The tie is dead: now the shirt is under threat

Unable to exit the style spotlight gracefully, the tie is determined to take the collared shirt down with it.

Red carpet favourites Kanye West, Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman, Call Me By Your Name's Timothée Chamalet and Armie Hammer and Ethan Hawke have all recently made strong cases for wearing crew neck tops beneath suits.

At New York Fashion Week collars and ties were absent from Raf Simons runway for Calvin Klein and even suit staple Boss closed with a crew neckline beneath a blinding white double-breasted suit. Ties didn't rate a mention.

So who is to blame for the shirt and tie take down?

Shirt shift

As fashion continues to flirt with androgyny and men's and women's collections are shown alongside each other, designers are determined to show cohesive collections. Crew neck tops beneath suit jackets look streamlined on men and women.

Put a woman in a tie and dated Annie Hall references will follow. Put a man and woman in matching crews and you're looking to the future Star Trek style.

Sneaking around

By now even the most amateur flaneur has sneakers sitting alongside their brogues. The problem is that when you wear white Reeboks with a suit and collared shirt, you could be mistaken for a commuter who keeps polished work shoes in the bottom drawer of his filing cabinet

When you wear sneakers with a suit and a crew neck you're immediately making it clear that you're tapping into the urban athletic trend and you're not trying to preserve precious sole leather.

The same applies to sandals and socks but you might want to leave that to Kanye for the time being.


Political moves

The sight of politicians in open collared shirts with suits is common. Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and even Scott Morrison have tried to display their common touch by ditching ties and undoing a few buttons for the cameras.

The look has lost its rebel spirit with the baton now passed to crew neck tops.

How to wear it

Just like the white cotton shirt was once the suit staple, start out with a white crew neck T-shirt.

Leave your gym T-shirts, or anything too tight in the drawer and pick a tailored fit that's not choking your neck. The neckline shouldn't be higher than your lapels.

Put some thought into the texture. Linen T-shirts work well with linen shirts, rich cotton and wool T-shirts work well with wool suits and Pima cottons match sleek suiting.

The fashion forward might want to try singlets but remember, at some point you will take your jackets off and armpits aren't always welcome in the boardroom or at the dining table.

With the resurgence of suits in soft pastels and the predicted onslaughts of neons, letting tonal dressing be you guide, like Boseman and Chalamet and match your suit with your T-shirt for a look that's both casual and contrived.