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Types of Collarless Shirts & How to Wear One

Posted on 15 February 2023

Collarless shirts have been gaining in popularity over the recent years, but this style of shirt is not a modern revelation by any means! In the early 20th century the main body of a shirt would be sold separately from its collar. This was because people at the time did not have access to convenient washing machines or dry cleaners. Therefore, having a detachable collar allowed the collar to be washed regularly to maintain a smart outward appearance, whilst the main body remained unwashed until it was necessary to do so! This is different from modern day dress shirts which come with the collar already attached.
The first fully collarless shirts worn were initially created a little later, mostly as convenient workwear for manual labourers like factory workers and farmhands. The collarless shirt was a practical option that provided more comfort and less fuss. Unlike businessmen and office workers, ‘blue collar’ workers did not wear ties, therefore having a collar was unimportant.
Nowadays, the collarless shirt is popular as an alternative, almost rebellious option for men who want to stand out from the crowd.

Collarless shirts come in a couple of variations:
Band Collar
A band collar shirt features a band that stands up above the level of the top button in the placket, and forms a complete neckline. This style is also sometimes known as Grandad or Grandpa.
Mandarin Collar
Very similar to the band collar, except that the neckline band does not form a complete circle. Instead there is a small gap at the front. This is reminiscent of traditional oriental costume. Mandarin collar shirts are also occasionally called Nehru collar shirts, particularly in India. This style of collarless shirt was the trademark outfit of the former Indian prime minister, Jawarlal Nehru - hence the name.

How to Style your Collarless Collar Shirt?
The easiest way to style your Collarless Collar shirt for formal occasions is to wear it tucked in to black trousers or dark denim straight leg jeans. Because of the minimalist / simple nature of collarless shirts they can act as the ideal canvas for a jacket or a blazer. Pick a simple white mandarin collar shirt and pair it with any kind of jacket - leather, linen, denim, bomber, blazer - whatever you go for is bound to be a winning combination! If you are tucking your shirt in, be sure to wear a good quality belt and complete the look with clean shoes.

A simple way to dress down your collarless shirt is to combine it with linen trousers or chinos. For a casual look you should keep the top button undone, keep the shirt untucked, and consider rolling up the sleeves. Another option is to wear your collarless shirt unbuttoned over a plain white t-shirt and match it with lighter colour loose fit jeans. If the weather permits, a simple lightweight sweater could be worn over your band collar shirt so that just the band is visible.

Now that you know a brief history of collarless shirts, and how to wear one, head to the ‘Mandarin’ category page on our site to browse the 20+ colour options available.

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