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Old School Shirt Collars

SartorialTaste

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Why aren't stand up collars (imperial, etc) and the other styles of shirt collars (whether stand up or turndown) that are typically found in older style detachable collar shirts popular anymore?

Those older higher/stiffer collars exude a certain aura of elegance and formality and perhaps can only be matched by modern day era wide spread/cutaway collar. The modern man is rather limited to wide spread, semi spread, point, button-down collars and maybe club or tab collars but why?

Can someone explain the formality levels of the aforementioned older style collars? Which one is appropriate with a lounge suit for example? I know people still wear wing collars in their black tie ensemble.

Does anyone know a shirtmakers that still make detachable collar shirts (in a more contemporary fit)?

It seems to me that most men from the past dressed well and their clothing helped them project a certain degree of presence/gravitas. The way most men dress now is boring and uninspiring. Put on a sportcoat and a lot of people would comment on your "suit". It is as if people try to dress as lazily as possible and not to mention the trend of overpriced 'branded' bling-bling 'hypebeast' casual items that simply look tacky.

I am glad for the resurgence of classic menswear in recent years.
 

Panama

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Detachable collar shirts are widely available here in the UK. TM Lewin and CT sell them, as do specialists like Thresher and Glenny, Ede and Ravencroft. The cheapest apart from TML and CT are Stanley Ley, these maybe poly cotton. Molville may do them too. They are aimed at Barristers. The laundry company Barkers provide new collars and cleaning services.
 

SartorialTaste

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Thank you Panama and Comrade for your replies and for sharing the names of the shirtmakers.

Does anyone know the formality scale of these collars? Is it "correct", for example for someone to wear an imperial collar or a wing collar with a lounge suit? I have seen old photos of people wearing them with old style lounge suits so I presume they can be worn with one?

A turndown collar like this one is similar to what people wear nowadays so I feel that it won't be as conspicuous as the other two. But can the "stand up" styles be worn in the same fashion (albeit not common nowadays)?

I wonder if Flusser's book mention anything about this or whether there are other sources that delve into the details of these formal collar styles (on how to wear them with strollers, black tie, morning dress, white tie).

I also feel that detachable collar shirts can be economical, and yet elegant and you can change the style of your shirt without resorting to buying a new one.
 

SartorialTaste

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They look like cosplay.
They are part of Edwardian era fashion, so I can see where you are coming from. However when done right, I fail to see how a stiff turndown collar (perhaps something like a stiff club collar) worn with a contemporary styled suit would look costumey. Quite dashing I'd imagine.
 

J o s h

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Are you going to try it out in the field? As long as you like the look, nothing else really matters.
 

DWFII

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I've worn detachable collars for years, even made my own. But you have to know that they are a PITA.

First, stand-up collars, esp. need to be stiff. I mean stiff. If you are making your own, interfacing that is stiff enough is hard to find, if not impossible. The originals were boiled in starch and ironed with special techniques (IIRC, there are only two companies in the world that still do this).

And they get dirty quickly so washing...and starching and ironing...had to be done frequently to retain that 'elegance.'

At some point during the heyday of detachable collars, many were made of paper and/or celluloid. This solved the starching problem, but esp. with the paper collars, not the dirt. and of course paper collars weren't meant to be washed. .

Beyond that, stiff stand-up collars (esp. the high ones) are not really all that comfortable.

All that said, with a handful good band collar shirts, and another handful of different detachable collars, your potential wardrobe is much more versatile..

And personally, I think they look great.. esp with a somewhat fin de siecle style three piece suit and/or a frock coat. Or even a Prince Charlie and kilt.
 
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comrade

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They are part of Edwardian era fashion, so I can see where you are coming from. However when done right, I fail to see how a stiff turndown collar (perhaps something like a stiff club collar) worn with a contemporary styled suit would look costumey. Quite dashing I'd imagine.
In the UK the wearing of detachable collars, certainly among higher status individuals,
was common well into the 1960s. I purchased a striped detachable collar shirt at Harrods
in 1961 which came with a soft collar in white, and a soft striped collar to match the shirt.
Stiff collars were by no means the rule with detachable collar shirts by then.
 

Steepleman

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Detachable collar shirts are widely available here in the UK. TM Lewin and CT sell them, as do specialists like Thresher and Glenny, Ede and Ravencroft. The cheapest apart from TML and CT are Stanley Ley, these maybe poly cotton. Molville may do them too. They are aimed at Barristers. The laundry company Barkers provide new collars and cleaning services.
Unfortunately the cheap ones you buy from say TM Lewin (does CT sell them?) aren't made in the traditional manner, i.e. with layers of fabric. Instead they have synthetic or impermeable fused interfacing. This means you can't properly starch them at home. The layers don't stick together because the starch doesn't stick to polyester. You can get traditionally made detachable collars still at places like Luke Eyres or even Darcy Clothing. Otherwise, you're mostly limited to barristers' and official collars at places like Thresher and Glenny or here in Melbourne, Ludlows.

Some casual shirts I have found, especially linen casual shirts, don't have any interfacing in their collars and cuffs and you can starch them with plain starch very stiffly quite easily. Of course, to remove the starch properly you have to boil them and with the buttons attached to the shirts (opposed to detachable collars and cuffs) you can't do so without running the risk of damaging the buttons.
 

Shirtmaven

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I have made shirts with detachable collars. Since very few people know how to dtatch them. I just use heavy fusing. Not as hard to make as @DWFII says. You just need a heat press. It is hard to do with a hand iron.
Of course the imperial collar is a very specific look that most people will not appreciate. If you like the look then go for it
You can always have the collars removed from current shirts. Have a tailor add white collar bands with buttonholes for the studs
 

DWFII

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Andy57

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In addition to New & Lingwood, Budd Shirtmakers, in the Piccadilly Arcade also makes detachable collar shirts and collars. StyFo member @Butler gets his shirts from there, I believe.

Do not wear a wing collar with a modern lounge suit. It will just look incongruous. If you are wearing a stroller or morning dress, then sure, go for it. But be aware that a wing collar is not particularly comfortable, especially if you are not used to wearing heavily starched, fairly rigid collars. Lastly, heavily starched collars are not easy to maintain. Unless you live in London or another large European city, you may find it challenging to get them laundered satisfactorily.
 

Steepleman

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I have made shirts with detachable collars. Since very few people know how to dtatch them. I just use heavy fusing. Not as hard to make as @DWFII says. You just need a heat press. It is hard to do with a hand iron.
Of course the imperial collar is a very specific look that most people will not appreciate. If you like the look then go for it
You can always have the collars removed from current shirts. Have a tailor add white collar bands with buttonholes for the studs
Do you fuse both sides? The TM Lewin ones don't fuse both sides so you don't get that smooth look.
 

Shirtmaven

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Do you fuse both sides? The TM Lewin ones don't fuse both sides so you don't get that smooth look.
Depends on how stiff usually not.the fuse goes on the inside piece if wing folds. If the wing stays up then the outside piece.
 

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