contrast collar doesn't match cuffs

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by dregsfan, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. dregsfan

    dregsfan New Member

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    Hi,

    I recently purchased two contrast collar Canali dress shirts (light blue and lavender). They each have a white collar, but the cuffs match the shirt color. Some fashion advice sites say that any contrast collar must match the cuffs AND be french cuffs. However, the shirts I purchased are button cuffs.

    Am I committing a faux pas by wearing these with a suit? Today's slimmer cut suits don't really accomodate french cuff shirts, so these shirts will fit. Perhaps they would work better with a navy blazer, with or without tie?

    Thanks.
     


  2. P-K-L

    P-K-L Senior member

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    Do not worry - I have a contrast collar shirt with cuffs matching the body too and I am still alive...
     


  3. Kevin Hedges

    Kevin Hedges Member

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    I prefer to have cuffs in the same cloth as the shirt body. The contrast collar will draw attention to your face, why would you want your hands to compete with your mug?
     


  4. Ich_Dien

    Ich_Dien Senior member

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    Impressive post count.
     


  5. marblehouse

    marblehouse Senior member

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    Hello,

    I recently purchased two Bugatchissmo dress shirts (sky blue and lilac). They each have a single button gusset, but the cuffs have two buttons. I read in GQ online (men's fashion resource) that two buttons cuffs must be for casual shirts ONLY.

    Will my arms explode at the elbow if I wear these with a suit? I worried the additional button tension around my cuffs may create a tourniquet effect, stopping my circulation dead at the wrist. Perhaps they would work on a suit with surgeon cuffs, with or without my pants zipper undone?

    Thanks.
     


  6. Wayward

    Wayward Senior member

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    I can't be the only one who thought this was a legitimate question.

    And no, there's nothing wrong with it.
     


  7. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It is proper to have white contrasting collar and cuffs made from the shirt cloth. White cuffs are an affect of modern times.
     


  8. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    I bow to your expertise on most things tailoring, Despos, but I am not sure it's as simple as this. I would say that both are 'proper' in their own way (and probably equally unusual or anachronistic). This is how I see it - please tell me if you think I'm incorrect on any aspect...

    Given then the use of contrasting white collars and cuffs originate from when both were seperate items (i.e. easily replacable) and white was the natural replacement colour, both collar and cuffs in white would seem to be quite old - this practice starts in the early C19th - before which shirts just didn't have stiffer collars and cuffs in the same way (and there's a whole complicated history there...). Most aristocatic men and bourgeois urban professionals wore white (and originally, linen) shirts, however, as opposed to the unbleached off-whites and later, blues, of working men. When coloured shirts entered the upper echelons of society in the early C20th, the collars and/or cuffs remained white (and the collars remained seperable until much later than the cuffs).

    However, for much of the C20th, there seems to have been a growing transatlantic separation. The contrast collar but with self-colour cuffs became a norm in American trad clothing but white contrasting collar and cuffs remained in the UK for longer. They both largely died out by the 1960s, except in the upper echelons of the financial industries in the UK and in formal morning dress. However, in the USA, the 1980s saw a revival of contrast collar and cuff shirts associated first with the financial industries, along with bold pinstripe suits with strongly padded shoulders etc., which was essentially a gesture of power (in appropriating what had been both the global role, and the - correctly or incorrectly - perceived style, of British banking). This then spread all over the place because of Hollywood film treatments of this culture - and produced some pretty awful popularizations of contrast collar and cuff shirts as fashion or 'clubbing' items etc. The contemporary association of contrast collar and cuffs therefore is with either the highly affected style of Wall Street in the 1980s or its fashion aftermath, however for those of us who are of British (or indeed, New England) origins, it has other, older cultural associations and form.

    Of course, I may be entirely mistaken, and be a deluded and self-justifying victim of Wall Street... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014


  9. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know, my mentors and tailors I trained with all regarded it proper for a shirt to have white collar and cuffs to match the body. I don't know the historical back story of how or why.
     


  10. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    Oh, okay. I would guess that your training was in the US then? With shirts from traditional British shirtmakers like Turnbull & Asser, shirts with contrast collars will always have contrast cuffs... on the other hand, Brooks Brothers, from what I recall, almost always only offer contrast collars.

    I don't know about Italy (where the shirt bought by the OP is from) ... but it seems that if the OP is in the USA, then the traditionally proper thing is contrast collar but no cuffs, but if in the UK, and I think France too, the shirt should have both or neither.

    As to whether many care to do the 'proper' thing however and wherever one defines it, well, that's another matter!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014


  11. ballmouse

    ballmouse Senior member

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    These days, very few things are fashion faux pas. I would recommend just wearing whichever cuff looks better from your perspective. If you would rather wear whatever was more historically common, that is probably harder to do as fashion has recycled the contrasting shirt multiple times with multiple variations each time and, likely, with each geography.
     


  12. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    It won't kill you
     


  13. culverwood

    culverwood Senior member

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    On the other hand the shirts Sean O'Flyn has made for me with contrasting collar have cuffs made from the shirt material (I did not ask for one or the other) so there is no standard way even in London.
     


  14. AlexE

    AlexE Senior member

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    Your statement implies that the UK and France would agree on something - hence it must be wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014


  15. AlexE

    AlexE Senior member

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    You do not have to have an issue with button cuffs made from shirt fabric.

    I would, however, reconsider you suit cuts if the sleeves are so tight, that they cannot even accommodate French cuffs!
     


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