A Brown Striped Shirt from Mason & Sons

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I’ve long had a penchant for two-button collars. Roger Moore wears a few in Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me, and Daniel Craig wears a couple in Casino Royale. At first I thought two buttons on a collar was gimmick, but about a decade ago I bought a shirt with a two-button collar from an Italian brand called Poggianti 1958 because it had cocktail cuffs, I soon realised how much a better a higher collar looked on me than an ordinary short collar. I quickly came to appreciate the shirt for its high collar even more than for its well-designed cocktail cuffs. It was my go-to shirt when I wanted to impress someone because the collar made me feel more powerful.

Since that shirt wore out I’ve found myself going for high one-button collars, but in my quest to wear collars that are higher and higher, I wanted another shirt with a two-button collar. I looked to Roger Moore’s example in Live and Let Die for my start. In the scenes where he breaks into Solitaire’s home and helps her escape from San Monique, he wears a brown-and-white-striped shirt with a two-button collar and square two-button cuffs from a mystery shirtmaker, not his usual shirtmaker Frank Foster.

I used Mason & Sons to copy this shirt because I wanted to improve on the previous shirt I got from them, a pink end-on-end shirt. And as Moore’s original shirt was not from my and Roger’s bespoke shirtmaker Frank Foster, I did not feel obligated to use them. While I overall prefer the style and make of a Frank Foster shirt, a Mason & Sons Special Order shirt costs less and, in this case, is inherently closer to style of the shirt I wanted to copy. It is a very high-quality shirt and a great value for the price, but it is more of a continental shirt than a British shirt.

While my pink shirt had Mr Fish and Anthony Sinclair branding, the Special Order shirts now have Mason & Sons branding. Apart from the branding, the shirt is exactly the same make as before.

This cloth that shirt is made of is not exactly the same as Roger Moore’s. David Mason found the closest cloth he could in their collection for this shirt, which is a very soft white oxford cloth with wide-spaced brown twill stripes. Moore’s shirting is a lighter cloth with the thick stripes spaced more closely than mine. I’m not sure if this shirt will be too heavy to wear in the summer, but it’s a perfect three-season cloth that is very easy to iron.

While I like the fit of the pink shirt I got from Mason & Sons, I saw room for improvement and was able to improve the fit with this shirt. For the first shirt I tried on a ready-to-wear shirt with the best body fit and made adjustments to the size of the collar, sleeve length, cuff circumferences and collar position. For my second shirt I made adjustments from my first shirt, so I already had a close starting point. The body has a slightly closer fit, and the shoulders are 1/4-inch narrower on both sides. The sleeves are the same length as before but are effectively 1/4-inch shorter because the shoulders are narrower. I’m very pleased with how the fit of this shirt turned out.

I chose the two-button cutaway collar. The collar’s points are 9 cm long, the front of the band is 4 cm high and the back of the leaf is 5 cm high. The spread is a very wide 16 cm, and I would ordinarily prefer a slightly narrower spread but this is the only two-button collar Mason & Sons offer in Special Order. A limited selection of collar designs is a limitation with made-to-measure shirts, but Mason & Sons has a very large selection. The collar is stitched 7 mm from the edge and has a fused interfacing.

The collar buttons are not perfectly stacked on top of each other but offset to make the collar easier to button. It still takes some practice in buttoning a two-button collar because with the buttons so close to each other it is difficult. I found it easier to button the bottom collar button first.

Because this collar is quite high, it needs a heftier tie to fill up the height more than it does the width. While I like the small knots of Sean Connery’s ties, this collar needs a large 1970s Roger Moore knot. Like Moore’s collar, this one has no tie space.

I especially like how a two-button collar frames my face without a tie. It stands up higher—and this one stands up well—to better frame the face than a shorter tie-less collar does. With two buttons and two buttonholes on display it’s something out of the ordinary that gives the collar a visual purpose without a tie.

I will likely be wearing this shirt without a tie most of the time. These days with tie-less being the standard, a collar that works well without a tie is especially important. While a wide cutaway collar may not be flattering to a wider face when worn with a tie, the width of the spread is less important when wearing the collar without a tie. And in this case, I think the wide cutaway helps it perform better and look neater without a tie. The points sit neatly on the shoulders and don’t collapse or hang off the shoulder.

Moore’s shirt has square two-button cuffs, but I got three-button cuffs on this shirt because Mason & Sons does not offer square two-button cuffs through Special Order. While I like how the two buttons on Moore’s cuffs reflects the two buttons on the collar, I also am a fan of three-button cuffs. Turnbull & Asser is best known for their three-button cuff, but this one is a little different. It is slightly longer and not tapered. Like the collar, the cuffs are stitched 7 mm from the edge and have a fused interfacing.

The body of this shirt has a front placket stitched 7 mm from the edge, a split yoke and rear darts. The hem is curved with a self gusset on each side. The shirt has 2.5 mm-thick shell buttons.

I’m wearing this shirt with tan cavalry twill trousers from Mason & Sons and a brown textured silk tie from Bloomingdales.

Photos by Janna Levin Spaiser

3 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, the two-button collar makes such a difference! And I would never have considered a brown stripe, or three-button barrel cuffs, but both look great here.

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