The Cam Shirt

Jack Bettridge
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, May/June 2013

We call this fashion item the “Cam Shirt” for a lack of an alternative title that would succinctly and descriptively define the vogue for garments with inner cuffs and collars that contrast the pattern of the main material. But since the flamboyant character Cameron on the smash television sitcom “Modern Family” started sporting them to great effect, the name seems to work.

Not that the style came down with yesterday’s rain. The detail has been used for years at such illustrative fashion houses as Paul Stuart and Ted Baker. (Asked what the garments were called, a saleswoman at one of the latter’s retail outlets, sniffed, “We just call them shirts.”) But clearly they are not just shirts as they elicit so much more spirit than the standard button-down shirt meant as a flat background to a suit. However, the look began as a surprise detail on a plain-front shirt. You could button up the collar and cuffs and spend the day incognito until the sleeves rolled up and the tie came off after work, revealing your sartorial super power—panache—during the evening. Maybe that’s why the design team at Tommy Bahama suggested “Five O’Clock Cuffs” as an alternative moniker.

The thing is that the Cam Shirt is so well accepted now that its flamboyance no longer need hide as a furtive detail as the shirts pictured illustrate. The Ted Baker model (center) starts with a strong patterned front and then adds playfulness with an inside print that references yet another garment type (hats). Robert Graham (bottom) takes a bold, two-color check design and jazzes it up even more with not one, but two different contrasting patterns (one on the sleeve, one on the collar). And Tommy Bahama (top) turns the whole concept on its head by opposing the patterned front with plain details hidden inside.

Whatever name it goes by, we think it’s agreed the look is happening.

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