BUTTON-DOWN COLLARS. THE APPENDIX OF THE FASHION WORLD.
I'd like to make a motion. A motion to put an end to the abhorrent feature of many men's dress shirt collars known as the "button down collar."
Side Note: The term "Button Down Shirt" has been readily accepted when referring to all shirts that button up the front. In reality, "Button Down Shirts" specifically refers to the dress shirt with a button-down collar. All other dress-shirts that button are "Button-Up."
Just note how middle-schoolish this looks - ESPECIALLY on business men and politicians. Pick any cable news channel - FOX, CNN, MSNBC, et al. - spend an hour watching the talking heads and keep track of the number of men who show up on national television with these ridiculous collars. Business men! Politicians! I implore you! SAY NO TO THE BUTTON DOWN! FOR YOUR IMAGE. FOR YOUR FAMILY'S FUTURE. For the safety and security of civilized society as we know it.
The perfection of a perfect collar-point - brought to a shattering halt by an awkward button hole and then a flippin' button where a flippin' button doesn't belong. This drives a stake into the heart of all fashion-minded individuals and serves to reinforce the fact that the one wearing the button-down, didn't really look in the mirror before leaving the house that day.
Buttons. An ingenious invention for allowing us to bring proper closure to our pants, shirts, jackets and sometimes even boxer shorts. Heck, the mouse you're using to browse this blog probably has at least one button as well as a scroll-wheel for ease of scrolling which is probably also accompanied by a clickable button function. Like people, buttons come in all colors, shapes and sizes and have many different uses. But the one place they don't belong is on collars. (Actually, there is one other place they don't belong - button flys on pants - but that's another blog post altogether...)
Collar stays. The brilliant undercover fashion accessory. It allows a man to achieve pointed collar perfection - almost as if the new perfected collar was carved out of the most exquisite unmovable polished granite - while giving no appearance to the outside world that there was an overage of effort placed into the collar formation and placement. But a man knows. He knows that he put that extra bit off effort to allow his collar not to curl, crimp or otherwise be misplaced throughout the course of a day (or night as the case may be).
Collar stays (and the shirts they are used in) also come in all shapes and sizes. Once one has several of these shirts in his repetoire, it shouldn't ever come to the point of being without an extra collar stay or two on one's dresser. In fact, many men's clothing stores offer a selection of FREE collar stays to keep you looking sharp and dare I say, pointy, all the time. If they see the need to offer these pieces for FREE, it means you need to be taking notice, taking them and using them. If you're taking them and using them, it means you have relieved yourself of button down collar madness and replaced those shirts with the proper type of collar.
Collar stays require a tad bit more effort - akin to the French cuff vs. button cuff issue (another upcoming blog topic...). You have to remove them before laundering. You have to replace them after laundering and before wearing. You have to keep a ready supply on your dresser or sink. But isn't it always the case that the things that take more effort are so much more worth it when the final product is presented to the public? Yes. Yes it is.
Spread collar, English spread, point collar, straight collar, tab collar, varsity collar, windsor collar, cutaway collar - collars ad nauseam. This means that you have a wide wide WIDE variety of collars to choose from such that the button down can be a thing of the past. An unused and forgotten vestige of the past - much like the appendix. There is a collar for you out there. Myself, I prefer a nice stiff strong spread collar to accentuate / balance my strong jaw and features. All you have to do for yourself is find the one that suits you. Any reputable men's store can help. Once you find the collar that works, cherish it, launder it with care, starch it gingerly, press it to perfection, review it in the mirror, and most importantly, wear it confidently knowing that now you have graduated to the ranks of real collar wearers everywhere. Society will thank you. I thank you in advance for taking this step towards greatness.
For the love of couture, leave the button down collar behind.