Collar (clothing)

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William Shakespeare in a sheer linen collar of the early 17th century, a direct ancestor of the modern shirt collar. Shakespeare.jpg
William Shakespeare in a sheer linen collar of the early 17th century, a direct ancestor of the modern shirt collar.

In clothing, a collar is the part of a shirt, dress, coat or blouse that fastens around or frames the neck. Among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as revers and lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or cut part of the same piece of fabric used for the main body of the garment.


A collar may be permanently attached to the main body of the garment (e.g. by stitching) or detachable.

Word usage

The Oxford English Dictionary traces collar in its modern meaning to c. 1300, when collars served as neck-protecting armour. [1]


Today's shirt collars descend from the rectangular band of linen around the neck of 16th century shirts. Separate ruffs exist alongside attached ruffled collars from the mid-16th century, usually to allow starching and other fine finishing,[ citation needed ] or to make collar-laundering easier. [2]

During the medieval period and sporadically thereafter, people wore ornamental collars as a form of jewelry.



Collars can be categorized as:

Collars may also be stiffened, traditionally with starch; modern wash-and-wear shirt collars may be stiffened with interfacing or may include metal or plastic collar stays. Shirt collars which are not starched are described as soft collars. The shape of collars is also controlled by the shape of the neckline to which they are attached. Most collars are fitted to a jewel neck, a neckline sitting at the base of the neck all around; if the garment opens down the front, the top edges may be folded back to form lapels and a V-shaped opening, and the cut of the collar will be adjusted accordingly.

Collar styles

Names for specific styles of collars vary with the vagaries of fashion. In the 1930s and 1940s, especially, historical styles were adapted by fashion designers; thus, the Victorian bertha collar — a cape-like collar fitted to a low scooping neckline — was adapted in the 1940s but generally attached to a V-neckline.

Some specific styles of collars include:

