The average shirt worn by a man is typically designed to serve a purpose: as a covering. It gives protection, and acts as a temperature regulation mechanism. However, even in these designs primarily aimed at pragmatic use, there can be found a lot of trends in fashion. Think back to the paintings of the classical painters wearing their collarless shirts with roomy, billowing sleeves. Compare that to the button-down shirts worn as formal attire in the twentieth century. As the marketplace becomes more and more global, it seems that men’s shirts and fashions are changing faster than ever.
One of the most interesting developments in men’s shirts and fashion of the 20th century was the development of the polo shirt. Some people have come to also call this a tennis shirt. It was actually invented by Rene Lacoste in 1929. Who was Rene Lacoste? He was a famous French tennis player.
The polo shirt provided a loose alternative for the tennis player to the rigid dress shirts they had traditionally worn. The commercialization of the polo shirt really didn’t peak until Ralph Lauren developed its Polo collection in the 1960s. This Polo collection stayed in fashion for many years. In fact, it was popular so long that it came to be considered a common clothing category. It isn’t worn by tennis players much anymore, but the polo shirt is still seen among common people of many cultures.
Another one of the interesting examples of men’s shirts and fashion for study is the granddad shirt. This shirt has maintained a long era of popularity. The granddad shirt is a collarless shirt that is ideal for staying cool on warm days. It is not surprising then that its popularity has remained the greatest in the hotter areas of the world, such as South Asia.
In India, the granddad shirt became very popular under the rule of Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1950s. This Indian Prime Minister could often be seen wearing one of these shirts, even at formal occasions. In America, the granddad shirt could be found on Sammy Davis Jr. Later these shirts could be found on the trend-setting actor named Steven Segal. Still today, many stars can be seen wearing a bohemian version of the granddad shirt, with bright colors.
The button-down formal shirt has remained popular through all of these developments in men’s shirts and fashion. Its history is long enough that it is hard to precisely pinpoint how this example of men’s shirts and fashion came into being.
One of the proposed theories on the origin of the button-down shirt is traced back to an English polo match. Players had clipped down their collars to keep them from blowing around in their faces.
Another theory of the origin of the button-down shirt maintains that it was invented in New York City. Again, this theory maintains that a man was annoyed by the wind flapping his collars in the wind so he added buttons to hold them down.
While button-down shirts are mostly worn to convey some level of formality these days, at various times they have also been considered to be fashionable men’s shirts for more relaxed settings. In the more casual settings, these shirts can contain all sorts of designs on them. Hawaiian-style button-down shirts have been popular for casual settings for many years now, particularly during warm weather.