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Casual yet stylish or ugly and dated? The opinions on the button down collar are many, but we think think this piece of shirting history has a place in your wardrobe.

In 19th century England, horse polo players were required to wear shirts with collar flaps during the games. To avoid being distracted by the collar flapping around when riding, their collars tips were secured with small buttons.

In 1896, the great shirtmaker John Brooks (of Brooks Brothers), took the idea of the button down collar with him across the atlantic and began putting it on the company's shirts. The collar became very popular and has endured to this day as the ultimate casual shirt collar.

You can use the button down for both relaxed occasions and business, but avoid it when required to be more formal. Traditionally, a soft oxford fabric is used with the button down collar. A subtle tie easily fits under it and gives it more body.

We also recommend our modern version of the button down, with greater spread and slightly lower profile. It looks fantastic with checked or patterned fabrics.

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