How to Wear a Grandad Collar Shirt

While the name might suggest it’s a little old-fashioned, the grandad collar shirt has had a bit of a revival over the past few years. Since its inception in the late 1920s, men have been fans of the unusual collar for both style and practicality, if you’re thinking about wearing this classic design – read on for our complete guide.

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How To Wear A Grandad Collar Or Collarless Shirt

A versatile and easy to wear piece with the ability to transcend casual and formal dress codes, the Grandad collar shirt is a worthy addition to any man’s wardrobe. Looking for a little style inspiration?

How To Wear A White Grandad Shirt

Nothing beats the classic white button down shirt. It’s versatility and ease of wear has made it popular since the early 20th century. However, if you want something a little bit different, why not consider the white grandad collar shirt?

Try wearing a white grandad collar shirt with a pair of classic black suit trousers and jacket, giving you a formal, yet unconventional look – all while still maintaining the formality of the suit with the shirt. Throw on a pair of black penny loafers to finish your outfit, and you’re good to go.

grandad collar shirt with a suit mens
Grandad Neck Shirt
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How To Wear A Black Grandad Shirt

Looking for something a little unconventional? Try wearing a black grandad collar shirt with some formal trousers and a blazer. A marginally more casual take on a full-blown suit, you’ll easily pass for most smarter situations without seeming overly traditional. Mix in a pair of loafers or smart oxford shoes on your feet to finish off the look with a stylish flourish.

black grandad collar shirt mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How To Wear A Denim Grandad Shirt

If you’re going for a more laid-back look, then why not consider a denim granddad collar shirt as an alternative to more conventional styles. For an instantly spring/summer feeling finish, mix your shirt with some stone-coloured chinos and minimal white trainers.

loose style long sleeve denim shirts men washed vintage mens casual jean shirts summer lightweight
How to Wear a Collarless Shirt
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How A Grandad Collar Shirt Should Fit

When you’re dealing with a collarless option like the grandad collar, you’ll need to take into account the measurement of your neck even more so as you won’t have the collar to hide behind. A classic collar would give you a little bit a leeway at the button fastening, however, a grandad collar shirt is a little bit tighter around the neck, so bear in mind when measuring yourself as you don’t want a restricting collar.

mens shirts size guide

How A Grandad Collar Shirt Should Fit On Your Body

Once you’ve got yourself measured, then you need to try on a few shirts to get the best fit possible. Brands can sometimes differ when it comes to sizing, so it’s important to try a few on so you know you have the correct fit.

How A Grandad Collar A Shirt Should Fit On Your Chest

  • Your shirt shouldn’t be restrictive. It should skim over the thickest part of your chest, allowing you to easily button it up.
  • Push your chest out a little, if you feel or see the buttons strain then opt for the next size up.

men grandad collar white shirt

How A Grandad Collar Shirt Should Fit On Your Arms

  • Again, you don’t want a restrictive shirt, so the sleeves should finish on your wrist bone.
  • Move about and lift your arms up. If you feel it tighten on your upper arm, it’s probably too small, so go for the next size up.

how a shirt should fit in sleeves

How A Grandad Collar Shirt Should Fit On Your Shoulders

  • The seam where the sleeve meets the torso of your shirt should sit right on your shoulder, if it’s more into your shoulder, nearer to the neck then it’s too small. If it sits below your shoulder and more onto your arm, then it’s too big.
  • Again, it shouldn’t be restrictive, you should be able to easily move around in the shirt.

men shirt white grandad

How A Grandad Collar Shirt Should Fit In Length

  • The front length should sit in line with the hem of your sleeves.
  • The back tail (it’s normally longer) should sit in the middle area of your bottom.

how a shirt should fit in length

Further Reading: History Of The Grandad Collar Shirt

Taking you all the way back to New York in 1927, a woman named Hannah Montague cut off the collar to her husband’s shirt to wash it separately, and thus, the detachable collar was born. Oddly, at the time, the detachable collar was seen as a more formal piece, as it was worn by legal professionals and city workers of the time. When it was fastened, it simply buttoned at the top, much like the modern day grandad collar, and the detachable collar was placed on top.

Another origin to the grandad collar shirt comes from the blue collar workers of the 1930’s. Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, it was common to see the factory or working class people go to work in a full shirt and tie. Sadly, their ties would commonly get caught in machines and even kill some workers through its impracticality so the need to remove the collars entirely came about.

history of the grandad collar shirt
Grandad Style Shirts
PHOTO CREDIT: Burton

To avoid this, they would wear a grandad, or band, collar shirt as it was still a little bit more formal, yet wasn’t as dangerous to wear as a classic design, with a tie. The workers would team these shirts with denim dungarees or jeans, as they still wanted to be practical and their materials hard-wearing.

Like most modern pieces of clothing, such as the bomber jacket, the grandad collar shirt found its way into the military. During World War I, men in the army would wear a grey or green/khaki coloured design and they were made from a breathable, lightweight cotton so the men could move in them easily.

soldiers during world war 1 wear a band collar shirt
Soldiers Wearing Grandad Collar Shirts During World War 1
PHOTO CREDIT: Durham Record Office

How to Wear Grandad Collar Shirts

Wearing a grandad collar shirt needn’t be any more difficult than a regular option. Giving you a marginally more casual finish, if you’re a little unsure, consider pairing your grandad collar shirt with some chinos, a bomber jacket and minimal trainers for an easy, go-to ensemble.

mens blue jacket grandad collar shirt
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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On That Note

The grandad collar shirt is something that every man should have in their wardrobe. Steeped in history and practicality, it’s definitely here to stay. With the ability to wear it formally with a classic suit and trousers combination, or go casual with a pair of jeans or chinos – it really is a master of versatility. If you’re struggling to figure out what to wear with a grandad collar shirt, just keep it classic. Go for a base colour of white for the shirt, and then work from there!

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