Popover shirts are getting more and more popular lately. I like this fashion.

A popover is a bit of a polo, and a bit of a dress shirt. It has a normal collar and cuffs, usually with little soft interlining, but doesn’t open all the way down – similar to a polo. The collar makes it possible to wear a popover with a jacket, and it looks way better than a regular polo would. It’s all within this nice aesthetic of tailored casual, aimed to make tailored things like jackets look less stuffy, and the guy wearing it stick out a bit less from the people wearing plaid flannel shirts and t-shirts. Or at least make him feel like he’s sticking out less.

Well, I like it.

With a suit

Outfit one: Suit – Zaremba MTM // Pocket square – Poszetka.com // Shoes – Carlos Santos
Outfit two: Suit and belt – Massimo Dutti // Shoes – Crownhill

A suit is not really the first option here, and I would advise against it unless you really know what you’re doing. For a suit to make sense with a popover shirt, it has to be rather informal: soft shoulders, patch pockets, but first of all, informal fabric. Here it’s either flannel or cotton/linen mix. Cotton and linen will be perfect, actually, but coarse, open-weave tropical wool should do fine as well. Avoid shiny worsteds though.

This is risky though and will definitely set you apart from the plaid-flannel-shirt-wearing guys. Not that it’s necessarily bad, mind you.

In theory, you could have a popover shirt made of oxford cotton and wear it with a tie – so that could work with a suit without much problem. But what would be the point of that?

Odd jacket

Outfit one: Jacket – Suit Supply // Pocket square – Poszetka.com // Jeans – Levi’s 501 CT // Chukkas – Gant
Outfit two: Jacket – Massimo Dutti // Pocket square – Poszetka.com // Chinos – Benevento // Shoes – Partenope

Popover shirt with a soft-shouldered, patch-pocketed odd jacket is the perfect combo and this should work really well. It instantly makes the outfit more casual than if it was just a regular dress shirt. It automatically makes you forgo the tie, which brings formality down a notch. You can still accessorise – think pocket squares, lapel pins or chains, and so on – but those accessories can be more playful without worrying that they’ll be too much, as can be the case if worn with a tie that’s a bit too loud.

This is what I recommend for experimenting.

No jacket

Outfit one: Chinos – Benevento // Shoes – Chrownhill
Outfit two: Trousers – Benevento // Shoes – Carlos Santos

For an even more casual take on the popover, wear it as you would wear a polo shirt – without anything on it. This can still be a smart outfit with some wool trousers and leather shoes, because it still is a shirt, and not a t-shirt or something like that – the magic is in the collar, after all. I like wearing it tucked in, but with jeans or more casual chinos you don’t really have to.

In summary

A popover shirt is a great thing working well in completely casual outfits, as well as with smarter ones, with tailored clothing, but giving it this cool, laid-back vibe. If you like wearing tailoring, but for example don’t have to, because your workplace doesn’t have a dress code and everyone wears casual, it’s definitely worth trying out.