For those keeping a keen eye trained on the menswear scene these last few seasons, (and we know you are) a certain look coming out Pitti Uomo, PROJECT, and those other incubators of advanced style may have passed across your Tumblr and given you pause. It usually involves a ridiculously well-dressed gent dashing across a plaza or street, tailored jacket caught open in the breeze, and a flash of clavicle as seen through the open placket of a… button down shirt? Collared Henley? Poplin polo? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, it’s because you’ve spotted a popover shirt in the wild—and now it’s time to bring this classic (yup, it’s been around for a while) shirting style home.
Chalk it up to good, old fashioned American ingenuity: back in the 1960s, Gant took the standard sport shirt and made a few key adjustments. Namely, they ended the button placket about even with the sternum, and thus introduced the world to the popover (since getting it on or off required, you guessed it, popping it over your head). Why mess with perfection, you ask? Well for one thing the popover hits that sartorial sweet spot between dressed up and casual. That means it works just as well under a unstructured sportcoat as it does untucked with a slim pair of cargo pants (or both, simultaneously).
Viewed through the lens of menswear’s sometimes rigid rules, the popover is a rare way to have your cake and eat it too. Or if you’re at Pitti, your pistachio gelato cone.