At one point during the 1930’s, nearly half of all American men reportedly wore their dress shirt collars pinned. Today, it would be surprising to find one man in a hundred so appointed. Some men find the pinned collar fussy: most men are simply intimidated by its obligatory rigging. \Considered by many shirt savants to be the pinnacle of collared carriage, this is not neck trapping to hide behind. Unlike the cutaway or button-down, the pinned collar’s stylishness rises or falls in relation to the skill of its execution. Wearing it with panache demands a little practice, some manual dexterity, and a bit of patience.
Functioning much like the tab, the pinned collar raised the tie knot up on the neck, shortening the long neck. The straight points verticality work to counterpoint the rounded or oval contoured head or chin. Back in their heyday in the thirties, straight-point collars were finished at between 3 inches and 3 ½ inches long, making them natural candidates for pinning up. The most common apparatus was a plain gold safety pin: next was a sort of spring-loaded slide mechanism; while the aficionado used a bar with shaped ends that unscrewed to fit through specially made collar eyelets. The next step in such collar accoutrement was to acquire one decorated with a sporting motif such as a golf club, polo mallet, or riding crop.
Following the same principle of stylish neck rigging, the pinned club collar transports one quietly out of the ordinary. Fastening snugly beneath the tie knot, the rounded collar elevates the wearer’s collar heights, and its softer, rounder outline harmonizes particularly well with the square or angular jawline. With no points to curl up, bend over, or go askew, the rounded pin collar remains trim and tidy throughout the day. Artist, writer and well-known New York toff Richard Merkin pins his collar to perfection.