TypeOther namesImageInformation
Ascot collarstock collarA very tall standing collar with the points turned up over the chin, to be worn with an Ascot tie.
Albany collarA standard turndown cutaway collar, worn predominantly in the early 20th century.
Band Grandad collar Japanese-market -pointerbrand wool band-collar jacket (9598148489) (cropped).jpg A collar with a small standing band, usually buttoned, in the style worn with detachable collars.
Barrymore collarA turnover shirt collar with long points, as worn by the actor John Barrymore. The style reappeared in the 1970s; particularly during that time it was often known as a "tapered collar," and could accompany fashionable wide four-in-hand neckties on dress shirts.
Bertha collar Portrait of Hannah Fry (by Andrew Geddes).jpg A wide, flat, round collar, often of lace or sheer fabric, worn with a low neckline in the Victorian era and resurrected in the 1940s.
Buster Brown collar A wide, flat, round collar, sometimes with a ruffle, usually worn with a floppy bow tie, characteristic of boys' shirts from c. 1880–1920.
Butterfly collarThe same as the wing collar, but with rounded tips. Popularised by fictional detective Hercule Poirot.
Button-down collar Collar.agr.jpg A collar with buttonholes on the points to fasten them to the body of the shirt.
Camp collarconvertible collar, notched collarA one-piece collar that lies flat, part of the shirt also lies flat to create a notch.
Cape collarA collar fashioned like a cape and hanging over the shoulders.
Chelsea collarA woman's collar for a low V-neckline, with a stand and long points, popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
Clerical collar FrJonathanMorris.jpg A band collar worn as part of clerical clothing.
Convertible collarA collar designed to be worn with the neck button either fastened or unfastened.
Cossack collarA high standing collar opening to one side and frequently trimmed with embroidery; popular under the influence of the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago.
Detachable collar false-collar Grafton starched-stiff detachable wing collar.jpg A collar made as a separate accessory to be worn with a band-collared shirt. (Currently worn styles are turndown, tab, and dog collars; as well as historical styles such as Imperial or Gladstone.)
Double Round CollarA turn down collar with rounded tips.
Edwardian CollarA high stiff collar such as the Canadian hockey commentator/celebrity Don Cherry wears. The opposite of slovenly, but not actually formal.
Eton collarA wide stiff buttoned collar forming part of the uniform of Eton College starting in the late 19th century.
Falling bandA collar with rectangular points falling over the chest, worn in the 17th century and remaining part of Anglican clerical clothing into the 19th century.
Fichu collarA collar styled like an 18th-century fichu, a large neckerchief folded into a triangular shape and worn with the point in the back and the front corners tied over the breast.
Gladstone collar Major-General The Hon. James MacDonald.jpg A standing collar with the points pressed to stick out horizontally at the side-fronts, worn with a scarf or ascot; popularized by the British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.
High neck collar Mary-Margaret-Bartelme-Bain.jpeg A collar that covers all or most of the neck, popular among women in Edwardian times.
HRH collar Stand-up turned-down collar HRH collar.jpg A shirt collar created [3] by Charvet for Edward VII, which became very popular [4] at the end of the 19th century.
Imperial/Poke collarA stiff standing collar for men's formal wear, differentiated from other tall styles by the lack of tabs at the front.
Italian collarA collar on men's shirts in which the upper collar is part of the shirt facing and the undercollar is a separate piece. [5]
Jabot collar Jabot.svg A standing collar with a pleated, ruffled, or lace-trimmed frill down the front.
Johnny collarA style with an open, short V-neck and a flat, often knit collar.
Kent collar Thomas Geiger.jpg One of the most frequent contemporary collar styles.
Lacoste collarthe un-starched, flat, protruding collar of a tennis shirt, invented by René Lacoste.
Long point collarStraight point collar, Forward point collar, Narrow point collar Long Point Collar.jpg A collar with long pointy edges. Usually worn with a suit and a tie, because otherwise the extra long collar points can look odd. It's considered a conservative type of collar.
Mandarin Cadet collar, Chinese collar ACU2004-06-14.jpg A small standing collar, open at the front, based on traditional Manchu or Mongol-influenced Asian garments.
Man-tailored collarA woman's shirt collar made like a man's shirt collar with a stand and stiffened or buttoned-down points.
Mao collar Mao Zedong sitting.jpg A short, almost straight standing collar folded over, with the points extending only to the base of the band, characteristic of the Mao suit.
Masonic collar [6] Masonic collar blue Lodge.jpg A detachable collar made of fabric or chains that is worn by Freemasons of high rank or office. It signifies which office they hold. A jewel is attached to the bottom of the collar further defining the Brothers rank and office. Also see photo of NSW & ACT Grand Master wearing his collar. [6]
Medici collar MariadeMedici06 (cropped).jpg A flared, fan-shaped collar standing high behind the head, often of lace, in the style seen in portraits of Marie de' Medici. [7]
Middy collar Sailor-fuku for summer.jpg A sailor collar (from midshipman ), popular for women's and children's clothing in the early 20th century.
MockmockneckA knitted collar similar to a turtleneck, but without a turnover.
Napoleonic collarSo called because of its association with Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte's military uniforms. A turnover collar, fairly rigid in construction and open at the front, it is similar to a Nehru collar, but it rises much higher and is generally shaped to frame the wearer's neck and lower head; this was a design feature that William Belew incorporated into Elvis Presley's "stage uniforms" in his later years.
Nehru collar NehruY.gif A small standing collar, meeting at the front, based on traditional Indian garments, popular in the 1960s with the Nehru jacket.
Notched collar Mitchells-plain-schoolkids.jpg A wing-shaped collar with a triangular notch in it, with the lapels (when on blazers and jackets) of a garment at the seam where collar and lapels. Often seen in blazers and blouses with business suits. Also, rounded notched collars appear in many forms of pajamas and nurses uniforms. [8]
Peter Pan collar Peter Pan collar.jpg A flat, round-cornered collar, named after the collar of the costume worn in 1905 by actress Maude Adams in her role as Peter Pan, and particularly associated with little girls' dresses. [9]
Piccadilly collarA wing collar made of plastic or celluloid.
Pierrot collar Jean-Antoine Watteau - Pierrot, dit autrefois Gilles.jpg A round, flat, limp collar based on the costume worn by the Commedia dell'Arte character Pierrot.
Poet collar George Gordon Byron2.jpg A soft shirt collar, often with long points, worn by Romantic poets such as Lord Byron, or a 1970s style reminiscent of this.
Popped collarA style of wearing a collar unfolded and high against the neck, made popular in the early 1980s with Polo shirts. Saw a resurgence in the 2000s with bro culture.
Pussy bow A collar tied in a large bow under the wearer's chin. Particularly associated with Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. [10]
Rabat Jubelportret van pastoor VAN HAESENDONCK by Jozef Janssens de Varebeke.jpg Clerical Collar worn in the Catholic Church for hundreds of years, the Rabat does not equal the ordinary bands of a judge.
Revere collarA flat V-shaped collar often found on blouses.
Rolled collarAny collar that is softly rolled where it folds down from the stand, as opposed to a collar with a pressed crease at the fold.
Round collarAny collar with rounded points.
Ruff collar Detail Molenaer Making music ruffcrop.jpg A high standing pleated collar popular in the renaissance period made of starched linen or lace, or a similar fashion popular late seventeenth century and again in the early nineteenth century. They were also known as "millstone collars" after their shape. [11]
Sailor collar Sailor collar.jpg A collar with a deep V-neck in front, no stand, and a square back, based on traditional sailor's uniforms.
Shawl collarA round collar for a V-neckline that is extended to form lapels, often used on cardigan sweaters, dinner jackets and women's blouses.
Spread collarcut away collar Arnaud Rousseau Dress Shirt with a Modern Spread Collar.jpg A shirt collar with a wide spread between the points, which can accommodate a bulky necktie knot.
Tab collarA shirt collar with a small tab that fastens the points together underneath the knot of the necktie.
Tunic collarA shirt collar with only a short (1 cm) standing band around the neck, with holes to fasten a detachable collar using shirt studs.
Tunisian collarA "T" shaped collar with a vertical button placket going up to mid-chest. This type of collar is believed to originate from the Jebba, a Tunisian Folk costume. This type of collar is currently in use for modern shirts and pulls. Also the Jebba is still worn in Tunisia as a ceremonial traditional costume.
Turned-Down Collar Follet nov 1839 cropped.jpg A folded collar pointing down, as opposed to a turned-up collar, such as a Wing collar; created by Charvet. [12]
Upturned collar Elvis Presley 1970-2.jpg An otherwise flat, protruding collar of either a shirt (especially a tennis shirt), jacket, or coat that has been turned upward, either for sport use, warmth, or as either a "fashion signal" or a perceived status symbol.

