Relaxation is a curious thing: Some people find the waves of the ocean relaxing, others the flames of a Beethoven concerto, no matter what floats your proverbial ice cubes though, the primary aim of de-compressing or taking ‘time-off’ from more stressful activities, is to escape. Even if that escape is for the briefest of moments, to paraphrase a well-known philosopher, if you don’t stop to smell the roses once in a while, you could miss them. Unshackling, raising anchor, and setting sail for a holiday on the high seas (or simply the back garden), a vacation of any kind deserves the correct attire.
Cuban- or camp-collar shirts (‘bowling’ shirts and Hawaiians don’t have the same cachet but belong to the same laidback family) achieved fame in the golden era of post-war American leisurewear in the 1950s and 60s. And the clue is in the name, Cuban immigrants, namely in Florida and NYC, would turn out in their ‘guayaberas’ – silk and linen embroidered shirts with open and very unstructured collars for staying cool. An undoubtable Caribbean and Central/South American trend, staying loose anywhere below the state of Alabama was done best in a vest and Cuban collar (although you may be advised to avoid the wise guy look). Worn by icons of popular culture such as Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Nicholson, it’s the ultimate holiday shirt, you may argue. A flat-laying collar to match your low-lying demeanour.
Beginning with the One Piece Cuban Collar Shirt, of course, this is for days when the only structure you require is to know when to light the BBQ and prepare a mojito. Designed with easy weekends and long nights in mind, this summer shirt style has aged like a fine wine, never stressed and oh-so-blessed with a relaxed and unstructured one-piece collar. Cut from a super-soft and light-as-the-breeze linen, the short sleeve style has a one-piece collar, meaning it is sewn directly to the body panel of the shirt. With a boxy fit and minimal construction, you’d be hard-pressed (and please be reminded this shirt doesn’t require any pressing) to find a more relaxed summer companion. The navy and white ticking stripe tips a cool cap to workwear and heritage seersucker, but also allows to be worn with a number of garments whether it’s a lightweight jacket or Panama hat. A versatile style, this shirt works harmoniously with linen trousers and loafers. Cigar optional.
But the holiday season is wide open for you to choose any route, so why not also plump for one of our Japanese-made Open Collar Polos. Available in the ‘Waffle Knit’ in Cream, Indigo and Olive or a smoother finish in Khaki and Navy, these beautifully crafted short sleeve garments are timeless and a joy to wear with virtually any summer outfit. The collars are wide with a V-shape placket for a classic stance. Teeing off in Acapulco or driving through Turin never felt so comfortable.
There is also the new long sleeve Open Collar Polo in Atlantic Blue, Fern or the irrepressible Navy for evenings and days when you want a bit more insulation. This nonchalant piece is knitted from an extra soft pure cotton with a looped outer texture. Its mid–century silhouette can be happily tucked in or out over our Seersucker Shorts, relaxed Linen Trousers or perhaps a pair of Drawstring Trousers; ideal for embarking ‘out-of-office’ for the foreseeable. Bon voyage.
Like the much vaunted books of Ernest Hemingway, cigars from Havana or the sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club, the Cuban and open collar is a timeless style that makes life really worth living, wherever you find yourself this summer.