For many, the average men’s shirt is simply a garment of utility – one that is worn by men across the world for reasons of function and not necessarily fashion. But this attitude belies the hundreds of years of trends in men’s shirts. From the typical collarless shirts with billowing sleeves worn by classical painters to the modern formal button-down shirt, men’s shirts have captured the imaginations of both designers and ordinary men for generations. In the twentieth century in particular, a range of different shirt styles have proved popular with men of all ages.
One of the most important developments in men’s shirts over the last hundred years, for example, has been the invention of the polo shirt Comme des Garçons Playss shirts and ties typical of tennis attire at the time. In the 1960s, Ralph Lauren propelled the polo shirt to new heights as a prominent item in his ‘Polo’ collection; and since this time the polo shirt has become so popular that it is now a standard category of clothing – although it has fallen out of favour with most tennis players.
The granddad shirt has also been a long lasting trend in men’s shirts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These collarless shirts have been popular with men in warm countries for decades and have seen a variety of incarnations throughout the years. The Nehru Jacket, for instance, is a South Asian version of the modern granddad shirt that was popularised by the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1950s and early 1960s, and has since been prominently worn by a number of celebrities, from the likes of Sammy Davis Jr to Steven Segal. Today’s granddad shirt preys on bright colours and an ethno-bohemian vibe that appeals to a variety of men’s fashion trends – from festival clothing to smart casual summer wear.