A Primer on Men's Band Collar Shirts
Clearly Alternative, Definitely Dapper
It could be said that a dress shirt with a banded collar is essentially a dress shirt with no collar. But to be more precise, a banded collar consists of a simple band of fabric – usually two to five centimeters in height – that runs around the neck with no fold over or turndown.
A banded collar is sometimes referred to as a “Nehru Collar” or a “Mandarin Collar.” The former is a reference to Jawaharlal Nehru, the former Prime Minister of India, and the necklines of the shirts and jackets he favored in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, and the latter is a reference to the gowns worn by the Mandarin people of Imperial China.
Though there are similarities, it is more likely that the band collar, as we know it today, evolved from the workwear worn throughout most of the 19th century. Whereas the privileged “white collar” class had detachable collars and ties, the “blue collar’ workers could not could be bothered with a collar and tie. And by the time World War I rolled around, the style was being worn by soldiers, cowboys and workmen around the world.
Like so many styles, the banded collar has come and gone throughout the years, and it has always been considered a very casual look. Now, however, it is recognized as a far more versatile option that can be worn with a blazer or even a suit. Buttoned to the top, it feels sophisticated and stylish, or with a few buttons undone it feels breezy and relaxed.
Whichever way you choose to wear it, a banded collar is a great alternative, especially if your usual wardrobe tilts toward the conservative side.
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Examples of Banded Collars
Buttoned Up With a Blazer
Mix things up and surprise your co-workers. Show them you can think outside the box, but still look great.
Crisp White Poplin
The collar is a subtle statment all on its own. Wear it fully buttoned for a polished and professional look.
When worn under a cardigan or unstructured blazer, with jeans and a hat, a whole new you emerges.