Inward appearances

“Doesn’t matter what’s on the outside — it’s the inside that counts,” the old adage goes. A daft thing to say when it comes to attire, true, but it helps make a point: internals matter. So while “it does matter what’s on the outside — and it does matter what’s on the inside” lacks punch, it is much more sensible, particularly in the case of the collarless overshirt.

Think of the outside of the collarless overshirt as a blank slate — or, to muddle the metaphor slightly, a clean canvas for creases and marks, bumps and scrapes. This is the character-building business for which the key properties of Lancastrian cotton-drill — lightly brushed, lightweight, and deceptively hardy — were surely contrived, and which are encouraged here by a relaxed fit and wide, workwear-like dropped shoulders. Gets better with wear is another oft-recited adage, and this one, this time, is completely true.

And that, as outward appearances go, is largely it. True to trading standards, there’s no collar, and the only exterior aspect of note are the patch pockets, which double-up as slouch pockets. Hands can be shoved into them from the top or the side, in other words.

Keyhole facing of beige-grey corduroy, and a light-grey Kelly collar shirt (also seen above).

Meanwhile, on the inside of the overshirt: curved, keyhole facing of a soft and warm 11-wale, beige-grey corduroy — giving the jacket more heft and structure, and the wearer more comfort — and seams carefully taped in off-white cotton. And, on the left-hand side as worn, a small cotton-drill patch-pocket, compartmentalised for notebooks and pencils.

The slouch side-entrance of the collarless overshirt’s dual-access pockets. Worn here with beige-grey narrow trousers.

To stretch the internal-and-external theme, the overshirt, as befitting an overshirt, occupies the hinterland between inner- and outer-layers. It works well one way or the other — and, whichever way, there’s one less collar to worry about. In the shop here.