How to wear a grandad shirt
The grandad shirt is one of those garments that appeared suddenly and without fanfare, meaning that nobody is sure exactly where it came from. Some credit Hannah Montague, a New York housewife who, according to legend, had the novel idea of cutting the collar off her husband’s shirt so that she could wash it separately (this being the 1920s, well before the advent of five for £10 dry cleaners). Others date the design back to mid 20th century factory workers who feared getting their clothes caught in machinery, and so would chop off their collars so that the same wouldn’t happen to their heads. Personally, we believe both stories are likely true. We’re also pretty sure that, as with all menswear greats, the grandad shirt has roots in military uniform (British troops wore them during the First World War). Why is it called a grandad shirt then? Nobody really knows. We can, however, tell you how you should wear one.
With a blazer
Tailoring is sometimes a tricky thing. With exacting fits, heavy fabrics and traditional construction, you can often find yourself feeling a little stifled compared to when wearing say, a t-shirt and jumper. It’s a small price to pay, and certainly nothing that would ever put us off a good three-piece. We’ve found that choosing an unlined blazer, and ditching the collar and tie can help you to loosen up. A white grandad shirt worn with the top button undone (but always tucked in properly) keeps your look smart but comfortable.
With a Nehru jacket
Grandad shirts and Nehru jackets go together like gin and tonic – smooth, sophisticated and a pairing that we’re very fond of. The Nehru is cut with a Mandarin collar, a thin band of fabric that almost – but doesn't quite – meet in the middle. It's similar to the collar found on the grandad shirt, and when worn together, the effect is clean and refined without being stuffy. Add a silk pocket square and you're set.
With a waistcoat
We all know the sense of dread that comes with the dreaded ‘smart-casual’ diktat. Not only is it a complete oxymoron, it's also difficult to know where on the scale you should aim. Our interpretation usually falls somewhere bang in the middle: a grandad shirt, worn with a single-breasted waistcoat and complimenting (but not matching) formal trousers.
Failing these options, there’s nothing wrong with wearing your grandad shirt by itself. It's an incredibly versatile style, and can even be worn open and layered over a t-shirt on more relaxed occasions. We've paid great attention to detail, using mock horn buttons on the placket and cuffs, and finishing the shirt with a single breast pocket. You’ll want something on your bottom half, of course – we usually go for a pair of formal trousers or dark-coloured jeans.