Knowledge Button-down collars became a design feature on men’s shirts at the turn of the last century, inspired by the outfits of polo players.
When they were introduced in the early 1900s, button-down shirts were marketed on the American East Coast as ‘polo shirts’. The style was inspired by shirts worn by British polo players, that had extra buttons sewn onto the collar tips to prevent them from flapping in the rider’s face during the game. At the time, shirts were generally collarless so that a separate starched collar could be washed or replaced without unnecessary tear on the rest of the garment, but the new ‘polo shirts’ were ready-made from soft Oxford cloth, featuring an un-detachable and unlined collar that fastened with buttons at each tip. These more casual shirts quickly became popular with students and for use in casual college sports.