Back from holidays last week: a fortnight in Italy, on the Ligurian riviera. Lots of swimming, delicious seafood, reading (6 novels overall) and most of all 14 days of uninterrupted Yves Klein-blue skies. Bliss.

Although the Cinque Terre aren’t particularly famous to foreign tourists and are therefore very genuinely Italian (which is why I love them so much, as opposed to fashion-boutique-ridden Capri, even though geographically that riviera has nothing whatsoever to envy the Amalfi coast), that means that the locals and the holidaymakers aren’t particularly dressed up, in fact they’ll look quite relaxed and show a lot of non-chalance in their choice of clothes. So far so good, especially since on holiday you want to feel at ease even with a basic pair of shorts and and old T-shirts. But Italians will always be Italians, so they won’t give up a certain level of attention to detail even on vacation. Sadly, the detail I’m going to talk about isn’t a good one. It’s something I’ve felt very strongly about for sometime, as it’s something not specific to Italians but to a certain type of man in general. In fact this is something I’ve seen in London for a long time and all around me, but after noticing it on my fellow Italians, I reached saturation point and thought I ought to send out a cry of alarm.

I’m talking about the collars of polo shirts popped up. Disgusting. I can barely think of a worse fashion crime that’s so widespread, from the whole UK to Italy, to the whole western world. There is no justification whatsoever for it as it looks absolutely and abysmally bad. Whatever possessed the almost entirety of straight men on both hemispheres is a mystery. Yes, because that’s something you wouldn’t see on a gay man, ever. Gay men certainly aren’t immune to fashion faux-pas, no siree, but this one specifically just won’t apply to them. And it’s a particular type of straight man that will do that, i.e. the type who will wear the above mentioned polo shirt on a pair of distressed/washed out jeans, obviously loose-fitted, almost certainly frayed at the bottom, on a pair of rather pointy medium-tan brown shoes. Basically the very “now” look of circa 1997. The polo-shirt-collar-popping seems to be their way to “update” the look, as if adding  bird shit to a stale pizza can make it taste any better. There must be some evil spirit lurking around, a sort of bad taste monster that cruelly hypnotises people and makes them commit hideous fashion blunders.

The ONE and ONLY way to wear polo shirt collars is down. DOWN. D-O-W-N. Let me say it again to avoid any misunderstanding. DOWN.

Please I urge you all out there: glue your collars to your Polo shirts if necessary but do never, ever let anybody see you with those horrendous wavy semi-rigid collars wrapping your necks as if your heads were bunches of fried chips in oily paper cones. Please. I beseech you. Do not impose such horror to us…

Whether you want to button up both buttons (which I’d advise) or keep one or two open is up to you. I won’t even explain why you shouldn’t wear it with a white T-shirt underneath, as it’s such a pot-noodle-eating geek territory that it’s not even worth discussing it here. There’s only so many fashion horrors I can deal with at a time. But a great detail to make your polo shirt look very smart is to wear it with a tie, which I often do, which will deliver immediate result with very little effort (just count the amount of compliments you’ll get. You’ll be surprised).

So there you go. It’s finally off my chest. But you all please just keep it off your necks!