Nathan Strang

[Contest] "B" is for Bonobos

Filed By Nathan Strang | September 27, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Contests
Tags: Bonobos, fashion sense, Men's Pants, Polo Shirt

Brian Spaly buffabonobos2.jpgand Andy Dunn created the Bonobos clothing company in 2007 to solve a simple problem: men's pants don't fit well. Sure, you can get custom tailored pants, but you'll pay the price for the privilege. The cost of creating affordable pants means that labels have to generalize their fit, and leave you with a something Spaly calls "Kahki Diaper Butt."

Bonobos perfected their pant and as a result have soared in the industry earning respect from all over (New York Magazine awarded them "Best Men's Pants of 2009"). I could go on about the pants, tell you how many pairs I own, tell you how awesome my butt looks in them... but I wanted to talk about Bonobos next endeavor: the polo shirt. Oh yea, we're also gonna give a Bonobos Polo away to a random commenter, so jump through to see how to win.


Polo shirts have fallen into the same problem that pants have: they just don't fit well. Even Ralph Lauren has had to alter their style to accommodate the swell in popularity of the polo. And by altering their style, they alter their fit. Pull a polo off the rack at Macy's and you'll see it's essentially a box of fabric with a stiff collar for douchebags to pop. Sleeves are too long and baggy, logos are getting bigger and more obnoxious. Its a shame too, since the polo is the perfect hybrid of office and casual; Bonobos knew it was time to bring it back.


Bonobo's Better Fitting Polo shirts are made from the finest 100% pima cotton, cut to sport length and are available in navy, white, black, pink, light blue, and green. No polo is complete without an emblem, but Bonobos places their signature "B" right on the button up.

The Polos are $68 a piece, but buy them in three or six packs and get a reasonable discount. Plus, as with anything Bonobos, they offer free shipping, and have the most amazing return policy: anytime, any item, if you aren't happy, you can return it. they'll even pay the return shipping!

I bought six of their polos when they launched, three for me (Small) and three for my boyfriend (XL). I can honestly say they look and feel as great on me as they do on my furry bedfellow.

Check out and get yourself a pair, and maybe even a nice pair of corduroy pants. Use promo code "buffawhat" and get 15% off your first order... BUT if you wanted to try and win a Polo, you could just answer the simple question below:

How do you feel about popped collars, and do you commit this fashion crime?

The rules are simple:

  1. Submit a comment below, answering the above question
  2. anyone can enter, even bilerico contribs, and gals (pre-op too!)
  3. the contest will run for 3 days, and at 9:30am Eastern on September 28, 2009, the contest will end and a random winner will be chosen from the comments
  4. The winner will recieve one (1) free Bonobos Men's Polo shirt in their size and choice of color, courtesy of, shipped to their house.
  5. the winner promises to NEVER pop his/her collar

thats it!

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I loathe the popped collar so much that I've been known to scream out "put you effin collar down" at random strangers aka twinks. At one point my rant was noticed by some friends that I was rewarded with a t-shirt that reads, "now remember Billy, only retards wear their collars up." Kinda awkward since I work in mental health, but it does accurately represent my hatred of the popped collar.

popped collars go inside a contrasting-coloured flannel shirt. At least that's what we did with'em in the Catskills in the 80s... Other than that, no use for 'em.

I have rule on my class syllabus that says "no popped collars in class". It's one of the rules that I point out on the first day...

Since I work at a foundation that support LGBT rights and conservation of the great apes, this is right up my alley! Thanks for letting me know about it. Is this a gay-owned company by any chance?

I'll let Andy answer that.. here is a reply from when he was asked on a comment whether they [Bonobos] made pants for straight men:

...A few people have commented that our website can look a little gay. Maybe it’s the brightly colored pastel pants pants, the prominent display that Spaly’s butt gets on our website, the rampant literature out there in the world on bonobos penis fencing, or the special edition leopard print pants which we wear with joy.

For those who are curious, we are not gay nor are the vast majority of our customers. But we are not proud of that fact. It just is what it is. And we are thrilled with the gay customers who we have.

To be clear, we think most gay men dress better than their straight counterparts. We think gay marriage is one of the final frontiers of civil rights. We think John Rawls had a great point: design a society from the viewpoint that you could be born as any of its members. Its amazing how long it takes human beings to figure that out. We think that comfort with your sexuality is a part of the Bonobos lifestyle, regardless of your preference.

And we are proud of all the straight men out there wearing pants like the Shore Clubs and Pink Panthers who aren’t worried about any antiquated, insecure male notion that because they wear colorful pants they must be ‘gay.’

