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The Anatomy of Collars

From sharp to subtle, collars speaks volumes this season and beyond. Back in the day, “loosening your collar” was a sign that things were about to get more interesting. With nods to the modernist fashion of the era, collars have become increasingly sharp and androgynous, accented with brooches, small neckties, and ruffs. 

There is something purposeful in these details with their framing of the wearer’s face, and with all its overwhelming variations, the face-framing trend shows no signs of pumping the breaks any time soon. Whether you’re on the prowl for a funky, oversized option or a dainty lace iteration, let’s get down to the basics of collars. 

Anatomy of Collars

1. Mandarin  CollarMandarin

Inspired from the traditional stand-up Cheongsam collar, these Chinese-inspired collars are known for their long-standing charm. The banded collar is short and unfolded, with a centre front that is squared or curved in shape — giving the outfit a close and structured fitting. The edges of the collar barely meet at the centre front or overlap slightly. 

Unlike the standard folded collars, the Mandarin collar is minimal and gives no fuss to the wearer. It’s not surprising that it has caught on as a raging trend today with an increasing appeal for it among fashion enthusiasts. Modern interpretations of this classic Chinese element can be seen on runways, at times married with Western elements.

Mandarin Collar styles to try:


2. Notched Collar


A notched collar is the most common lapel style you’ll see on blazers and blouses worn with business suits everywhere. It has square corners where a triangular notch is formed with the lapels of a garment at the seam where the collar and lapels join. Simply put, its most noticeable trait is the sideways ‘V’ shape on both sides of the collar. 

Not a fan of the structured collar for day-to-day wear? Thankfully, the concept of a “night-out outfit” has evolved beyond tiny, tight bandage dresses and towering heels. We’re rooting for the well-suited rendition of the notched collar — the blazer dress that can bring you from desk-to-dinner seamlessly.

Notched Collar styles to try:


3. Shirt CollarShirt

Meet the most traditional collar shape — the classic shirt collar, also known as the Straight collar. From deep cutaways to classic points and everything in between, the collar is often the most distinctive component of a shirt. The ends of the two-piece high stand collar, called band and collar, may be square, round or pointed. 

Worn mostly for official purposes, the tailored shape of a shirt collar makes any outfit feel instantly elegant. With the evolution of fashion through the years, the dressy element of a shirt collar is succumbing to subtle casualness that comes in different variations of fit, lengths, and colours for you to dress up or down according to occasions. 

Shirt Collar styles to try:


4. Tie Neck Collar

Tie Neck

Everything old is new again, and that couldn’t be truer for the tie collar, also known as the pussy bow. Essentially, it has long ties on each side of the neck that you can tie into a bow. For centuries, it has been a relevant garment accessory as the symbol of demureness, femininity, and power. 

Practically every major designer had us yearning for ladylike blouses that sit high up on the neck for that sophisticated and affluent-looking aesthetic. The high-neck collar that plays into the bourgeois trend is perfect for work – exuding a prim and professional vibe, but doesn’t look out of place at happy hour either.

Tie Neck Collar Styles to try:


5. Shawl  CollarShawl

A shawl collar is exactly that — a shawl. That is, the lapel has no notch or peak, but is a continuous strip of fabric running from lapel, to collar, to lapel, and only tapering off when it finally hits the button closure. This style originally began as informal evening wear, and was then made seen on cardigan sweaters, dinner jackets, and women’s blouses, in both informal and formal versions.

You can put a unique spin on the classic jumpsuit by choosing one with a shawl collar. The draping is an easy way to spice up your outfit without looking overdressed, and you can wear it almost anywhere.

Shawl Collar styles to try:


6. Turtleneck CollarTurtleneck

Let’s get one thing straight: We love a good turtleneck. Turtleneck collars are one of the most popular collar type worn by women of all ages — a high rounded neckline finished with a wide strip of rib knit that sits around the neck, and is often worn turned down or scrunched under the neck. 

While a great turtleneck sweater can be as comforting as a hot cup of your favourite seasonal beverage, you can easily find a variety of high knitted appeal beyond the cold-weather wardrobe essential. And here’s the best part: turtleneck collars will accentuate your face and elongate your figure. 

Turtleneck Collar styles to try:


Now that you’re equipped with the basics of different types of collars, don’t just take our word for it: Rent new styles to try from the Style Theory App, you might just surprise yourself!

About Author

Pei Szan is a dreamy idealist (a.k.a chronic daydreamer) who easily speaks in metaphors. She enjoys anything philosophical, loves jet-setting around the world, and has a serious boba addiction. Fun fact: Hailing from the land of Nasi Lemak, she left the legal scene to pursue her creative calling and hopes to inspire more women along the way. Her favourite section of the wardrobe? One-piece wonders like jumpsuits for the lazy days.

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