In the past, we’ve given you the low-down on some pretty obscure collars – the detachable collar, the double collar, and the mandarin collar – but just when you thought there was nothing new under the sun when it comes to your shirt’s neck area, think again. Today we bring you yet another not-quite-mainstream collar that was once standard among royals and silver-age Hollywood stars: the cutaway. Thanks in large part to the resurgence of the “timeless” tailored look in men’s fashion, the cutaway collar is slowly making its way back onto stores shelves, with an extreme modern twist.
The cutaway collar is, as the name would lead you to believe, a collar that has had its points cut away – or at the very least, severely reduced. Often confused in the past with spread collars, which also features smaller points, many of the cutaway collars we’re seeing today have definitely earned their new moniker, “shark fins”, and have earned the attention of many assertive up-and-comers because of their aggressive edges and sharp lines.
But in spite of their predatory appearance, cutaways were first popularized among the dandies of England back in the Edwardian days, and were meant to be worn at black tie events and very formal situations. Traditionally, most cutaway collars feature French cuffs, so keep a pair of cufflinks handy if you plan to order one without first checking the sleeves.
For modern day sartorialists, be very careful when it comes to wearing a tie with a cutaway collar. Thick ties with can easily stick out underneath the points of the more obtuse cutaways, creating an odd Mandarin collar-like band. Thin ties on the other hand may lead to knots too diminutive to match the dashing look of most cutaways.
For those of you who might have something less than a well-stocked tie rack, don’t worry, there are plenty of cutaway collars that look great unbuttoned at the throat. In casual situations, cutaway collars add a touch of breezy (yet manly) European joie de vivre to any outfit, especially in North America, where they are still relatively rare compared to button down and long point collars. But regardless of where you live, cutaway collars are said to look best on guys with longer faces and harder features.
Whether you love the look of cutaway collars or think they are just another passing trend in recycled retro, it’s hard to deny that they make a statement. The exact nature of that statement is going to depend a lot on who’s wearing it and how it’s worn.