Popped collars as so "90s", I can't understand why a guy would do that.

i never did popped collars in the '80's when they first started showing up, and i'm way to old to start doing them now! never, no way, no how, uh uh.

I absolutely loathe the popped collar look. I've never sported it, and neither do any of my friends. I do live in a very rural area though, and current style takes a few years to arrive, so maybe I'll start seeing it in a year or two. God, I hope not. :-)

The only time my collar is popped is by accident, say by taking off my jacket or messenger bag. People who pop their collar intentionally commit the fashion crime of appearing like some screaming "Hey, Look at me!" instead of just looking good.

I do not, will not and would not pop my collar. I'd love to win a shirt! ::fingers crossed::

I hate popped collars. Especially the double polo poppers. Seriously, why would you do that? I also love pants that fit. I have an ass that is disproportionately large for my body and I want pants that fit, dammit!

Popped collars = clueless douche. At least the collar's partners in crime, the asymmetrical haircut and parachute pants haven't yet shown their horrible faces again.

I'm not willing to universally and absolutely reject the popped collar, because I have occasionally seen it used well. Check out La Roux's "Bulletproof" video for an example. However, instances like these are rare and best executed by those who know enough about fashion to transgress in positive ways.

Most don't fit that category. A standard polo shirt, in the casual or business casual environments where they are worn 95% of the time, should not be worn with a popped collar. For a variety of reasons, the look makes me giggle and feel sorry for the wearer. It says "I'm hot stuff" in a way that is immediately contradicted by the polo itself, which is a bastion of comfort and ease, not hot stuff fashion.

If I win, I'll wear it with the appropriate understatement it deserves.

Sweet lord, no. I try to dress to attract as little attention as possible.

"How do you feel about popped collars, and do you commit this fashion crime?"

I, perhaps unfairly, judge people who pop their collar to be pretentious and conceited. I do not recall ever doing this, purposely, myself.

I file "popped collars" under the "wait, people actually do this?" category of fashion atrocities. It looks ludicrous. It's widely ridiculed. And people do it anyways. Oy vey.

I have to ask though... what the hell is "and gals (pre-op too!)" supposed to mean? Does anyone think pre-op gals would normally consider themselves excluded from the term "gal"? Or is this some different meaning of "pre-op"?

I agree, that comment really threw me and made me wince.

I am popped collar tolerant: not my cup of tea, but I don't begrudge you for doing it.

Unless you're my age (32) or older. Then you just look like you're trying to pathetically cling to your lost youth. Though this is a more general prejudice I have about many fashion trends, not just popped collars.

Crossing my fingers for the polo!

Popped collars look stupid, BUT they can prevent a nasty sunburn on occasion. Pop the collar only if medically necessary;)

I'm with Christian -- the popped collar can, on certain superbly stylish people, be pulled off. But only by the types of people who can break just about every fashion rule in the book. For that reason, I say we institute an official declaration that popped collars are like white shoes after Labor Day and let the chips fall where they may.

Popped collars? Eek!!! Could never get into it, but there are cute young folks who can get away with it. Good for them!

Popped collars usually smell of the popper's intolerable cologne, creating a compendium of lingering repulsion. Mind you, I am not talking about "poppers" which have their own more tolerably aromatic associations.

Considering the friends and I have a game called the Popped Collar Scavenger Hunt, where we randomly snap cell/iPhone photos of douches wearing popped collars and share them, I guess I'm one of the haters.

Rodney Hoffman | September 25, 2009 3:48 PM

I completely missed out on the standard gay fashion gene. I have no idea what a popped collar is, so I don't know if I do it or not. (But I could always use a shirt!)

NEVER got into the popping the collar. EVER. If you're all about looking silly/awkward/lame and covering your neck with your shirt, just go and get some turtlenecks.

No to popped's been replaced by the "half-tuck" (tucking only the front of your shirt) as the new douche fashion statement.

Popped collars are dreadful. A certain smug vanity mixed with willful smarminess (and often too much 'hair product'). Probably boring in bed, as well -- too self-obsessed to think about the other person. The leer, the grin, the slight swagger - these all seem to come with the territory: an unfortunate lack of taste.


Only particular people can pull off the edge-of-cloth-around-the-jaws look:
Count Dracula - yes. Douchebag Fratboy - no.

I think they make the wearer look like a douche. Period.

I could hate popped collars and judge the people who wear them, but people look SO hilarious with their collar popped that the whole thing serves no other purpose than to provide me with amusement :P

I do agree with Ned C, though, sometimes turning your collar up is necessary and I don't feel bad about it then as long as there's never a "popping" motion involved. (Although I do it with my winter coat to keep from getting a frostbitten neck, not to keep off the sun - go Canada.)

