- Appear professional without old-school, stiff professionalism of collars
- 4-way stretch, innovative shoulder design, and silky plush hand feel for unparalleled mobility and comfort
- 2 years of design work, 10 iterations and 20 testers before initial release
Banded Collar Shirt v2.0
That "Oooh" Feeling
We went through hundreds of fabrics until we found one so comfortable you get that "ooooh" feeling.
The Perfect Drape
Thick enough, with the right blend to fall perfectly over your body. None of that crinkly nonsense.
Our innovative shoulder design and 4-way stretch give you the freedom so many shirts take away.
Full Introduction Video
The banded collar shirt originated with Alan, while working on his previous startup, realizing that he wore banded collared shirts a lot. Between the WeWork neighbors, meeting with investors, speaking at conferences, and coordinating with engineers, he could find himself surrounded by suits, sweats, yoga pants, or business casual on the same day. Banded collars were uniquely suited to flexing between these different environments, allowing for a put together, professional aesthetic that still wasn't semiotically burdened by the old-school stuffiness of a regular collared shirt.
The first two prototypes were made by a friend of ours who is a costume designer, and then we made alterations and got a sourcing partner on board. We created the v1.0 banded collar shirt and got it into the hands of users, then had in depth conversations with each about design improvements and ideas. Here are the main revisions based on the user feedback:
User-Driven Design Updates
- Fabric: The fabric of our first samples wrinkled too easily and didn't have the lush handfeel we were looking for. After a lot of searching, we found a 65% cotton, 30% poly, 5% stretch fabric blend that retained most of the handfeel of cotton, while still gaining technical benefits from the synthetic fibers (reduced wrinkling, quick drying, 4 way stretch)
- Fit: In addition to the forward rotation of the shoulder that was in the banded collar shirt v1.0, we decreased the curvature of the armhole, which reduces the pulling across the back when lifting the arms forward (by way of example, to make it more comfortable for a tester who wanted more space in the back when riding a motorcycle).
- Color: We originally were only going to make a blue chambray color, but we have added black chambray-- it just turns out people really like black shirts.
- Miscellaneous: There were a number of smaller changes (like slightly changing the thickness of the interfacing in the front placket), but those were the main ones.
We were looking for a very specific fabric: 1) incredibly soft to the touch for all-day wear, 2) stretchy, breathable, and sweat-wicking, and 3) able to be dressed up or down for a variety of situations.
After reviewing over a hundred fabrics, we finally found this fabric, which we're now calling Cotton Plus.
- Specs: Medium-light weight 65% cotton, 30% polyester, 5% spandex chambray.
- Buttery Handfeel: By keeping the blend primarily cotton we get a superior handfeel that can only be achieved with a predominantly natural fiber blend. Seriously, it feels good.
- Breathability: 65% cotton is enough to maintain most of the breathability of a natural fabric, preventing that overly technical "plastic shirt" feeling of tech-fabrics from companies that *cough* won't *cough cough* be named.
- Quick-Dry: Cotton is absorbent and holds on to liquid, while polyester does not absorb liquid at all and only adsorbs (pulls fluid across it's surface). By adding polyester into the fabric blend, we have reduced it's overall propensity to hold onto fluids, making it more quick-drying than a pure cotton fabric.
- Reduced Wrinkling: Cotton fibers are essentially tubes of crumpled cellulose, which is why 100% cotton fibers are extremely prone to wrinkling. Polyester fibers are functionally long cylinders of bendy plastic, so the presence of polyester in the blend reduces it's overall propensity to wrinkle and hold creases.
- 4-Way Stretch: 5% Spandex in the blend is enough to give it a lot of flexibility which significantly increases the range of comfortable mobility.
- Visual Texture: Chambray is a weave fabric with a dyed yarn for the warp and a white yarn for the weft. This creates a visual texture that contributes for the "flexible formality" of the shirt -- preventing it from looking too "dress-shirt-ey."
- Banded Collar: Collar is tapered to the front (frames the face more naturally), with a low front neck drop and and inward slant to the neck opening (i.e. it is actually a section of a slight cone rather than a cylinder). This helps assure that the collar falls sleekly against the neck.
- Enhanced Mobility: Double wide plackets in the back allow for additional mobility in the arms while maintaining a slim cut, adding to the mobility allowed by the shoulder adjustments mentioned before.
- Two-Option Cuff Plackets: Deep forearm plackets with two sets of buttons allow optionality in the armhole width when rolling up the sleeves. On an average arm, this means that it can naturally be rolled up either below or above the elbow (whatever the situation requires).
- Shirt Length: The length of the shirt is designed to be equally comfortable tucked in or untucked (whatever the situation or user preference calls for)
- Easy Care: It was important to us from the beginning to make sure this shirt was machine washable, because you're presumably looking for a shirt not a new pet top take care of. Hang-drying the shirt is ideal for optimal results, but, (if we're being honest here) throwing it in the dryer on tumble dry low isn't going to kill it either (might cause slight shrinkage).
Measurements are listed below, but here is a bit more of a common-sense explanation of how to think about sizing the BCS v2.0.
Our sizes run regular until they go through a warm wash / tumble dry cycle, in which they’ll come out on the slim side. If you want to keep it a regular fit, hang dry. If you want it a bit slim, run it through a warm or hot wash / tumble dry cycle.
If you’re not in between sizes:
Let’s say you’re almost always a medium. Get the medium. You’ll do great.
If you’re in between sizes:
Let’s say you’re on the bigger side of medium, then the large could probably fit you without being super boxy -- and bear in mind that, while we give a “hang dry” recommendation on the tag, running it through a dryer will shrink it a bit and won’t ruin it like a wool shirt or something (I’m a smallish medium and I actually prefer to run these through a dryer).
But, that’s just one option. If you’re on the bigger side of medium, and you get a medium, you’ll still probably be quite comfortable because our Cotton Plus fabric has a good helping of 4-way stretch.
This means an in-between-sizer actually has a bit more optionality on the fit. You can take the smaller size (the 4-way stretch has a lot of give) or the bigger size (it won’t be boxy “borrowed dad’s shirt” looking because it’s on the slimmer side of that size).
The choice is yours. Godspeed.
Solving the Millenial Workwear Problem
"The problem that the chambray banded collar shirt solved for me was a semiotic problem faced by a lot of millennials. Our work lives are entirely unlike those of previous generations. It feels out of place to wear collared shirts and pants because we are semiotically attaching ourselves to a group that experienced a totally different form of career. We are not spending our lives building up 401ks in single institution corporate careers. We are the most likely generation to switch jobs, tend to take early career risk in startups that provide low salaries in exchange for the option like exposure to potential payouts from future exits and we work side hustles to augment income based on the ease of creating small scale businesses with the growth of ecommerce (Etsy, Shopify, etc.) and the availability of flexible hours through the gig economy (Uber, Lyft, etc.). We often work remote, engage in multiple projects simultaneously, and have a much higher degree of self-direction in our careers."
To read the rest of the essay, click here.
/r/MeritStore Product Discussion