Saturday, November 28, 2020

Camp Collar Shirt

 Camp Collar Shirt  

The camp-collar shirt was a traditional worker’s garment known as the ‘Guayabera’. It just might be the first streetwear item in Western men’s fashion: a traditionally humble piece of workwear that went haute.

Originating in either Mexico or the Philippines, depending who you ask, and scattered around the New World by the Spanish, the Guayabera has been a wardrobe staple in Cuba since the 18th century. It is thanks to Cubans that, to better help farmers endure the heat, the shirt evolved from its historic mandarin collar to the spread camp-collar we recognize today. While most guys now sport the camp-collar shirt for its air of retro glamour, in Cuba it is a symbol of national pride. Many government officials go to work in a Guayabera instead of a suit. It is such a part of the nation’s culture that, in 2010, the Cuban Guayabera—camp-collar and all—was designated as the “Official Formal Dress Garment” of the country.

Like the desperate immigrants who landed on the shores of Miami, the camp collar shirt carries an air of the exotic. Unlike a traditional business shirt, a camp collar doesn’t have a separate collar band, being instead attached via two pieces of fabric (the collar topside and another for the bottom) to the shirt body, allowing it to splay open casually and sit flat against the chest. The lack of a top button also precludes it from ever being worn with a tie (to the consternation of depressed office-workers everywhere).

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