Collar Fashions

| Nov 26, 2018
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A large ruff.

Dear Readers, as I continue to help you-all expand your sartorial horizons, I have decided that a dandy topic for today is: COLLARS! there are so many kinds, applications and they have a fascinating history.

In the beginning, people were nekkid — sans clothing. Then it became winter, and people put on shirts. But their necks were still cold, and scarves were invented. People tied various things around their necks, and in the 1500s, there arose a fashion known as ruffs! Ruffs were big-ass collars, worn by all sexes, and could contain as much as 6 yards of fabric, and a ton of starch. Later in this era, ruffs became so gigantic and unwieldy that there were laws passed regulating their use, called the Sumptuary Laws. Only seriously rich and/or important people were allowed to wear them.  

Ruffs got old, and humans decided to go back to scarves; then they shrunk to a size we now recognize as COLLARS. But, collars were REMOVABLE, so that you had to wash shirts less often! This started around 1830, and saved a lot of time doing laundry. Around 1930, Rene LaCoste came out with a soft shirt with an attached collar, and the Polo Shirt was born.

You may now be wondering how in the HAIL [Editor’s note: “hell”] does this affect MEEE? And here’s how — there are many styles and types of collars available today, and some of them are just lovely. Let’s meet them!

Crew Neck

A regular T or sweat shirt is referred to as having a “crew neck,” although I’m not sure why. It just kinda sits there, and is pretty vanilla. Just a mere few inches away is the V-neck, and this is a real winner. It is shaped like the letter V, and exposes a bit more of YOU! It has many pluses, one being that it can lengthen the neck, show off some cleavage and look very femme, unless you are gifted with a giant Adam’s Apple. In which case, tie on a filmy scarf and hide it! A V-neck cut also sends the observant eye upwards, pointing to the face of the wearer.


A U-neck has similar features, and shows off a smooth upper chestal region.

A cowl-neck looks as if one has stretched out a turtleneck so it falls gently on the bosom; it cuddles the neck, and can hide a multitude of flaws.It has a scarf-like appearance, and looks great on most people. Clearly, a turtleneck has that turtle-y look, but can also disguise neck features, keep you warm and play host to a nice pendant or other long necklace. Just give it a peek now and then to ensure make-up hasn’t climbed aboard the t-neck and made it look crummy.

Peter Pan collar on a mini dress.

This brings us to the Peter Pan collar; this used to only grace the necks of gawd-awful maternity clothes and 1950s sorority girl blouses. But now it can be most fetching on a velvet dress that is almost too short — mixing the well-behaved collar with a saucy mini-dress! If done in an ironic way, it can be incredibly cute.

Another festive choice is the Nehru or stand-up collar; these are usually fairly small and semi-rigid, and look very classy. They look neat and stylish, and I love them.

One can always utilize a dog-collar, or a studded piece — but that’s a very different kind of fashion! Visit some high-end stores, or take a peek online and school yourselves on the bevy of collars, and see if their variety might punch-up your look!

Moved to make a comment? Login here and use the comment area below. Want to have Lorraine custom make a ruff for you? Contact her via email to take advantage of her custom clothing service, The Occasional Woman.

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The Occasional Woman

About the Author ()

I am a native Californian who has been based in the Philadelphia area since 1984. My first CD fashion creation was a gold lamé dress for the now esteemed editor of this publication. Since then I have made tons of fabulous frocks and other fashion apparel for the crossdressing and transgender community. Contact me for custom clothing or alterations via email: [email protected]

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