Elvis Presley favored this collar style, especially in the earliest years of his career, because he believed his neck looked too long; he had, in turn, been inspired by Billy "Mr. B" Eckstine, who had designed and patented a high roll collar that formed a "B" over a double Windsor-knotted necktie.

Van Dykevandyke collar Sir Anthony Van Dyck - Charles I (1600-49) - Google Art Project.jpg A large collar with deep points standing high on the neck and falling onto the shoulders, usually trimmed with lace or reticella, worn in the second quarter of the 17th century, as seen in portraits by Anthony van Dyck.

The vandyke collar was also popular in the United States in the 1880s. [13]

Windsor collarFor a cutaway collar: a dress-shirt collar that is slightly stiff, with a wide spread (space between the points) to accommodate a Windsor knot tie, popularized in the 1930s; for a wing collar, a standard wing collar.
Wing collarwingtip collar PajaEsmoquinII.JPG A small standing collar with the points pressed to stick out horizontally, resembling "wings," worn with men's evening dress (white tie or black tie); a descendant of Gladstone collar. Used by barristers in the UK, Canada and India.
WingwhiskA stiffened half-circle collar with a tall stand, worn in the early 17th century.
Y-collarSimilar to a Johnny collar, only with one or two buttons at the bottom of the V-neck line, creating a "Y" shape.
Zero collar M1503-4.jpg Neckline of shirt without band and collar.


Conventions on fastening the buttons on a collar differ globally. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the top button is virtually always left unbuttoned, unless one is wearing a necktie, but unbuttoning two or more buttons is seen as overly casual. By contrast, in Slavic countries, including at least Poland, and Ukraine, the top button is buttoned even in the absence of a tie.

Extended meanings

From the contrast between the starched white shirt collars worn by businessmen in the early 20th century and the blue chambray workshirts worn by laborers comes the use of collar colors in job designation, the "workforce colorwheel". Examples are blue-collar , pink-collar and white-collar .

See also

Related Research Articles

Shirt Garment for the upper body

A shirt is a cloth garment for the upper body.

Waistcoat Garment for the upper body, usually sleeveless, extending to near the waist

A waistcoat in BrE, or vest in AmE, is a sleeveless upper-body garment. It is usually worn over a dress shirt and necktie and below a coat as a part of most men's formal wear. It is also sported as the third piece in the traditional three-piece male suit. Any given vest can be simple or ornate, or for leisure or luxury. Historically, the vest can be worn either in the place of or underneath a larger coat dependent upon the weather, wearer, and setting.

