A shirt’s a shirt’s a shirt right?
Well, for the longest time I certainly thought so. That’s the main reason why I’ve stayed away from doing shirt reviews till now. I always wondered how one shirt could be different to the next? I mean, I know that the cut makes a massive difference, and of course the collar and cuff details, but these are all such individual details that what works for me, may not exactly work for you.
However, every now and then, something comes along that changes the game, something that makes you think “Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?” When the team at Allen Young asked me to review their shirts, I was again sceptical – This was of course, until I took a closer look at the details. The sales pitch is simple: One shirt gives you endless options with personalised collars and cuffs.
Like I said, simple and like most simple things, its also genius!
The mechanism is pretty simple. Each collar (and cuff) has multiple button holes that line up to buttons on the collar and sleeve of the shirt. To replace one, you just unbutton it and button on a new one. That’s pretty much it, to be honest – I feel like this blog post is done!
For those of you not yet sold, let me point out the obvious benefits of the system.
At its base level, it really extends the life of your shirts. The first thing to wear out is often the collar and cuff so having the option of replacing them definitely gives your shirt a couple more years in the closet. On top of that, your replacement collars (or cuffs) can change the look of your shirt entirely, from a spread collar and double cuff to a club collar and rounded cuff…or the other way around, or even the other, other way around. It’s pretty much a thousand shirts in one really – that may be a gross over exaggeration but you get my point.
For me, the massive benefit was the contrast collar. I love a contrast collar on a shirt, but really struggle to find them. In fact, I’ve only ever found 1 that fits me and it’s a classic blue stripe white collar…very Wall St circa 1987 – not that there is anything wrong with that, if it was good enough for Michael Douglas and his Motorolla brick, it’s good enough for me!
I loved the fact that this system allowed any shirt in the Allen Young collection to have a contrast collar and or contrast cuffs. I even managed to get myself a club collar with holes for a collar pin – something that is literally impossible to find anywhere. I also liked not having to always use the contrast cuffs (that most contrast collared shirts come with) it definitely helps give the shirt a more contemporary feel. Finally, (and this is practicality at its best) when it comes time to wash the shirt you can unbutton the collar and pop it in with your whites to stop it going dull and grey. Have I said the word ‘genius’ yet?
Lastly, I love that even without a collar attached you have a mandarin collar that actually fits your neck rather than drape somewhere around your collarbone. Again, this is something I often struggle with so it really stands out for me.
I think its fair to say that I totally love this product. I love not only the simplicity of the idea but also how practical it is. Since these shirts landed on my doorstep I literally haven’t stopped wearing them (as you can tell from my IG account), they fit perfectly and the collar options make me think I’m wearing a new shirt every time I leave the house. It’s pretty freaking awesome.
If you need three new shirts but can only afford one, I suggest you take a look at Allen Young (Heeeeyyooo…they should make that little rhyme their slogan!) If you’re based in New York, then I think it’s worth making an appointment for a customised fitting and fabric selection to take your personalisation to the next level.
Okay. Stay fancy.