Diplomatic Ties part 140: Brooks Brothers
First button down shirt in the series. As a European my default stance on button downs is that you should avoid wearing them with a tie. But there are exceptions. In my opinion, you should consider this:
- It is more informal to use a button down, embrace that instead of pretending otherwise.
- Therefore go for an oxford shirt instead of a thinner cotton fabric. It should have a breast pocket. This Black Fleece shirt is perfect in my opinion.
- The shirt must have a nice, soft collar roll (see pic 2 above). Don’t make the mistake of using a button down with a collar that squeezes the tie to your neck. It makes you look like you’re working for a PR-firm.
- Oxford shirts should not be too slim. You want to see the fall of the fabric.
- Use a tie that does not have patterns or colours that are too subtle. It should be bright and colourful. Traditional school stripes works best, especially (like in this case) with American style stripes.
- Don’t use a wide knot. A simple four-in-hand is the best option.
- Avoid wearing a button down with a dark suit. Lighter suits are ok, especially in other fabrics than wool, but the best option is with a blazer or no jacket at all.