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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
Aside from blue, pink is the second easiest shade of winchester to get hold off.
Ok, so you’re going to struggle with finding a yellow winchester, but persevere as they are a classic and can look fantastic.
The three colours and patterns above are by far the most common, but that isn’t to say that others don’t exists…
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…