Suit Western business attire of matching jacket and trousers

A suit is a set of men's or women's clothes comprising a suit jacket, or coat, and trousers. When of identical textile, and worn with a collared dress shirt, necktie, and dress shoes, it was traditionally considered informal wear in Western dress codes. The lounge suit originated in 19th-century Britain as more casual wear alternative for sportswear and British country clothing. After replacing the black frock coat in the early 20th century as regular daywear, a sober one-coloured suit became known as a lounge suit. A darker, understated lounge suit for professional occasions became known as a business suit.

Blouse Womens garment for the upper body

A blouse is a loose-fitting upper garment that was worn by workmen, peasants, artists, women, and children. It is typically gathered at the waist or hips so that it hangs loosely ("blouses") over the wearer's body. Today, the word most commonly refers to a girl's or woman's dress shirt. It can also refer to a man's shirt if it is a loose-fitting style, though it rarely is. Traditionally, the term has been used to refer to a shirt which blouses out or has an unmistakably feminine appearance.

1860s in Western fashion Costume and fashion of the 1860s

1860s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by extremely full-skirted women's fashions relying on crinolines and hoops and the emergence of "alternative fashions" under the influence of the Artistic Dress movement.

1870s in Western fashion Costume and fashion of the 1870s

1870s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by a gradual return to a narrow silhouette after the full-skirted fashions of the 1850s and 1860s.


Cufflinks are items of jewelry that are used to secure the cuffs of dress shirts. Cufflinks can be manufactured from a variety of different materials, such as glass, stone, leather, metal, precious metal or combinations of these. Securing of the cufflinks is usually achieved via toggles or reverses based on the design of the front section, which can be folded into position. There are also variants with chains or a rigid, bent rear section. The front sections of the cufflinks can be decorated with gemstones, inlays, inset material or enamel and designed in two or three-dimensional forms.

Bodice Article of clothing or portion thereof for women and girls

A bodice is an article of clothing for women and girls, covering the torso from the neck to the waist. The term typically refers to a specific type of upper garment common in Europe during the 16th to the 18th century, or to the upper portion of a modern dress to distinguish it from the skirt and sleeves. The name bodice comes from an older garment called a pair of bodies.

Clerical clothing is non-liturgical clothing worn exclusively by clergy. It is distinct from vestments in that it is not reserved specifically for services. Practices vary: is sometimes worn under vestments, and sometimes as the everyday clothing or street wear of a priest, minister, or other clergy member. In some cases, it can be similar or identical to the habit of a monk or nun.

Dress shirt

A dress shirt, button shirt, button-front, button-front shirt, or button-up shirt is a garment with a collar and a full-length opening at the front, which is fastened using buttons or shirt studs. A button-down or button-down shirt is a dress shirt which has a button-down collar – a collar having the ends fastened to the shirt with buttons.

Ruff (clothing) Tightly gathered collar set into formal or informal pleats

A ruff is an item of clothing worn in Western, Central, and Northern Europe from the mid-16th century to the mid-17th century. The round and flat variation is often called a millstone collar after its resemblance to millstones for grinding grain.

1850s in Western fashion Costume and fashion of the 1850s

1850s fashion in Western and Western-influenced clothing is characterized by an increase in the width of women's skirts supported by crinolines or hoops, the mass production of sewing machines, and the beginnings of dress reform. Masculine styles began to originate more in London, while female fashions originated almost exclusively in Paris.


Buttonholes are reinforced holes in fabric that buttons pass through, allowing one piece of fabric to be secured to another. The raw edges of a buttonhole are usually finished with stitching. This may be done either by hand or by a sewing machine. Some forms of button, such as a frog, use a loop of cloth or rope instead of a buttonhole. Buttonholes can also refer to flowers worn in the lapel buttonhole of a coat or jacket, which are referred to simply as "buttonholes" or boutonnières.

Mandarin collar Clothing of neck article

A mandarin collar, standing collar, band collar or choker collar is a short unfolded stand-up collar style on a shirt or jacket. The style derives its Western name from the mandarin bureaucrats in Qing-era China that employed it as part of their uniform.

