Collars are neckbands attached to the neckline of a shirt. Removable collars were invented in 1827 by Hannah Lord Montague (1794–1878) of Troy, New York. They fastened either at the front or the back of a shirt with a collar button, a stud on a shank, or shaft, that slips through two small eyelets on a collar. They became popular money-saving items when clothing was custom-sewn and expensive. Collars detached from the body of shirts for laundering separately, which extended the life of the shirt. Even after shirts became mass manufactured, removable collars remained popular. They were a common part of men's, and some women's, wardrobes into the 1930s.
Montague's invention so impressed manufacturers in Troy that they began mass-producing detachable collars locally for sale to a world market. Making these collars called for only a small investment; factory workers, usually low-paid women, needed only scissors, material, and a spool of thread to cut and sew collars. So successful was the venture that Troy became known as "collar city," with twenty-five collar factories by 1897.
During the first two decades of the twentieth century, collars were manufactured primarily in white. They were made of cotton and linen fabrics and made stiff by dipping them in thin cooking starch. "Linene" collars were cotton bonded to thin but stiff cardboard called card stock, and "linex" collars were linen bonded to card stock. Others were bonded to celluloid, a flammable substance mainly used in the manufacture of film stock. Straight-standing collars for formal wear were worn with evening suits. These collars were very rigid and ranged in height from two to three inches. A sudden jerking of the head could cause a chafing at the bottom of the jaw with these collars. For less formal functions, a man wore a "wing" collar, a hard collar with the front edges folded downward to resemble wings, or a "fold-over" collar, a hard collar that is turned down. A collar might cost thirty-five cents individually, or four to five dollars for a box of twenty-five collars.
For business and leisure wear, various styles of white detachable collars were worn with pastel or bright-colored shirts in solids, patterns, or stripes. As office work became more available in the early 1900s, the prestige attached to a clean white collar led to the term "white-collar worker," a term that is still in use to refer to office or business professionals. Women who chose to wear tailored suits with shirtwaists and ties also sometimes wore detachable collars.
During World War I (1914–18), soldiers in the United States armed forces wore soft-collared uniforms. After the war men's styles became more relaxed for the comfort of the wearer. Detachable "spread" collars, extended flat collars, as opposed to straight-standing, made of softer materials became popular. By the 1930s only older, conservative dressers kept the tradition of detachable collars.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Keers, Paul. A Gentleman's Wardrobe: Classic Clothes and the Modern Man. New York: Harmony Books, 1987.
Shep, R. L., and Gail Cariou. Shirts & Men's Haberdashery. Mendocino, CA: R. L. Shep Publications, 1999.
Turbin, Carole. "Fashioning the American Man: The Arrow Collar Man, 1907–1931." Gender and History 14, no. 3 (November 2002): 470–91.
"Collars." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/collars
"Collars." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved January 19, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/collars
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
Collars and Pectorals
Collars and Pectorals
While the people of ancient Egypt mostly wore plain white linen clothing of simple design, this did not mean that they had no love of adornment. Two of the most notable items of jewelry worn in ancient Egypt were collars and pectorals, both types of heavily jeweled necklaces. Collars were created with beads made of glass, precious stones, gold, and a glazed pottery called faience. These beads were strung on multiple strings of varying length that were then bound to a ring around the neck to make a wide, semi-circular collar that covered the shoulders and chest of the wearer with bright color. Collars were also sometimes made by attaching beads, stones, and precious metals to a semicircle of fabric. The pectoral was usually a large, flat breastplate made of gold or copper, often decorated with symbols and inlaid with precious stones or glass. Pectorals were hung over the chest by a chain around the neck. Both collars and pectorals were worn by men and women alike.
Egyptians who could afford it wore brightly colored jewelry to show their rank and importance in society, as well as their love of beauty. Many items of jewelry served a spiritual purpose as well, by carrying images of the gods that protected the wearer. Collars often had symbols of the gods carved into their large metal clasps or into the beads of the collar itself. Pectorals were frequently adorned with symbolic pictures of gods and goddesses or were made in the shape of sacred symbols, such as winged scarab beetles or disks that represented the sun. Pectorals were considered amulets, or good luck charms, and were sometimes awarded to loyal servants of the ruling pharaoh in return for services performed. Elaborate jeweled collars and pectorals have frequently been found in the ruins of Egyptian tombs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Balkwill, Richard. Clothes and Crafts in Ancient Egypt. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens, 2000.
Black, J. Anderson, and Madge Garland. Updated and revised by Frances Kennett. A History of Fashion. New York: William Morrow, 1980.
"Collars and Pectorals." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/collars-and-pectorals
"Collars and Pectorals." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved January 19, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/collars-and-pectorals