Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the grandad shirt

Within our design process, we love a back story. The history of a garment inspires us in our journey to reinvent it for the modern man. The grandad shirt’s history is not the easiest to pin down, however, with a number of different stories surrounding its origin - making this style all the more interesting. A versatile collarless look for all ages, the SIRPLUS grandad collection is always effortless, enduring and just a little eccentric. 


Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the grandad shirt


To help clear up a few things, we’ve answered some top questions surrounding this look.


What is a grandad shirt?

The grandad features a classic men’s shirt silhouette. The button collar is joined to a raised band that runs around the neck but, crucially, does not fold down. One origin story features a 1920’s housewife in New York cutting the collar off her husband’s shirt to wash it separately. Legend has it, this sparked the famous detachable collar that dominated the period. This narrative gives the grandad a rebellious approach to formal tailoring - a bold and creative break up of collar and tie.

White Cotton Linen Grandad Shirt


Others suggest blue-collar workers, farmers and factory hands of the 1920s and ’30s didn’t wear a tie in case it came into contact with dangerous machinery. With no need for one, they cut the collar off their shirts - lending a rugged and industrious aesthetic to the modern garment. 


Pale Blue Cotton Linen Grandad ShirtNavy Cotton Linen Grandad Shirt 


Further afield, the grandad collar was popularized in India by political leaders in the 1950s. Like the Spring/Summer SIRPLUS collections, these were crafted in lightweight cottons and linens, keeping the wearer cool during sunny weekends and formal events alike. Our Spring/Summer 2020 collection reflects the adaptation and versatility shown by this incredible garment throughout the years, with a nod to its geographical journey too. 


White Cotton Linen Grandad Shirt


Are they fashionable?

Despite its lengthy history, grandad shirts are here to stay. With so many different influences, it’s not surprising it’s become a practical and versatile staple. Easily paired and accessorised, its use as a casual garment has increased over time though this has never undermined its ability to be the basis for something more formal. Our plain cotton-linen blend options provide just that, a breathable yet smart alternative to the standard formal shirt.


Pale Blue Cotton Linen Grandad Shirt


How do you wear it?

A history lesson is all well and good, but don’t be put off thinking the grandad won’t match a modern look. What we love about this collarless shirt is that, like a quirky cousin to our classic White Cotton Linen Shirt, it brings a signature twist to any occasion. 

White Cotton Linen Shirt

Pale Blue Cotton Linen ShirtNavy Cotton Linen Shirt


Here are three of our staple combinations:


The Perfect Pair:

Make the most of this season’s nod to utilitarian shapes by pairing the grandad collar with a French workwear staple, our Italian surplus Deep Indigo Chore jacket. 


White Cotton Linen Grandad ShirtDeep Indigo Chore Jacket


Together they create a classic, functional silhouette for the contemporary wardrobe. 


For an eye-catching look, sport a quintessentially SIRPLUS pairing. Just like the grandad collar, the Nehru jacket offers a twist on tradition by going collarless. Paired with the grandad shirt it offers a crisp, paired back addition to a transitional year-round wardrobe. The effect is clean, refined and anything but old fashioned.


Blue Stripe Grandad ShirtNavy Cotton Chore Nehru Jacket


Try the unlined Navy Cotton Chore Nehru Jacket with the Blue Stripe Grandad Shirt for a distinctive take on the boxy workwear-style cut. 


The Summer Wedding Guest:

Adding a grandad collar into the mix brings an effortless look to any formal occasion and is a fresh take on the classic wedding attire.


Dusty Blue Linen Nehru Jacket


Pair the classic grandad shirt in White with our Dusty Blue Linen Nehru Jacket  and matching Dusty Blue Linen Formal Trousers, to stand out, stay classic and, most importantly, keep cool at that summer wedding.

Dusty Blue not your thing? Try the Sand Herringbone, Navy or Grey Herringbone. Made in a cotton-linen blend, with eco-friendly Italian surplus lining, it’s forward-thinking formalwear with tailoring made to last. 


Sand Herringbone Linen Nehru Jacket

Navy Linen Nehru JacketGrey Herringbone Linen Nehru Jacket


The Lone Wolf: 

Sometimes simplicity is all it takes to make the most of a great piece. The Luanda Print Mandarin Kaftan is the perfect example. Offering a new relaxed take on the classic overhead shirt, it’s cut generously from a cotton-linen blend.  The African botanical pattern encapsulates SS20’s best trend offering, topped off with natural, sustainable corozo buttons and a curved split hem. An ideal Spring update to wear with your jeans or chinos, it’s perfect untucked over our Navy Linen Casual Trouser - also featuring sustainable brown corozo buttons. Unless, of course, the sun decides to keep shining, then swap out the trousers for shorts.


Luanda Print Mandarin Kaftan


Are they cool?

A style worn by The Beatles, Peaky Blinders and even young Prince George? We’ll let you be the judge…

Just remember, leave out the tie.

Olivia Foan 

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