Shirt

You’re probably thinking you can just skip this section – afterall, you may not have worn a morning coat, waistcoat and top hat before, but shirts – dammit, you’ve worn a shirt nearly everyday of your life and don’t need lessons thank you very much…

Well, to some extent, you’re right. If you own a plain white (cotton) shirt with an attached turndown collar and (preferably) double cuffs, then this is perfectly acceptable choice and, in some instances, the best one…

David Cameron in morning dress

... though not in this one. Check out the guy from the Burton catalogue to the left to see a better interpretation...

Let’s face it though – by deciding to wear morning dress you’ve already pushed the boat out slightly, so why not push it a bit further? Hell – why not cast it off completely with you on board… You see, with morning dress, there is one particular style of shirt which really comes into its own – the winchester.

Prince Charles in a Winchester

'Winchester' is the American term for this shirt, as there exists none for it in the UK for some stupid reason. If you're interested, it is supposedly named after Oliver Winchester, the 19th Century US Gunmaker...

Winchester Shirts

Winchester shirts are distinguished a solid coloured or patterend body with contrasting white collar (always) and cuffs (not always). These kinds of shirts are traditionally the mainstay of slimy estate agents corporate city bastards (at least in the 80s anyways) and were famously the shirt of choice for Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street.

Gordon Gekko in Winchester Shirt

Gordon Gekko: visionary, philanthropist and all round good egg

Try not to let its recent pedigree deter you, however, as they are the only way of getting a coloured shirt into your outfit as wearing a shirt with matching colour (except white) is generally sniffed at, not because it’s a concrete rule, but because it looks rubbish.

John Major Royal Wedding

Avoid making a MAJOR error in shirt selection. Like John Major. (That was a joke, but this is a bad shirt)

You shouldn’t feel in anyway constrained though as the sheer variety of Winchester shirts available is huge, and, as the style seems to be enjoying a renaissance as of late, many of the classic designs are readily available for decent prices.

Here are a few of our favourites…

Blue

When it comes to shirts, the colour blue is a perennial classic and the mainstay of even the most eccentric dresser’s wardrobe. It will come as no surprise therefore, that blue winchesters are the most common. Luckily blue goes extremely well with light grey which is conveniently the most readily found colour of morning dress waistcoat.

Light blue finely striped winchester with contrasting pink tie

Light blue thin stripe with a lovely pink tie. Pink and blue is one of my favourite combinations

Solid dark blue with red tie. Classy.

Solid dark blue with red tie. Classy.

This guy's rocking the dark blue winchester look!

Granted he's in a stroller, but he's nailed the dark blue winchester look!

Horizontal stripe shirt

Blue horizontal stripe shirt - this is perhaps one for the connoisseurs only as they are very difficult to get hold of 'off the rack'. Popular about a century ago - not so much now

Pink

Aside from blue, pink is the second easiest shade of winchester to get hold off.

Pink winchester with matching cuff

Solid pink winchester

Pink winchester - again, with a stroller, but who cares?

Pink winchester - again, with a stroller, but who cares?

 Yellow

Ok, so you’re going to struggle with finding a yellow winchester, but persevere as they are a classic and can look fantastic.

A very nice shade of yellow

This is a very nice shade of yellow and would look great with a grey waistcoat

Stoller (again) with yellow shirt

Stoller (again) with yellow shirt

Other

The three colours and patterns above are by far the most common, but that isn’t to say that others don’t exists…

Green: not my cup of tea, but could look good I suppose...

Green: not my cup of tea, but could look good I suppose...

Grey with white stripe - pretty nice I think you'll agree

Grey with white stripe - pretty nice I think you'll agree

Bit of a wild red gingham - I don't think I like it

Bit of a wild red gingham - I don't think I like it

Black bengal stripe - this shirt and tie combo is very nice... very nice indeed

Black bengal stripe - this shirt and tie combo is very nice... very nice indeed

Collars

To detach or not to detach?

The purists will say that wearing a detachable collar is a pre-requisite with morning dress and that wearing a winchester with a fused collar is like wearing a pre-tied bow tie – plain wrong! In our minds, there is no question that wearing a detachable collar is an excellent look and in many ways superior to the fused collar. However, detachable collars are, in the main, impractical – they’re relatively expensive to buy new and to have laundered, fiddly to put on, and, if done badly can make morning dress look dated.

Basically, we would love it if you wore detachable collars, but if the very idea of purchasing your shirt and collars separately terrifies you and, moreover, you want to be able to wear your shirts for other purposes as well, then there is absolutely no shame in wearing shirts with fused collars.

If you’re an adventurous kind of guy, however, read on…

Collars

 

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