Neck Hole
Key Hole
Click here for the Homepage Tempus' Shirts Weeb Site Tempus' Sewing & Garb Accessories Weeb Site:
Until the early Middle Ages clothes were made without collars. From the thirteenth century a narrow strip of material began to be attached to the neckline of the chemise and/or tunic. On the latter garment this evolved, in the later Middle Ages, into a stand-up collar, the height varying according to the date. in the late fourteenth century, for example, a high collar, known as a carcaille, was fashionable for both tunic and houppelande. in the sixteenth century the collar became a separate article which finished the neck- line of the shirt or chemise; it was more usually known as a band and evolved in the early seventeenth century into the large lace collars known as failing-bands (see also Band). In the late sixteenth century the starched, wired and supported lace or lace- edged embroidered collars became fashion- able. It began as a Spanish fashion, where it was a simple collar, open in front or encircling the neck. Called a valona, this was of white gauze, starched and generally plain. It was supported on the golilla, which was of card or stiffened material and set into the high doublet neckline. Other nations adopted these stand-up collars but generally, especially in England, France, the Low Countries and Germany, they were much larger versions, made of or edged with lace, starched and supported at the back by a framework worn round the neck called a rebato or supportasse (see also Ruff). There were two chief designs of these collars, worn by both sexes; the circular one extending all round the neck without a break, which was called a collet rotonde or whisk, or the open style, which descended to a horizontal line in front, Flemish or Bohemian fashion, or, pleated and wired, framed the back of the neck only. This last style was fashionable with ladies, attached to a d@collet6 neckline; it was called a collet mont@ or Medici collar. In all these collars the back was supported to frame the head and the differing versions were modish into the 1620s. During the second half of the seventeenth and much of the eighteenth century, the coat and waistcoat were collariess and neckwear was in the form of a cravat or scarf (see Cravat and Neckwear). In the later eighteenth century the small coat collar which had begun to develop by 1770 as the tied-back wig had replaced the full- bottomed style (see Wig and Coat), grew larger and, in the last decade, became a turned-down style worn high round the back of the neck with the wig bow tie hanging outside it. The collar was generally faced with velvet or satin or was em- broidered. An especially high collar of this type was popularized by Robespierre and bore his name while, at the end of the century, the Napoleon style, with high collar and large decorative revers, retained the fashion until about 1810. During the nineteenth century coats had varying styles of collars and lapels and, at the same time, the cravat was replaced by a detached shirt collar, which also took many different forms as the century pro- gressed. In the first 30 years the coat collar was high at the back, standing a little away from the neck and was often of the shawl or roll type - that is, in one line from the back of the neck to the buttoning. in the 1820s the M-cut was introduced, where an M-shaped notch was made between collar and rever. In the mid-century collars and revers were small and the coat buttoned high, but after 1865 collar and revers became larger and were buttoned lower on the chest. The detached shirt collar was white all the century and, for much of the time, starched stiffly. In the early years it was standing, with points rising high on to each cheek, but with a wide gap in the centre front to accommodate the chin. From the 1840s the collar was upstanding and very stiff; at first it was shallow but became deeper as time passed. Various names were given to slightly differing styles, such as the Piccadilly, the Rosebery (after the Prime Minister in the 1890s) and the Dux. In the later years of the century there was a tendency, especially in informal wear, for softer, turned-down collars, though white remained the usual colour. At this time ladies also wore similar collars with the shirt blouses which accompanied their tailored suits. The wing collar, with points turned downwards and outwards, was fashionable for both sexes in the 1890s and Edwardian years. The day dress fashions for ladies between 1890 and 1908 had very high necklines. Elegant blouses and tea gowns had lace collars, boned at the sides to keep them up under the cars; these were choker collars. Other designs had deep velvet neckbands with a frill above. With evening dress the necklines were, in contrast, d6colletd but the throat was still covered and decorated by a deep jewelled band, which was referred to as a dog collar or carcanet. This name derived from the eighteenth century term carcan which described an iron neck collar used for punishment. The carcanet was more elegant but some designs must still have been a punishment to wear. The trend in men's collar styles in the twentieth century has been towards softer more informal wear. Until after the First World War the stiff white collar continued to be worn for most occasions, though the detached, softer, turned-down collar ac- companied informal suits such as Norfolk jackets and knickerbockers. In the inter- war years there followed soft turned-down collars attached to shirts, also buttoned- down collars and, for informal and holiday wear, open-necked shirts. The slotted collar had slots on the underside to hold the plastic strips which maintained the shape of a soft collar and could be removed for laundering. For ladies, and for children, the.Peter.Pan collar was fashionable. Called after Sir James Barrie's perennially youth- ful boy, this was a round-ended, flat collar about two to three inches deep. The trend towards informality and freedom of personal choice progressed at an increased pace after 1950. Informal knitted wear replaced, for men, the shirt collar and tie for many occasions. The polo collar which, at the end of the nineteenth century, had been a stiff, white stand-fall collar, now became a high, turned-down finish to knitwear, in use for both sexes. The mandarin collar was favoured for ladies' dresses and blouses. This design, of Asiatic origin, was a standing collar of about one- and-a-half inches high and with a small gap in front where the garment was but- toned across. For men's shirts of all kinds, formal or sportswear, the man-made fibres made possible the manufacture of stiffened, yet comfortable, collars which could be drip-dried and also appear attractively finished.

Go to Tempus Peregrinator's Weeb Page
Click to E-Mail  © Ragnar Torfason
2006 March 28