I’ve so far resisted the trend of round collar shirts. Known as penny collar shirts in some quarters, these are shirts with the edges of the collar rounded off. They have a vintage look to them and turn up in any number of films attempting to channel a vintage look.
Jude Law’s John Watson wears one in recent films alongside Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes. Sticking with a Sherlock theme, Moriarty also wears one in the BBC’s Sherlock set in contemporary London.
They achieve a somewhat unusual look by the simple expedient of being unusual. Rounding off the edges of the collar is only a small and subtle change. And yet it makes a significant difference to the way a collar looks.
However, it is not only a vintage look. Like most vintage looks it has been making a comeback in recent years. Indeed, in many ways, it is now old hat. It was very much on trend about 12-18 months ago. Courtesy of the The Sartorialist, the image below gives an idea of a round collar shirt in a modern application.
There is something to be said, however, for not simply jumping on ‘trend bandwagons’ because they are there. Style is timeless, so if it looked good a year ago it will look good years from now also. So I am not overly concerned that round collars could be seen as last season. That would apply to most of my clothes!
Hawes & Curtis, as part of their 100th Anniversary celebrations last year, brought out a number of limited edition shirts which included one particularly fine example of a round collar shirt, combined with a Prince of Wales check. I’ve been waiting for it to go on sale but have failed to on that score. H&C have even kept it out of their 5 for £100 promotion. So despite my advice to Avoid Paying Full Price, it looks as though if I want this one I am going to have to break with tradition.
So should you add a round collar shirt to your collection? Difficult to say. Different collar shapes and sizes frame the face in different ways. For some, a round collar will look great and for others, depending on facial shapes, it just won’t work as well. Moreover, rounded collars are not monolithic. In the same way that there are multiple collar shapes, so there are also multiple rounded collar shapes.
H&C’s example above is more or less a rounded version of their St James cutaway collar. It is a very different shape from the two collars above it which are less cutaway. So if you are looking into one of these you might like to try a rounded version of your favourite collar shape. I prefer a cutaway collar so the H&C model appeals. Better yet try a few and see what works for you.
But you know you want to….