Saturday, December 5, 2020

Formal Shirt

Formal Shirt 

Interestingly, the term dress shirt has a different meaning on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United Kingdom, a dress shirt is known as a formal shirt. In the United States, the dress shirt makes up part of the standard ensemble required for evening dress for formal occasions. A man will be required to wear a dress shirt, which essentially must be white with double French cuffs and cuff links, with his tuxedo, cummerbund, and butterfly or bat-wing black tie.

History

Shirts appeared first in European dress in the seventeenth century as a kind of underwear, designed to protect expensive waistcoats and frock coats from sweat and soil. By the early nineteenth century, shirts had assumed importance as garments in their own right. The emphasis placed by Beau Brummell and other dandies on wearing clean, perfectly styled linen brought the shirt into increased prominence as an essential male garment.

Even up to the turn of the twentieth century, the white shirt was considered to be the symbol of a gentleman. But in order for shirts to look clean, particularly the collar, a man would have to have enough money for them to be washed frequently. According to popular legend, Mrs. Orlando Montague of New York City realized the collars on her husbands' shirts needed washing much more than the main body and set about removing all the collars and sewing on strings to reattach them once they had been washed. The trend soon caught on, even though many men struggled to piece their shirts back together again.

Detachable versions of both the turndown and wing collar were available with the added advantage of being able to alter the collar depending on circumstance. Victorian men were also known to buy celluloid or paper collars to save money. However, due to the laborious process of refitting the collars on the shirts, the development of the domestic washing machine, and developments in fabric technology, the detachable collar has all but disappeared from the male wardrobe.


 

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