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How do you roll? Untangle the Great Buttondown Collar Conspiracy!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mafoofan, Apr 10, 2013.

Which collar roll is closest to the ideal?

Poll closed Apr 17, 2013.
  1. #1

    70 vote(s)
    43.8%
  2. #2

    10 vote(s)
    6.3%
  3. #3

    8 vote(s)
    5.0%
  4. #4

    49 vote(s)
    30.6%
  5. #5

    23 vote(s)
    14.4%
  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    [​IMG] All this recent chambray talk has me thinking of other sartorial riddles wrapped in enigmas--namely, the ideal roll for a buttondown collar. Yeah, I'll admit it: I have no idea what people mean when they say "nice roll." I know how I prefer my own collars, but I've observed near zero consistency whether a roll is admired or regretted. Moreover, this variability goes all the way to the tip-top of the buttondown universe: the legendary, extinct, unlined Brooks Brothers OCBD collar. People post black and white photos of vintage specimens all the time. Then, everyone young and old comments wistfully on the greatness of what's been lost. Meanwhile, I nod and smile in agreement, trying to be respectful of religious beliefs. But let's get real. Each one of those Golden Age OCBD collars looks completely different from one another. Some show only a hint of roll up top, some roll over the top of the collar band before turning straight, and others are bell-shaped, rolling up top before inverting into another roll toward the points. There are rumpled-up versions, and baby smooth ones. Some are subtle, while others are bombastic. At the end, I truly have no idea which is supposed to be the one. I just know they can't possibly all qualify. So, make yourself heard. Visit my blog to see the collars in higher resolution and add comments there. I know which I think is the best one, but I'm not saying anything until the results are in!
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013


  2. dexconstruct

    dexconstruct Senior member

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    There is no ideal roll. I've got a nice collection of Golden Age Brooks Brothers OCBDs with unlined collars, and as you said, they all roll a bit differently depending on a variety of factors (being ironed, amount of starch, time of day, tightness of tie knot). The magic of those collars is NOT that they provided a specific roll, but that they were soft and unlined, reflecting the casual insouciance of the Ivy League elite who made them fashionable. Somehow this has been reversed in the #menswear world, and now the roll itself is worshipped, rather than the soft and unlined collar which made the roll. If you have to add some structure to your collar to get the correct roll, you are doing it wrong. Those old BB collars were alive, changing with the wearer. A collar which stays permanently at the "correct" roll is anathema to the true Brooks Brothers collar.
     


  3. RDiaz

    RDiaz Senior member

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    I'm European, so what do I know - but Mercer and Sons is suppossed to make an unlined collar that is much like the original Brooks Brothers polo collar. It looks great in every picture I have seen so far. I admit I haven't seen it in real life, but that's gonna change soon.

    Button downs will roll differently each time you wear them, anyways.

    I can't really give you an opinion based on your drawings, but for me the ideal floppiness (not roll) would be something like this:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013


  4. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    That's disappointing. You guys think the roll isn't really about the roll, but the collar's proclivity toward rolliness?

    Regardless of how things came to be, I think we do idealize different shapes of roll. After all, virtually any buttondown--lined or not--will take on some sort of rolled shape.
     


  5. RDiaz

    RDiaz Senior member

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    I don't really think the roll "shapes" themselves are idealized, but the sloppiness of the collar. For me, the more curves there are, the better, but that doesn't mean a particular shape. One point could even have a completely different roll compared to the other.
     


  6. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    I roll #1, straight up
     


  7. dexconstruct

    dexconstruct Senior member

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    Well look at the picture above, if that's your ideal roll you couldn't vote for it in your poll because it has two different shapes on each side of the collar. Such is the beauty of a soft button-down collar.
     


  8. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    +1

    Though, there is something to be said about a non-ideal roll.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013


  9. mymil

    mymil Senior member

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    That it looks really bad..?
     


  10. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    It's all about the attitude? Come on, guys. That is such a lame cop-out. It wouldn't be a good explanation in virtually any other context, and it isn't here.

    After all, you don't need a vintage Brooks Brothers OCBD through which to express attitude. Any floppy, unlined collar will do. However, a pleasing roll is not a given. I have a one of the much vaunted Mercer OCBDs with an unlined, soft collar. Guess what? The roll sucks. I won't say how, as that would reveal my preferences. But it is terrible, and it has nothing to with attitude.
     


  11. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    So years later we focus on the visual remnant we are left with (the roll) rather than the reason the BD was popular in the first place. I'm not sure I agree that that just means attitude. It was part of a broader cultural movement. Another example where context has been lost. Maybe all these ancient pictures do us a disservice?
     


  12. Digmenow

    Digmenow Senior member

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    I don't wear a tie with my BD collars but I like them to stand as tall and crisply as possible with a sharp roll at the top. This is a Ben Silver but I have others that do this to a similar extent as well that I am required to wear to work daily, sans tie, of course.

    [​IMG]

    Tell me what number this represents in the poll and I'll cast a vote.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013


  13. TactileOne

    TactileOne Senior member

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    None of them, where's the roll?
     


  14. dexconstruct

    dexconstruct Senior member

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    Uh oh. I sense you may be looking for a OneCollarRoll, a search I think you will find disappointing. The charm of the old BB collar is that it changed depending on a variety of factors, giving one the appearance that having a consistently correct collar was of no concern.
     


  15. Digmenow

    Digmenow Senior member

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    That's my point. More of a crease than a roll, really.
     


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