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Grandad, we love you

As Thomas Pink introduces its new grandad shirt, we explore the origins of this rather unlikely style icon.

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There’s something quietly rebellious about the grandad shirt, in spite of its whimsical name. After all, what is a shirt once you lop off the collar and thereby make the use of a tie superfluous, turning a 9-5 staple and symbol of capitalism into something completely different? Perhaps we’re reading too much into it, but there’s a reason that the cast of Peaky Blinders (and Tommy Shelby dress-alike David Beckham) are diehard fans of the grandad shirt – also known, imaginatively, as the collarless shirt or grandfather shirt, adjacent to the Mandarin or band collar shirt. It’s timeless yet modern; smart yet subversive, and something every man should have in his wardrobe.

Grandad History

Like many fashion icons, the history of the grandad shirt is somewhat hazy. There are two established lores: one naming an enterprising New York housewife in the late 1800s – Hannah Montague – as the maverick who decided it would be easier to wash her husband’s shirts separately from the collar, allegedly sparking the detachable collar trend. The other is that factory workers in the 1920s (again in New York) eschewed ties for fear that they would get stuck in the machinery, and so chopped off their shirt collars altogether. The style was also popularised in India by political leaders in the 1950s. Whatever the story, the grandad shirt has remained a mainstay of modern men’s fashion ever since – albeit a slightly left-field one.

Grandad Shirts by Thomas Pink

As proponents of shirts in all shapes and sizes, catering to all tastes and styles, Thomas Pink is proud to introduce its debut grandad shirt this spring. The brand-new range is made from a mix of 100 per cent summer cottons and lightweight cotton-linen mixes – making them ideal for sticky summer days and travelling abroad. There are a range of different patterns to suit, including classic stripes, block colours and styles that resemble denim. And don’t worry, none of them have the air of the Ebenezer Scrooge nightshirt.

How To Wear

Speaking of which, you can avoid the hippy or night-time aesthetic (unless that’s your particular vibe) with our simple style tips. The grandad shirt is wonderfully versatile both as an alternative to collared shirts and as a layering piece, making it ideal for trans-seasonal dressing. Dress it down by wearing one open over your favourite T-shirt with a pair of jeans, or turn heads at a summer wedding by wearing it with a suit or smart blazer in lieu of your standard dress shirt. They’ll look as much the part worn with a formal ensemble as they will worn loose and fancy-free over jeans or tailored shorts on your summer holidays. This year, grandad is firmly back in fashion. You heard it here first.