1750–1775 in Western fashion Clothing in Europe and areas under its influence from 1750-1775

Fashion in the years 1750–1775 in European countries and the colonial Americas was characterised by greater abundance, elaboration and intricacy in clothing designs, loved by the Rococo artistic trends of the period. The French and English styles of fashion were very different from one another. French style was defined by elaborate court dress, colourful and rich in decoration, worn by such iconic fashion figures as Marie Antoinette.


A placket is an opening in the upper part of trousers or skirts, or at the neck or sleeve of a garment. Plackets are almost always used to allow clothing to be put on or removed easily, but are sometimes used purely as a design element. Modern plackets often contain fabric facings or attached bands to surround and reinforce fasteners such as buttons, snaps, or zippers.


Lapels are the folded flaps of cloth on the front of a jacket or coat and are most commonly found on formal clothing and suit jackets. Usually they are formed by folding over the front edges of the jacket or coat and sewing them to the collar, an extra piece of fabric around the back of the neck.

Neckline Shape or style of a garment at the neck especially from the front view

The neckline is the top edge of a garment that surrounds the neck, especially from the front view. Neckline also refers to the overall line between all the layers of clothing and the neck and shoulders of a person, ignoring the unseen undergarments.

Collar stay

A collar stay, collar stick, collar tab, collar stiffener, or collar stiff is a shirt accessory consisting of a smooth strip of rigid material, rounded at one end and pointed at the other, inserted into specially made pockets on the underside of a shirt collar to stabilize the collar's points. The stays ensure that the collar lies flat against the collarbone, looking crisp and remaining in the correct place.

A back closure is a means for fastening a garment at the rear, such as with a zipper, hooks-and-eyes or buttons. Back closures were once common on Western female clothing, but have recently become less so, especially on female casual and business attire. They continue, however, to be widely used in underwear, formal wear and specialized clothing. Back closures are also common in garments for infants and toddlers.


  1. Harper, Douglas. "collar". Online Etymology Dictionary .
  2. Compare: Skipper, H. R. (1928). "6: Outfitting: Collars Past and Present". In Bridgland, A. S. (ed.). The Modern Tailor Outfitter and Clothier. 3. Read Books Ltd (published 2013). p. vi. ISBN   9781447497967. Archived from the original on 2019-12-21. Retrieved 2018-01-08. It is claimed by America that one of her citizens, a Mrs. Hannah Lord Montague, in the course of her domestic duties a hundred years ago, observed that collars (which in those days were part of the shirt) soiled much more quickly than the rest of the garment. She conceived the idea of making a collar which could be detached from the shirt and washed separately. Whether the detachable collar originated in America or not, the collar industry in England seems to have come into being in 1840, more or less about the same time as it did in America.
  3. "Try our "98'Curzons!" A few fashion hints for men". Otago Witness. November 3, 1898. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved 2010-01-26. It was actually the Prince of Wales who introduced this shape. He got them originally about eight years ago from a manufacturer called Charvet, in Paris.
  4. Levitt, Sarah (1991). Fashion in photographs 1880–1900. London: Batsford. p. 81. ISBN   0-7134-6120-9.
  5. Lappin, Peter (August 2020). "Patterns of the Past: Exploring the Early 1960s Italian Collar Shirt". Threads.
  6. 1 2 "Freemasons NSW & ACT – The Grand Master". Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  7. Cumming, Valerie (2010). The dictionary of fashion history. Oxford New York: Berg. p. 130. ISBN   9781847885333.
  8. "- Define at".
  9. Felsenthal, Julia (20 January 2012). "Where the Peter Pan Collar Came From—and Why It's Back". Slate Magazine . Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  10. Carnegy, Vicky (2007). The 1980s. New York: Infobase Pub. p. 7. ISBN   978-1438118949. Archived from the original on 2019-12-25. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  11. "Collar of Linen and Needle Lace, anonymous, c. 1625 – c. 1640 – Rijksmuseum". Archived from the original on 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  12. Flusser, Alan (October 1982). "The Shirt Maker". TWA Ambassador.
  13. Trenton State Gazette (New Jersey), November 18, 1880, p. 3; "Fashion Hints", San Francisco Bulletin, October 29, 1881, Supplement p. [2]; "Nice Ideas and Pretty Things Women Who Blindly Follow Fashion's Leaders and Women Who Do Not", Omaha Daily Herald, p. 5; "Fashion Notes. Latest Styles", Baltimore Sun, August 31, 1885, Supplement p. [2].

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