The collarless shirt comes with a confusing array of nomenclature: there’s the band collar, grandad collar, mandarin collar, standing collar, and choker collar. While these terms represent minor stylistic differences, they all refer to collars that don’t fold and can’t be worn with a tie. This style represents a unique, Eastern-inspired alternative to the traditional men’s dress shirt collar. The best collarless shirts are still formal enough to be worn at dinner or the workplace, but also speak to your more laid-back, fashion-forward aesthetic.
Before we dive into our list of the best collarless shirts available online, let’s break down the different styles. A mandarin collar is a short, unfolded stand-up collar that “…can be traced back to early 200 BC where it was a traditional feature on the gowns worn by the Mandarins in Imperial China”. In modern men’s fashion, choker collars, standing collars, and band collars are various types of mandarin collars. A grandad collar (often used synonymously with “collarless shirts”) is generally flatter with the shirt than a Mandarin collar, and this style allegedly originated in 1920s New York, when housewife Hannah Montague cut off the collars to wash separately to get more wear from the shirt. This could, in the absence of fact, be nothing more than a marketing ad’s fictional origin story. When it comes to styling grandad collars, don’t overthink it. Like with any dress shirt, the shirt’s silhouette and material determines how you wear it and what you wear it with.
So with that brief explanation out of the way, let’s take a look at the best collarless shirts available right now.
1. EVERLANE The Linen Band Collar Shirt
We love the light sage green on this understated Everlane shirt. Although it recalls mojitos, warm summer nights and the sea, it’s also a great winter shirt. You can dress up this shirt by wearing it under a jumper or blazer (thanks to the band collar), but it will have the same formality as a formal dress shirt when worn by itself. Plus, the linen fabric gives this piece the breathable nature of a T-shirt. As a result, it will help regulate your body temperature much better than traditional dress shirts.
2. COS Collarless Long-Sleeved Shirt
This is an excellent modern alternative to the office shirt. Assuming that your office attire doesn’t require wearing a tie (that would look odd on a collarless shirt), this pale blue 100% cotton shirt is a stylish segway between formality and relaxation. Worn with suit trousers and smart shoes it will have a formal gravitas that the boss will respect. The contrasting pearlescent buttons are a neat touch, too.
3. ZARA Mandarin Collar Stretch Shirt
BEST “WITH ANYTHING” SHIRT
A straight-up black shirt can be a dangerous fashion choice: you don’t want to get mistaken for a waiter. As a result, most men avoid plain black dress shirts when going out for the night. However, this upmarket, collarless dress shirt is the exception to the rule. Without the collar, there is a certain panache that you don’t get with its badly aged older brother. This slim, stretch poplin shirt by Zara might just have revived the most controversial shirt color of all time.
4. BARBOUR WHITE LABEL White Label Mile Castle Mandarin-Collar Cotton-Chambray Shirt
If you want to be comfortable without looking too informal, then you can’t do better than a cotton-chambray collarless shirt. This attractive shirt from Barbour White Label offers simplicity, style, and individuality. You can wear it open with a t-shirt or buttoned up with your favorite pair of chinos. We love the contrast white stitching that creates a border around each section, the mother-of-pearl buttons, and, of course, the Mandarin collar. While this is still classified as a collarless shirt, the chambray Mandarin collar sticks up a tiny bit, setting this Barbour shirt apart form the other options on this list.
5. FEAR OF GOD Plaid Band Collar Twill Popover Shirt
BEST FASHIONABLE PIECE
This Fear of God shirt is made in the USA. The brand veers from the otherwise ordinary plaid shirt and into something wholly more intriguing with their collarless Twill Popover Shirt. The large front pockets (a trend we’re seeing a lot of right now) and the band collar give this traditional shirt a unique personality. The shirt is made from high-quality cotton, and for that reason is dry clean only. Treat this shirt with the love and respect it deserves and keep it out the washer.
6. TOPMAN Grandad Slim Fit Stripe Button-Up Band Collar Shirt
BEST DINNER SHIRT
This shirt subverts the traditional pinstripe ‘boardroom’ style and pushes it into the 21st Century. The white grandad collar creates a striking border where a traditional collar would go. This is a wonderful piece to wear out to a special dinner or work meeting where you want to make a strong first impression. When you’re looking for a diversion from the standard shirt, TOPMAN’s signature collarless shirt is an excellent choice.
7. NN07 Justin 5154 Slim Fit Plaid Button-Up Band Collar Flannel Shirt
BEST COSY COLLARLESS
Much like the Fear Of God shirt, NN07 has taken the traditional plaid shirt in a bold new direction. This collarless shirt features an altogether more refined and natural look. Made from a combination of 89% cotton and 11% wool, this shirt is both comfortable and stylish. With its cozy flannel and informal vibe, this shirt is best served fireside with a warm beverage.
8. ASOS DESIGN Slim Fit Sateen Mandarin Collar Shirt In White
BEST AFFORDABLE STYLE
Here, the traditional mandarin collar style is on full display. There is a distinct gap between each end of the collar, giving it a look of formality compared to the full wraparound band collar. If you want to experiment with collarless shirts but are looking for something relatively inexpensive, then this shirt is perfect for you. It is what it is: a simple white shirt ideal for a variety of formal occasions. To dress it up, simply add a matching blazer and shoes.
9. RHUDE Mandarin Cotton Top
This luxurious shirt from Rhude is a real stand out among the best collarless shirts, and it would be a shame to hide it under a sweater. The large dropped pockets with their accentuated flap gives this shirt a stylish flair of its own. As a lightweight, seasonally neutral colored shirt, it has the versatility to be worn at all times of the year. However, if that means it has to be covered by a lovely cashmere overcoat or angora wool knit while outside in the harsh environs of winter, then so be it. That being said, this handsome blue shirt can stay in your fashion rotation from winter to summer.
10. AL DUCA D’AOSTA 1902 Pinstripe Band Collar Shirt
BEST INTELLECTUAL PARTY WEAR
We see this shirt going down well at a soirée, a dinner party, a sophisticated bar, a banquet or at any event a peg-above the norm. Its dark, rich blue color makes it an ideal piece for your winter wardrobe. It will look great with grey pants and smart black or brown shoes. The fuzzy pinstripe lends warmth and subtly to its aesthetic, while the collarless style gives it sophisticated charm. We’ll leave you to do the soliloquizing about crowd theory’s intersection with particle physics and its relation to a central tenet of behavioral psychology though.