How To Wear Butterfly Collar Shirts

Knowing how to wear butterfly-collar shirts involves a flare for fashion. A butterfly-collar shirt is a garment that was popular in the '70s and is now considered high retro fashion. The butterfly shirt, when worn as a part of a total fashion horse ensemble, may include bell bottom pants and wrap-around shades. Famous film personalities who featured the butterfly shirt fashion include John Travolta in the movie classic "Saturday Night Fever." Michael Jackson and brothers featured the butterfly collar styling when the Jackson Five featured the pre-teen Michael as the show stopper.

To wear a butterfly collar shirt you will need:

  • period shoes
  • period pants or trousers
  • period belt
  • dash of period bling
  1. Take a research trip through vintage photographs. Butterfly shirts must be worn as an integrated part of a complete vintage outfit. The shirt looks odd thrown on with anything but vintage wear. Research through books, mags or online at vintage clothing web sites to get a feel for the complete ensemble before attempting to wear the shirt. 
  2. Put on the shirt. Make sure not to button the collar up and leave a button or two open so the chest is featured. If you like a whole lot of flash, leave the third and forth button open to feature the upper stomach area. If you're considering this, make sure you have one flat stomach. Ask an impartial observer for advise, should you decide to go with the multi-open button approach. 
  3. Select a pair of vintage pants. Knowing how to wear a butterfly-collar shirt involves putting on a pair of coordinating vintage pants. Think a slight flare at the bottom, but not a full bell bottom on each leg. It's possible to pull off a baggy straight leg on a business-type pair of pants, if your body type is suitable for this type of big bottom. Try on several pairs of pants to make sure the pant and shirt work together. This match is sensitive work. The slightest misstep and you've gone from cool to dork in a nano second. 
  4. Match a belt to the pants and shirt. The butterfly collar shirt also requires proper selection of a belt, with a large buckle, and wearing the sleeves open at the cuffs and rolled up one tuck. This adds an air of casualness. If worn with a business suit, select a smaller belt buckle and keep the cuffs buttoned at all times. Add a vintage tie to complete the business look. 
  5. Add some shoes. Once the rest of the outfit features the butterfly shoes, add some shoes. Think boxy toes. The butterfly collar is big and the shoes need to balance the look. Big heels and top-stitching are also fine choices to bring out the balance. 
  6. Add the bling for the neck. To properly wear butterfly collar shirts incorporate a bit of bling to the open neck. Select a gold or silver chain and you're ready for action.
  7. Hit the street. You've got the butterfly collar action going. Turn on the music and start walking! 
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