Can You Wear A Collar Bar with Any Collar?
Collar bars are an old fashioned accessory that require a special shirt collar. Pin collar shirts include slits that are designed specifically for the use of collar bars, however they're not as accessible as they were in their 1920s hey day. Today, you will be hard pressed to find a pin collar shirt off the rack in your usual suit store and you will more than likely be required to visit a specialised tailor to get one custom made.
Collar bars received a masterful beginning in the 1920s when they were sported by some of our most revered silver screen icons, think Fred Astaire, and more recently, Frank Sinatra. The 1920s was a transitional period for men's tailoring where society was shaking off the rigidness of the Victorian era and looking forward to the glamour and glitz of the 20th century.
The pin holed collar was a smart improvement on the detachable, stiff collar that men wore in the 1800's. The new and improved shirt collar gave room for men to sport their most detailed and glamorous dress styles. The collar bar was a signature component that elites saw as a must.
Unfortunately in the saturated landscape of men's accessories today, collar bars have lost their former significance. In turn, pin collar shirts have been replaced with the more convenience modern shirt that doesn't have holes in the collar.
The good news is, collar bars are the ancestor of a variety of modern hybrids that accommodate for modern shirt collars. Collar pins are a modern invention that look very similar to a safety in, except they're designed specifically for shirt collars. They involve a sharp pin that pierces through any shirt collar that doesn't have a hole.
Whilst you can only wear a collar bar with a pin collar shirt, the various hybrids such as collar pins and collar clips will do the trick in bridging the gap between your two collars and elevating your tie knot.
What Does a Collar Bar Do?
Collar bars were revered in the early 20th century for their masterful work in elevating tie knots off mens' chests. The desire for an elevated knot came from the belief that they added confidence and character to tailored suits. The elegant arc shape that collar bars created in ties was seen as superior to flat laying tie knots and some of our most famous silver screen icons of the 20th century used collar bars as their staples. In more modern times, the collar bar was revived by James Bond in the Hollywood sequel Spectre.
Whilst collar bars, and much less pin collars, are scarcely available on the market these days, they add powerful detail to your chosen suit. It's details that do the talking in the modern men's fashion sphere and a simple collar bar can make all the difference when it comes to scrubbing up to your most elegant proportions. The big ticket items like your suit and tie are of course incredibly important, but it's small details that will get you over the line in terms of nuanced sophistication.