The Cooper Collar, also known as the California collar, describes a shirt where one-piece is cut on the bias all the way from about the third shirt button, up around the collar, and back down. The effect is a collar that stands on its own, remaining perfectly parted for those jacket and odd trouser days, preferably with suede loafers and an eclectic pocket square. It became popular as as the casual collar of choice of men’s style icon Gary Cooper, which is not a bad role model.
Coming from someone with a formidable neckwear collection, going sans-tie had been a rarity for me. But upon discovering this option at MATCHVM, I think I’m hooked.
The benefits are two-fold: first, they’re rarely ready-to-wear so the difference is immediately noticeable and begs questions of “who made that!?”; second, the comfort is unparalleled when you think of the freedom to go without a tie and not have to worry about constantly adjust a collapsing collar. You know the experience: it slowly folds downward, sliding under your jacket lapel until you’re forced to find the nearest reflective surface. But those days are thankfully long gone. Now on to the process.
…the comfort is unparalleled when you think of the freedom to go without a tie and not have to worry about constantly adjust a collapsing collar.
Why Bespoke Matters
Years ago, when I got my first custom suit I was happy to get a shirt off the rack. After all, who would see it under my jacket? But over time, I realized excess material in the shirts caused bunching that affected the drape and comfort of my jacket. And that I loved all the little details that make it an experience. Hence, the need to upgrade! If you’re newer to custom shirts, then there are a few major considerations: fabric selection, options, price point and most importantly, fit! MATCHVM bridges that final frontier by offering a free shirt upfront, which helps to pin down your measurements. You just punch in a few key numbers on your own and they strike one up before finalizing your individual pattern (the bespoke experience), giving you the chance to adjust to the most minute detail before you can turn on the jets and go shirt crazy like I’m about to (I already have two shirts).
The fit is important because I wanted something that moved with me, as opposed to traditional slim fit shirts that almost fight against you. I was able to add just enough centimeters of space to reach that comfort level. The fabric choice was an easy one for me. If I’m not in solid white or blue, then it’s usually a stripe pattern. I went with the purple end-on-end stripe to inject something a bit different into my current wardrobe palette. And now I’m looking at more colors as fall creeps closer. Again, the shirt is simple: one piece collar, one button mitered cuff, some back darts, and my initials stitched into the lower left side (I’m dubbing it ‘The Standard’).
Finally, the price point. It’s competitively priced considering high end ready-to-wear brands like Thomas Pink or Paul Stuart. The range depends on the fabric you choose but nothing breaks that $200 threshold, which is usually my cap for a good shirt, not counting what I paid at Pink for my wing collar shirt for my wedding (special occasions are always the exception). Back to the style.
Now you can wear them with a tie (I may even like that look better than my usual spread collar) but the biggest draw is how refined the one-piece collar feels in even an informal setting. The one-piece collar makes elegance look easy, much like Gary Cooper.
Check out more from MATCHVM today!