Many men attempt to emulate the cool, effortless style of James Bond — 007.
But many of them miss the small details.
Sure, his suit looks sharp as hell. But there are reasons why, beyond extraordinarily tailoring. Such as his choice of shirt collar.
Notice how tight the tie and collar is in the photo above? The easiest way to achieve that look is by wearing a tab collar.
For this look, an extra strip of fabric (a tab) is fastened (usually by a button) between the collars and behind the tie, bringing them together and sending the tie protruding slightly outward. This creates an elegant arch, framing the tie nicely and creating some “drama” where there normally wouldn’t be any.
Let’s take a closer look:
The signature of the tab collar is roll of the collar, which perfectly frames the protruding tie. With the tabs, the tie is kept tightly in place — no matter if you’re saving the world or just slogging through your morning meetings.
This look isn’t for everyone and is certainly not trendy anymore. It’s a choice, and not a very commonly seen one these days. That’s because there are a few significant drawbacks: you can’t wear a tab collar shirt without a tie; your collar must fit rather tightly around your neck; and your tie knot must be on the smaller side.
As GQ says, tab collars are sporty and not recommended for formal occasions.
According to GQ UK, this look first gained prominence in the 1920s and was a favourite look of the Duke of Windsor. It enjoyed a revival in the ’60s, which is exactly when the first Bond movie appeared (1962).
The 2012 movie “Skyfall” was the first time Bond sported this tight look, according to GQ UK, and seems like it was Tom Ford’s homage to the early Bond days (According to Vogue UK, Ford was approached by Skyfall’s costume team to dress Bond head to toe for the film, and this tab-collar affectation was his doing.)
Daniel Craig himself seemed to be a fan of the tab collar, and even wore it in a few variations to the the world premieres of the film.
Unfortunately, Tom Ford no longer sells the tab collar shirt, so if you’re looking for the exact model you’re out of luck. Cheaper models do exist, like this Paul Fredrick shirt with a similar collar silhouette.
It seems not even the likes of the legendary Tom Ford could bring the tab collar into the 21st century. We’ll see what Bond wears in the next film, “Spectre,” due out this Fall.