Popped collars are allowed in certain, very unusual situations:

(1) If you are a Pee-Wee Herman clone, you want to jack off in the porno theater without being recognized, and you absentmindedly left your Fedora at home (you are already a sleazeball, so popping your collar can hardly do your reputation any further damage); and

(2) medical/environmental reasons, as mentioned above (blocking sun or extreme cold); and

(3) if you are jumping off a skyscraper to commit suicide, the wind on the way down could easily pop your collar --- don't worry about it, obviously you have bigger problems; and

(4) to protect your neck from the local werewolf or vampire while you just happened to be wearing a head-to-toe Union suit made out of chainmaille.

I reserve the right to add more exceptions later.

I only pop my collar under extreme weather conditions (see (2) above) --- but I would prefer to wrap a scarf around my neck, a la Isadora Duncan, and take my chances at being strangled by the roadster wheels --- an even more romantic way to die than being sucked dry by a hot, teenage vampire.

P.S. I love the name "Bonobos" --- like the jungle animal, it implies so much ubiquitous sex that it becomes totally routine and disappears into the background noise.

P.S. However, it must be pointed out that a Bonobo, the jungle kind, does not worry about whether his shirt shows off his pecs and biceps or whether his pants make his butt look hot --- in fact, the real Bonobos are probably totally unaware of fashion. In that sense, the name is a bad match for a product line intended to do exactly that.

When you're a Bonobo, getting laid is easy ... I mean, really easy.

Joseph Kowalski | September 25, 2009 10:11 PM

I never liked popped collars back in the late '80s when it seemed everyone was doing it. Now that I'm in my mid 50s, I think a popped collar would look even more ridiculous.

Sometime in the early '90s, I went out with a guy who showed up wearing a popped collar Polo shirt with those denim jeans that are ripped in strategic places. I met him at work when he was wearing a suit and thought he was kind of cute. Anyway, he really was a cute guy but all through our meal, he kept checking to make sure his collar was up all the way around. It drove me crazy. By the end of the meal, I felt like screaming at him to stop it, but instead, I ended the date and we never went out again.

It also didn't help that his favorite topic of conversation was himself.

Its not 1956 anymore! Popped collars are so 20th century...

Popped collars have a few genuine, but limited, uses:

(a) You guessed wrong on the weather, and you're
freezing your neck off.

(b) You're fashion time-tripping, e.g.
- Kool Kat. Wear with shades, high hair, perhaps a doobie in your ear, and
a James Dean pout.
- Vaguely hoody 40's Latin-style Florida nightclub owner. Worn popped, then popped down
again over lapels of linen blazer, preferably in some combo of coral and aqua.

- You're trolling to be discovered by an ad exec who uses that look because it reminds him of the late night Coney Island rough trade of his
sore-kneed youth

I only pop my collar when I'm sitting on the toilet.

well guys, if you are fashion conscious your dread of the popped collar is going to get a jolt in a year or two.

i've just returned from Europe and, yes, they are all popping their collars. i have found over the years that whatever they are doing in Italy and France especially, you'll find everyone here doing it within a year or two.

personally, i'm in the minority on these comments, i have always liked the look. at the least, it keeps the back of your neck warmer on cooler nights...

Only reason to pop the keep the sun off your neck.

I'm in! I can always use clothes since I don't like shopping (for clothes, music and books are a different story).

I'm the guy that laugh at gay boys openly on Halsted street for popped collars and front tucks.

I'm totally about a good fitting polo though!

I love you buffawhat and would never ever pop my collar, nor have I ever. I'm your number one fan buffawhat. Yesterday I stalked you at Wegmans. I was the random guy who screamed out buffawhat that night at the club. I really want those Bonobos. Can't wait to someday get them. Ever since you first wrote about them I have been dying to have them. buffawhat4ever!

Popped collars are a general turn-off... I never wear mine popped either. Whoop for a shirt!!!

I hate when my collar accidentally pops up without my knowledge.... and i would love to win a shirt :D

Wow pooping the collar can I be cool enough? I would kill to be that cool. hehehehehe

Harold Hughes | September 28, 2009 9:11 AM

Oh, no... I didn't even pop my collars in the 80s. It looks like you didn't finish getting dressed. Would love that shirt!

buffawhat already convinced me to pick up a few polos but I'd love one more!

I would nevah-evah-evah pop my collar because I'm not a douchebag. Can we also "just say no" to the polo-on-polo look? Really, wearing one at a time is enough, kids.

Popped collar, no never not even to keep the sun off my neck. I had an employee once who did and believe it or not also drapped a sweater over his shoulders. The whole office chased him outside until he came to his senses. Would love to win the Polo size large, never pink I'm told old for that.