Friday - - Ask the Experts -

QWhen­ever I wear a jacket over an open-col­lar shirt, the shirt col­lar col­lapses and it then looks flat and ugly. What steps should I put in place to en­sure that it al­ways re­mains firm?

AThis is a com­mon prob­lem and you are right in men­tion­ing that it can look rather sloppy, es­pe­cially when you wear it as an open col­lar with­out a tie.

A shirt’s col­lar is a large part of its true essence and a sloppy one does not give a good im­pres­sion or en­cour­age peo­ple to look at you.

How­ever, this can eas­ily be solved by fol­low­ing the tra­di­tional be­spoke method of proper col­lar con­struc­tion. First and fore­most it is im­por­tant to en­sure that a proper bal­ance is main­tained be­tween the spread of the col­lar and the col­lar point as per your neck.

If you mostly plan to wear it as an open col­lar, it is best to go with a spread that is at least three inches apart. The spread be­tween your col­lar points en­sures the tip of your col­lar digs into your jacket and hence gives your col­lar more sup­port to stand straight and stiff.

It is also vis­ually more ap­peal­ing as you now do not see any space be­tween your col­lar points and the jacket lapel. This works in uni­son with the ac­tual size of your col­lar point, which needs to be tai­lored as per your neck.

Usu­ally two and three­quar­ters of an inch is a good col­lar point size un­less you have a slightly longer neck, in which case you should go up to three inches. Go­ing for an ex­tremely small col­lar point will again com­pro­mise on the firm­ness of the col­lar and hence make it droop­ier, which will even­tu­ally eas­ily col­lapse on your neck.

Once you have got the per­fect bal­ance be­tween the col­lar point size and the col­lar spread, you need to in­struct your be­spoke tai­lor to use a slightly thicker can­vas in­side your col­lar and add slits un­der­neath your col­lar points for you to insert your own col­lar stays ex­ter­nally. Once this is done, you need to pur­chase a pair of me­tal­lic col­lar stays and put it in­side the slits un­der your col­lar ev­ery time be­fore you wear your shirt. This will en­sure that your col­lar is sharp, crisp and sturdy through­out the day and there is no chance of it col­laps­ing. It may only shift from its place with move­ment if you have a slightly thicker neck, in which case you need to in­struct your be­spoke tai­lor to add a hid­den loop un­der your col­lar points and a but­ton on your shirt for the loop to go into.

This is a small trick that will en­sure that your col­lar al­ways stays in place with­out any­one notic­ing that there is a hid­den loop and a but­ton keep­ing it in place.

Fi­nally, mak­ing sure proper care is taken dur­ing wash­ing and steam iron­ing your shirts, along with stor­ing it on a hanger in­stead of fold­ing it will make sure that you never have a col­lar that will col­lapse or be flat.

ASHISH AND PAWAN ISH­WAR are tai­lors at Knights & Lords, a be­spoke tai­lor­ing house in Dubai

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