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Though SS14 menswear is full of inspiring and exciting pieces, if pushed, we’d single out the Cuban collar shirt as our key style for the season.

Find out why in this week’s Menswear Diaries.

Reiss Cuban Collar 4

Reiss SS14

Last season saw the Hawaiian shirt return from the menswear wilderness thanks to sophisticated iterations of the much maligned summer mainstay. In the process it paved the way for a return to classic shirting ideal for making a statement. SS14′s answer to the Hawaiian shirt comes in the form of the Cuban collar shirt – the style which should form the backbone of your summer wardrobe.

Leonardo Di Caprio Cuban Collar

Leonardo Di Caprio in Romeo & Juliet, 1996

As its name suggest, the Cuban collar shirt began life in South America, and though stories of the shirt’s origin are conflicting, it is generally agreed that the earliest version of the style appeared in the region some time during the 18th Century and was a men’s working shirt. The formative styles share several hallmarks; a lightweight composition, pockets for storage and a straight shirt hem designed to be worn untucked.

Reiss Cuban Collar 3

Reiss SS14

Fast forward a handful of centuries and while the Cuban collar shirt may have been nipped, tucked, reinvented and revived countless times, the essence of the original design remains intact. For SS14 our design team was inspired by the shirt’s iconic appeal across the decades. Whether worn by Leonardo Di Caprio in 1996’s Romeo + Juliet or more recently by Johnny Depp in 2011’s The Rum Diary, the shirt’s insouciant appeal persists.

Johnny Depp Cuban Collar Style

Johnny Depp on set of The Rum Diary, 2011

In a range of colours, fabrications and prints, each of our Cuban collar shirts for SS14 offers its own sartorial originality. For fans of print, abstract takes on Moroccan tiling offer eye-catching style, while tactile woven textures rendered from a uniform colour offer a subtler take on the trend.

Reiss Cuban Collar

Reiss SS14

The shirt offers a pleasingly diverse variety of styling options too. For off-duty cool wear loosely with shorts, or alternatively tuck yours into a pair of straight-leg chinos. Don’t think of the Cuban collar shirt as solely the preserve of informal dressing either. There’s something undeniably appealing about letting the shirt’s collar splay gently over the lapels of a suit for a relaxed take on formal dressing that stays looking suitably sharp.

However you wear yours, it’s indisputable, the Cuban collar shirt is SS14’s definitive style.