The Boldly Banker’s Shirt

Posted on 17 December 2013

Formal shirts do not have to be orthodox and low on the style quotient. And they should not be! Dressing to impress is the key to a successful image of a professional and hence it’s extremely important that your sense of fashion is in place when you are donning your formals.

33-580x871Take the Banker’s shirt for instance. It is a strictly formal garment with a white collar on a non-white shirt and has evolved as a style statement over two centuries. Now that’s some history to talk about! And so I shall.

Originally, the collar of a Banker’s shirt was detachable from the shirt which was usually made in a different colored fabric. The concept of contrast flourished as a style statement for professionals and the shirt today of course is a single piece garment.

The History

When I say the Banker’s shirt has a two century of history, you know I am talking about a long (really long) time ago, when the economy was run mostly by manufacturing businesses and clothes defined the social status of a man. The manual, skilled labor class wore blue shirts while the clerical, educated staff donned white dress shirts.

19th century style

Eventually in the 1900s, the shirts became colorful while the collars remained white and the labor uniforms remained blue. As a practice they came to be categorized as ‘blue collar’ and ‘white collar’ workers. And white collared shirts became synonymous with elite professions like banking, management, administration etc. and hence the name.

In mid 1800s, a housewife invented the ‘detachable white collar’, after having a tough time washing the collars of her husband’s shirt. The idea became so popular around town, that shirt makers adopted the idea and started making detachable white collars to be attached to any shirt.

How to wear a Banker’s shirt

The Banker’s shirt need not be boring and grave. For that matter, the modern versions of Banker’s shirts are more playful with solid colors in subtle tones and candy stripes.

For shirts in solid colors with a white collar, go for black, grey or navy trousers in micro checks or hairline stripes, depending on the color of your shirt. For instance, wear a lilac Banker’s shirt with navy or charcoal trousers. For shirts with candy stripes, something like Gordon Gekko’s style (remember ‘The Wall Street’?) go for a solid black bottom.

The wall street style

Alternatively, I highly recommend the modern versions of Bankers shirt- white shirt with coloured cuffs and collars. They were popularized by the entertainment moguls of the 80s. Add a retro element to your regular formal attire with contrast collared shirts. But don’t overdo it. Shirts with bold and bright collars like purple and blue, are best suited for your formal parties!

tsc bankers (1)

Experiment with your Banker’s shirts- dress it up with suits, suspenders and ties or dress it down with a simple pair of trousers but never wear denims with them!

And as designer and fashion expert Anita Dongre, owner of the label AD Man, mentioned in a fashion publication,

The Banker’s shirt evokes confidence and a sense of professionalism. Its 'turn on' factor comes from the fact that it gives the man a commanding look. And men with power and confidence look the most charming.

So ready to charm the ladies, folks?

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