Monday, 1 February 2010

The banker shirt

Most of the St James clothing stores are entering the last couple of weeks of their sales now and there are some pretty good bargains to be had, so long as there's anything in your size. I have a mix of off the rack and made-to-measure shirts, and I tend to go for off the rack if I'm buying something I'm not completely sure I'll like, so I've been making full use of the sales.

As far as shirts go, nothing falls so completely into the 'not completely sure I'll like' category as the ubiquitous white-collar-and-cuffs shirt so loved by City boys everywhere.

My problem with them, aside from the obvious association with City bankers, is that I've always regarded them as a bit of a fake. They derive in part from when collars were detachable and, more recently, from a time when gentlemen would have their collars and cuffs replaced when they wore out instead of discarding an otherwise perfectly serviceable garment. Since matching the fabric of the shirt, faded by numerous washes, would be almost impossible, they were simply replaced in white. Now that neither of these two cases apply, there is a part of me that finds the contrast-collar to be a bit of an affectation.

On the other hand, times change and many now-useless aspects of clothing merely derive from an outdated feature or requirement. Contrast-collared shirts are an accepted part of men's style, and they undeniably have a certain visual appeal, so I have decided it is time to add one to my wardrobe. Of course, I'm not ready to embrace my inner Gordon Gekko completely just yet, so the shirt I chose, from Hawes and Curtis has just a pale pink stripe, to avoid the contrast collar being too noticeable...

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