The button-down shirt is a classic piece of men’s clothing that has been a staple in fashion for nearly a century. It’s a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down, and it’s been worn by everyone from Hollywood icons like James Dean and Steve McQueen to world leaders like Winston Churchill and Barack Obama. But what is the history of this timeless garment?
The history of the button-down shirt dates back to the 19th century. In the early 1800s, men’s shirts were typically made of linen or cotton and were long-sleeved with high collars. These shirts were usually fastened with buttons down the front but did not have buttons on the collar, which would often flap in the wind.
In 1869, a New York City tailor named John E. Brooks had an idea to add buttons to the collar to keep it in place. He was inspired by the polo players he saw in England, who had buttoned their collars to keep them from flapping while riding. Brooks introduced the Button-Down collar shirt, which quickly became popular among Ivy League students in the 1920s.
The Button-Down collar shirt soon became synonymous with preppy, Ivy League style, and was a popular choice among college students and businessmen alike. In the 1950s, the shirt became even more popular thanks to Hollywood icons like James Dean and Steve McQueen, who wore the shirt in their movies. The shirt also gained widespread popularity in Japan, where it was seen as a symbol of American culture.
By the 1960s, the Button-Down collar shirt had become a staple in men’s fashion, with a variety of colors and patterns available to suit every taste. But it wasn’t just for men – women also began wearing Button-Down shirts, either as a fashion statement or for practical reasons, like wearing them while working in laboratories or medical facilities.
Today, the Button-Down shirt is still a popular choice for both men and women, and its history continues to be celebrated. Brands like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, and Gant have all become famous for their Button-Down shirts, which are made from high-quality fabrics and feature a classic, timeless design.
In conclusion, the Button-Down shirt may seem like a simple garment, but its history is surprisingly rich. From its origins as a practical solution to a common problem to its place as an iconic piece of fashion, the button-down shirt has stood the test of time and remains a beloved classic to this day.