Collar Roll Variables: The Top Button

Trads spend countless hours trying to find the OCBD that produces the perfect collar roll (learn more about collar roll). Often this process can be cut short by simply going to Brooks Brothers, but that does not work for everyone. The reason why is that collar roll relies on a lot of variables. Just to name a few there is the length of the collar points, the placement of the buttons, of the button holes. the height of the collar, the thickness of the material, and this does not even start to take into account all of the variables of there wearer, but lately I have started to think about another variable.
Rectangular FinishRounded FinishI had never given much thought to the collar band on my shirts before. However, when I started to search for a new OCBD provider it jumped out at me pretty quick. The first OCBD that I tried was from Brooks Brothers. When I put it on I immediately noticed that the collar band has a square edge where as the shirts that I am currently wear (Lands’ End Original OCBD) are rounded.

This got me thinking about how these two different styles may effect collar roll. The rounded edges seem to help establish the visual of what looks like a single point of origination for the collar roll where the square or rectangular shape can make each side of the collar look independent of one another due to the distance between them. I also noticed that when the top button is undone that the rounded edges create a more open look around the neck than the rectangular finish. This could be on of the reasons why there is such a high demand for vintage 6-button Brooks Brothers shirts.
Open Collar BlockedOpen Collar Rounded

This is yet another variable to add into the complicated equation of creating the perfect collar roll. Although it may have more to do with the resistance to change than actual functionality or additional collar roll benefits as of now I prefer a collar band with a rounded edge. Out of the usual bunch of suspects (Brooks Brothers, Mercer Shirts, Michael Spencer, etc) I believe that J.Press and O’Connell’s are the only ones that have collar bands with rounded edge, but I do notice various degrees of variation in the rectangular shape. I will leave you with one last piece of advice. When you find the shirt that produces your ideal collar roll, buy more.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

9 Comments on "Collar Roll Variables: The Top Button"

  1. woofboxer says:

    Interesting thought OCBD. The last picture with the rounded edge certainly presents a more pleasing aspect when the collar is worn unbuttoned, but I feel the collar must sit better with a squared off edge when the collar is worn done up with a tie. Ivy fans obsess over 6 button Brooks Makers shirts but personally, I prefer the 7 buttoners for open collar wearing as there is a lesser gap at the neck. The square/rounded edge is something I hadn’t really considered before, I’m not sure if I should thank you or not for drawing my attention to yet another detail to agonise over! Seriously, thanks for an interesting article, keep’em coming bud.

  2. Wow, that’s detail! Mercer would probably round it if you asked him to.

  3. Steve L. says:

    This post made me do an inventory of my shirts. Most of my dress shirts are made in Britain and they all have rounded edges, even though they are meant to be worn with a tie. I don’t mind the squared edges worn open but your photos sure make the rounded version look better. Not sure this is something I would typically notice until you pointed it out. Another detail to fuss over indeed! You’ve got me wondering if there’s a reason for these styles that’s not related to cost or ease of manufacturing.

  4. CAY says:

    I agree that the most important aspect of an OCBD is the collar roll. In this regard, I like Brooks Brothers, Michael Spencer and Mercer. They all excel at the collar roll.

    My shirt inventory revealed Brooks Brothers and JPress shirts having the rounded edge, and Polo RL, Paul Stuart, Michael Spencer, and Mercer all having squared edges. Truthfully, I never noticed this before, but now that I have, I think I like the squared edge best. I wonder if that says something about my personality?

    In addition to the round vs squared characteristic of the collar edge, there are other features of an OCBD that I like. One is a locker loop. Since I am in the tennis club a lot, I find the locker loop a real convenience. Unfortunately, not every shirt maker offers the loop. MSpencer offers it as a no-cost option, which I really like.

    Another, more aesthetic, feature is the split yoke. Many of my shirts have a split yoke. My university and Bengal stripe shirts from BB, JPRess and PStuart all have a split yoke with the stripes matching nicely on the horizontal plain. MSpencer does something unusual with the uni stripe split yokes. The stripes match perfectly, just like the other shirts, but the stripes are angled upwards towards the collar, in a sort of inverted V formation. I really like this feature, though admittedly, its purely visual; it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the fit across the shoulders.

    One final characteristic in which the various shirt makers differ is “fullness,” for lack of a better word. BB, Mercer, PStuart and Polo RL all are full-cut shirts with plenty of room in the body. JPress and MStuart are cut a little narrower. My preference is a full cut. The JPress and MStuart (vintage cut) shirts are not so narrow they bind, I just wish they were a little more like Mercer and the old BB in their fullness.

  5. Gary says:

    Thanks, OCBD. Now I have one more thing to obsess over. 😉

    Seriously, though, this is very interesting. I am pretty fascinated about all the variables that go into shirt fit and appearance.

  6. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I have come to the conclusion that the trick is having the luxury to obtain all of these features.

  7. Harrow Carper says:

    Thanks to Mercer, after 50 years of pretending that Oxford cloth was comfortable, in spite of its bulkiness, I have switched to broadcloth shirts with buttondown collars. How I wish I had had the good sense to do this years before.

  8. JDD says:

    Something interesting to note: I own both the (now old) BB Garland OCBD with the pocket and it is, as your picture shows, squared on the collar. However, I also own an Own Make BB OCBD – presumably also made in Garland – and it features a rounded collar. Not sure if this is more true to the 60s BB OCBD – as Own Make was marketed to depict. It seems that all other variables are equal and the roll of the collar looks the exact same.

  9. Harrow Carper says:

    As a point of information, what Mercer calls broadcloth is called poplin by some other makers.

I would like to hear from you