is very important. Too loose and you look terrible, too tight and you feel awful. When the shirt is new, buttoned right up, you should be able to juuuust fit two fingers between neck and collar. Even if there’s a little bit of shrinkage with washing, it should still fit nicely. (Please, PLEASE wash shirts in cold water and hang to dry naturally. Unlike a man’s appendages, cold water actually helps prevent shrinkage in shirts.)
Until next week, stay cool under the collar.