• Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Please visit ou very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are posted, including the latest, updated, very comprehensive, Styleforum Black Friday Sales List

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Old School Shirt Collars

Andy57

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
3,902
Reaction score
10,155
I think some of this might be due to not knowing how a shirt collar should fit. I was always taught that a collar ought to fit snugly enough that one index finger could fit between collar and neck (without pushing into the skin), but no more than that or it was too loose.
Do you actually wear your shirt collars that tight?
 

Nobilis Animus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
953
Reaction score
647
Do you actually wear your shirt collars that tight?
Almost always - I am sometimes more careless with casual shirts, but don't see any issue with the sizing.

Stiff collars must be fitted very close to the neck, otherwise gaps are immediately visible. It also happens to encourage upright posture.
 

Steepleman

Active Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
14
Yes, I wouldn't wear a wing collar as a barrister loosely—it looks pretty sloppy. Although a lot of barristers (and judges!) wear fake wing collars which look really sad, like floppy polyester things.

I could probably fit in a few fingers though in the collar. I've never understood if “one finger” meant the gap was one finger-width wide, or if it means I couldn't get two fingers in parallel to the skin. The nature of a stiff collar means you can almost always do the latter.
 

Encathol Epistemia

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2019
Messages
188
Reaction score
316
I've been intrigued by stiff, detachable collars since I first learned of them. I think that they look very handsome and I'm always such a damned anachronist. Of course, I also have a short neck, so they're just asking for trouble in my case and would be very difficult to maintain as I'm sure that no local shops could properly launder them.

I have actually spoken with my shirtmaker about them, but he told me that he can't get the necessary material, which he described as being so dense and stiff that it was almost like plastic. He did say that clients do sometimes inquire about them.

When I visited the Frick Mansion in Pittsburgh last year, there was a box on the dresser in the master bedroom that the docent told me was a collar box. Evidently, downtown Pittsburgh was so filthy from industrial pollution that Mr. Frick changed his collar several times daily.
 

Steepleman

Active Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
35
Reaction score
14
I don't think that's entirely right, at least not for modern starched collars as worn by priests and lawyers. Starched collars are stiff, not because of their fabric, but because of the starch which goes into it.

When they are freshly laundered and unstarched, they are flimsy (well, as flimsy as an unfused collar normally is). Usually they only have one or two layers of cloth interlining: See this film.. “Semistiff” collars just have thinner or no interlining, which are thus more flexible. Possibly your tailor is too young to have encountered unstarched detachable collars? Or maybe he only had experience of the permanent celluloid styles.

They're quite simple to launder at home once you get the hang of it, as long as you have a good half an hour to starch and iron them. Certainly we Australians aren't shipping them over to Barker's every time we need to clean them! (Although, they say there is a laundry in Sydney that still does them traditionally, but I think he retired). The key thing is ensuring the starch laminates all of the layers of fabric together so they don't bubble. That is what gives it the stiffness.

Most professions don't need stiff collars though, but I think they look quite good if of a reasonable height or style.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Most Interesting Fashion Collaboration of 2020

  • JW Anderson x Uniqlo

  • Nigo x Virgil Abloh

  • Converse x Midnight Studios

  • Rick Owens x Champion

  • Barbour x Engineered Garments

  • Adidas x Bed JW Ford

  • Jordan Brand x Dior

  • Billie Eilish x Takashi Murakami

  • Lego x Levi's


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
448,895
Messages
9,716,356
Members
202,811
Latest member
cmvbju
Top