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The Meaning in the Collar

The modern-day photo on the left looks like a boy. The vintage photo on the right looks like a man. You feel differently looking at these photos. Even if you can't put your finger on it, you can sense something different. I even cropped out the faces. You can feel it. The dinky collar of our current day and the overly tight fit infantilize man and make him look "less than". Look at the collar on the right. Look at its shape, the "S", look at the size. It is beautiful. Look at how it appears in proportion to the neck, the arms and the body.

This collar is grand, it is large. It isn't cartoonishly large it isn't that. It is strong. It is substantial. It isn't afraid of itself. It isn't trying to hide. It reflects man in that way. Back to the modern shirt on the left. The collar is puny, small, flat. There is no "S". Look at its proportions. Even if you are not a connoisseur of this style, even if you are not a master of the collar, even if this is all new to you - you can tell it is different.

You know you feel something different looking at these two images. It washes over you. It is so powerful you can't quite describe it, but you feel it. The photo on the right, you take it seriously. The photo on the left, you don't. The modern shirt thinks that by being tight it makes man look strong, by the head dwarfing the collar, man looks big. It is the opposite. Man then looks smaller, more boyish. The modern shirt thinks that by hugging the arms it makes man look more powerful. Again, the opposite.

It isn't that the man on the right is in better shape. You can't tell what shape he is in. The shirt doesn't reveal it. It is in all the details of the shirt. This is where the truth is to be found. And those details reflect a different spirit, a different idea of man. It is the placket, it is the pocket, it is the size of the neck, size of the collar, size of the arms, it is the button placement. It is all of that.

For modern man in the modern shirt, it is all too small. And that reveals the essence of our age. Yet we can rekindle the image of man on the right. It can be done.

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