Tux studStuds are impossible. Shame on you if you thought I meant something naughty by that. All I meant was that a man’s dress shirt worn with studs is not an easy thing to wear.

My latest vintage buy is a dress shirt designed to wear under a tux. I bought it on Etsy in the same packaging that accompanied it on its last journey to a shirt laundry, which was clearly dated in the early 1960s.

Talk about a purchase where one thing calls for another!

Having had NO experience with men’s tuxes or formal dress shirts, I was shocked when I opened the package and discovered there were no buttons with this shirt. How could I be expected to know that? The closest contact I’ve had with a man who wears a tux is through a James Bond movie. In my family, men wear jeans to weddings (even their own)—and frankly, I’m good with that.

Once I realized that the shirt required buttons, I went on a search. Did I know that I should search for studs? I would like to say yes. Sadly, I did not. Thanks to the wide wonderful world of the web, I searched for buttons and found studs that didn’t exceed the cost of the shirt.

Like so many things in life, I seemed destined to do this the hard way. The glossy black enamel that belongs on the OUTSIDE of the shirt was the LARGER side of the stud, which made it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to slip through either stud-hole.

I managed to force the studs into the hole enamel-side-out, but when it was time to remove the shirt, I found myself trapped inside. (I wonder if Liza Minnelli ever had this problem…) I consoled myself with this thought: “At least I’ll die in a beautiful shirt.”

Only after viewing THIS video on how to wear studs did I grasp a finer point. There is a right way and a wrong way to insert studs. For me, the right way was not intuitive. Guess I should have watched the video first!

Here’s another dress shirt revelation.

The size of today’s studs and the design of a men’s formal dress shirt are NOT the same today as they were in 1960. That’s a fact, Jack—and one I would never have known if I hadn’t acquired my own vintage dress shirt.

tux 3

The leather skirt in this post was thrifted with the tags still hanging on it. The shirt is made of the yummiest cotton/poly blend you’ve ever worn. If you love vintage buttons and cuff links, you must visit Sentimental Journey Jewelry, where they make all kinds of jewelry from Victorian era buttons. My friend Lori learned about them at an art festival and suggested them to me.

What I learned on my vintage dress shirt journey

  • Studs and cufflinks became fashionable in the 1840s. Reason: starched shirts were so stiff they were difficult to button. (That begs other questions for me, not the least of which is: Yes, but that was then, and this is now, so why…?)
  • In the 1930s, pearl studs were popular because they blended with a man’s shirt better.
  • Toward the end of World War II, black enamel and onyx studs and cuff links became the style.
  • A man’s dress shirt has a button-hole tab where dress trousers can attach to the shirt to keep it in place. If you hate the feeling or sight of an untucked shirt, you can appreciate that. You might even wish we’d see that in women’s clothes. I do!

Have you written your letter to Santa yet? Get yours ready! I’ll tell you why in my next post. What are you wearing on New Year’s Eve? A man’s tuxedo shirt might be the perfect thing.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.

P.S. I’m hooking up with a whole community of fashion bloggers connected through our friendship with Patti at Not Dead Yet’s Visible Monday.

Check us out!