Are collars and collar companies the ultimate smart-casual hack? The ultimate smart casual hack for shirts?

The comfort-dress-hybrid industry has been around forever as the work-career fashion and smart-casual categories continue to shift and change.

Recently, it seems to have really blown up – and the product isn’t great. Often, hybrid clothing doesn’t fit well enough, or isn’t actually that comfortable.

Collars & Co. are hoping to change the game with their stretch polo shirts, which come with a real dress collar so that you can wear it for more occasions. This effectively simplifies your wardrobe and minimises the number of trips to the dry cleaners.

The new brand has already received some media attention, with Forbes magazine claiming that Collars & Co. will change the world of men’s shirts. However, are these accolades justified? As good as the concept is, how well is it being executed?

For a few weeks, I wore a Collars & Co shirt in every situation you can think of and I report my findings here.

The bottom line
With its well-constructed collar and comfortable, performance-focused fit, I can safely say that Collars & Co. succeeded in delivering on their prime directive. Offering a shirt design that looks like a dress button under a jumper or jacket and tie, but is more comfortable and accessible.

In addition, with some experience wearing this new style of shirt, I have found other ways to expand its adaptability. Read on to find out more

About the brand: Collars & Co. is filling a gap in the market

Collars & Co. was founded in 2022 by Justin Baer because he hated wearing dress shirts under jumpers. As he explains in his now popular 2021 TikTok video, dress shirts scratch easily and the long sleeves make them hot to wear. He makes a good point.

Dress shirts are designed to look formal, not to provide performance or comfort.

He decided to create the ‘Dress Collar Polo’, which is essentially like a golf shirt with an English spread collar. It has four-way stretch, breathability, moisture wicking and short sleeves. In addition, the dress collar is equipped with a built-in collar fastening.

Under the merino jumper, no one will know you’re wearing a lightweight polo shirt.

Collars & Co.’s basic goal was to take the most important and versatile staple of men’s workplace style, the formal shirt/sweater combo, and make it more practical and adaptable.

Eventually, Bell’s video went viral and Collars & Co. became the much talked about newcomer it is today. They currently have a range of different collared shirts, jumpers and linen shirts with or without collars.


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