In fashion, as with most things, it’s not uncommon for a piece of menswear to come full circle. Take the grandad collar shirt, which didn’t so much originate from your grandpa Joe as it did from blue-collar workers in the 1920s (who would have been someones grandad at some point, we guess).
With no need to wear a tie (at worst, they risked getting sucked into machines), these labourers would cut the collar off their shirts. Fast forward almost a century and the granddad or ‘band’ collar is enjoying a revival at the hands of generation dress-down.
“Everyday attire has become increasingly relaxed with people wearing hoodies and sweats,” says Thom Scherdel, a buyer at luxury retailer Browns. “The grandad style is perfect for slotting in seamlessly underneath. The lack of a collar makes it a lot less formal, and when paired with a T-shirt, it gives a similar look to that of a bomber jacket, which results in an effortless combination.”
Now that ties are almost always optional, even in the workplace, the grandad collar shirt is the ideal way to bring a touch of formality to proceedings without going all boardroom stiff.
“If you wear work shirts all day, it’s a great alternative for evenings and weekends,” adds Laura Haynes from men’s personal shopping service The Chapar. “The beauty of a collarless shirt is that you can wear almost anything with it, as long as you keep away from V-neck jumpers, it looks great as a smart-casual look.”
In short, for something that allows for breezy manoeuvring between desk and dancefloor, hit the sartorial sweet spot with one of these grandad collar shirts.
The Best Grandad Collar Shirts
There is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the garments of French brand Officine Generale that has made it a go-to for stylish guys. Maybe it’s the sturdy European construction or sharp tailoring-meets-workwear cuts. Or maybe it’s the brand’s grandad collar shirts, which are relaxed and easy-going, rendered in everything from soft cotton-poplin to Japanese selvedge chambray.
Not the name of some undiscovered motorway, but rather a Danish label founded in 2007. NN07 stands for ‘No Nationality’ and takes its inspiration from the travels of its founders. Billed as “the classics of tomorrow”, the brand’s pieces are smart yet unfussy, typified by its grandad collar styles which are cut from the same tougher-than-your-average material as the Oxford shirts in your wardrobe.
Reiss has been a solid fixture at the premium end of the high street since 1971. During that time it has perfected a range of everyday wardrobe staples, including the grandad collar shirt which it turns out by the rail-load, all finished with contemporary design details like subtle textured weaves and tonal stripes.
Though it may form part of the H&M empire, Scandi brand Cos has carved a strong identity all of its own by sticking to a steadfast manifesto of reinventing the classics. And so we get the grandad collar shirt, many of which are cut with a Henley-inspired half-placket design or with concealed front buttons that nudge the style along from its original incarnation.
Charles Tyrwhitt has been keeping offices well-shirted for over three decades with its multi-buy offers meaning you’ll often come away with a whole week’s worth at a time. As well as boardroom-ready styles, the firm also produces casual grandad collar shirts that maintain a slight air of formality thanks to details like mitred cuffs.
With the downfall of the tie in the office has come the rise of shirts which won’t let you wear one, even if you wanted to. Capitalising on this, Jacamo offers a range of styles that will slot nicely into your existing wardrobe for maximum cost-per-wear, in sizes that go up to 5XL.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that H&M excels at turning out wardrobe essential that belie their price tag. Take the retailer’s grandad collar shirts, which are often cut slim and rendered in 100 per cent cotton, all while costing less than a round of drinks. They’ll have you questioning whether there is such a thing as a false economy after all.
Once the worlds biggest manufacturer of slacks in the 1970s, American-born, Brit-adopted brand Farah is now bossing the top half of blokes body’s too. Grandad collar shirts here come in a selection of go with anything colours but won’t blend in thanks to the recognisable ‘F’ emblem on the chest.
It’s no overstatement that Oliver Spencer is one of the greatest creative forces in the London menswear scene. For proof, just look at the designer’s grandad collar shirts, which are available in more guises than you can shake a well-dressed stick at. Whether you want yours stripey with a contrast pocket or just plain white to fit under a navy blazer, Ollie will see you right.
The in-house brand of menswear e-tailer Mr Porter has zhuzhed up so many must-have essentials that we’re struggling to squeeze them all in our wardrobe. One piece worth saving room for, however, is its grandad collar shirt, with styles flitting between classic and slightly grungey takes on the old man’s time-honoured style.
You Must Create sounds like something an overly intense teacher would shout during art class. YMC for short is in fact an achingly cool British brand responsible for producing minimalist, workwear-inspired garments with a twist. Its grandad collar shirts follow this blueprint, made from a ripstop fabric and finished with a drawstring hem.
Weekday has made minimalist high-fashion style pieces admirably affordable since 2002. The clothes here are neat and unfussy, but they’re anything but boring. To see that, you only need to look as far as its grandad collar shirts, which come in more colours than a bag of Skittles.
With a name so flamboyant it puts Liberace to shame, Frescobol Carioca is rightly best-known for its printed swim shorts. Of course, we can’t be walking around with bare torsos all of the time, so the brand inspired by the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro also spins out a fine line of Grandad collar shirts to throw on once you’ve clambered out the sea OO7-style.
A name leading the Brit pack in modern workwear-inspired gear, Folk takes care to master the basics before splicing them up with subtle patterns, textures, and details. This is precisely what you get with the London label’s grandad collar shirts, which give this standard cornerstone of the male wardrobe a twist.