Cast your mind back to 1953. It is a year full of seismic historical events: the armistice that brings an end to the Korean War; Elizabeth II’s coronation; the first successful expedition to the summit of Mount Everest.
More modestly, here in Hong Kong, it just so happens to be the year when Mr. Ascot Chang opens the first store to bear his name -- a journey that continues today, in all of our stores around the globe. From a diminutive outpost on Kimberly Road, our founder outfitted gentlemen of the era in impeccable tailoring borne from the melting pot of culture that was pre-war Shanghai.
Our latest collar style, The Ascot Collar (#53), embodies this continuing commitment to classic tailoring with a contemporary perspective: were he with us today, we like to think this is the sort of shirt that Ascot himself would have created -- handsome, understated, and flattering in a variety of situations.
Despite its throwback-inspired moniker, we designed the Ascot Collar specifically to address the needs of our clients in 2022. As dress codes have loosened over the past three years, we’ve increasingly received one request from our clients:
“Can you make a collared shirt that stands up and retains its shape, without the aid of a tie?”.
The short answer -- Yes.
But let's take a deeper dive.
Traditionally, for collars that stand up while open, we've suggested clients to try our one-piece collars, such as the one shown above.
One-piece collars have always been crafted with a certain joie de vivre. Often, the collar would be cut in an aggressive shape with elongated points and exaggerated collar rolls. Perfect for a summer drive across the French Riviera, but perhaps a little excessive for everyday office wear.
Another common problem with traditional one-piece collars, is their tendency to "splay out" when worn without (or on top of) a jacket, as can be seen here on Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.
To counteract this, the only available solution is to add buttondown points on our one-piece collars, which inevitably look a touch too casual for many of our clients.
Since traditional one-piece collars were not the perfect solution, we went back to our cutting table in order to re-engineer the collar. After many different iterations, we settled on a hybrid one-piece for our final design -- The Ascot Collar (#53).
Taking inspiration from a conventional one-piece collar -- in which a continuous piece of fabric forms the under-placket, collar band and collar leaf -- our #53 utilises only a one piece collar band with a separate collar leaf. The band integrates seamlessly into the placket, providing additional support which ensures a placket that “stands up”, even without the aid of a tie or jacket.
We then sew the collar leaf (ie. the part of the collar which includes the points) to the band as a separate piece, no differently than in a regular shirt collar. This allows the collar to fold down naturally, providing a better fit at the back of the neck, while also greatly minimising the "splaying out" problem of traditional one-piece collars.
As a result, our Ascot Collar maintains a sense of subtlety, while allowing for a hint of something different: the collar is shaped in a moderate cutaway style, and while the points certainly are long enough to sit under your jacket, don’t call attention to themselves in situations which are deserving of discretion.
Because a number of the one-piece’s exaggerated details have been eschewed, the Ascot Collar can be worn between the office and off-duty with great versatility
Justin Chang, our Business Development Manager, believes the Ascot Collar is at its best with relaxed tailoring separates. In Hong Kong -- where humidity is virtually a year-round occurrence -- we highly recommend a version in cotton-linen -- great alongside your favourite hopsack sportcoat and dark wash denim.
The Ascot Collar is available for bespoke order at all of our stores worldwide, as well as in the Ready-to-Wear styles below.
This collar comes with the following specifications:
Collar Code: #53
Collar Point: 3 3/4”
Lining: Our Softest fused lining
Special thanks to @rootseateryhk for lending us their beautiful outdoor space for this photoshoot