The Resurgence of Removable Shirt Collars
We suspect the removable shirt collar is thought by most to be a relic of days gone by. Some may not even have heard of them as a concept, some might only associate them with Clergymen or perhaps those funny shirt collars you see Barristers (Attorneys for our friends across the pond) wearing in high profile court cases with their funny wigs and robes.
It is true that the removable collar has remained a staple in some elite professions and educational institutions since its heyday in the early middle of the last decade - might it also be true that the removable collar is in the midst of a revival?
In this blog post we look at the history of the removable collar, how it has developed and adapted over the decades and how and why it is fast becoming a new trend amongst some menswear enthusiasts in 2022!
The first conceptions of shirts up to the mid-15th century were collarless and bared little resemblance to what we call a shirt nowadays. More like loose fitting overshirts that were open necked for ease. Standing collars became a thing but It wasn’t until 16th century when the ‘Ruff’ as famously worn by the likes of William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, Henry VIII and the likes. These collars denoted class and wealth amongst the aristocracy of Europe, think of them as the statement piece of the time, the more ruffles on your ruff the better! This type of collar came about as the invention of starch allowed for the very specific and hard to form ruffs to hold their shape after being sprayed with the substance. Despite this innovation they were particularly expensive and hard to maintain and soon fell out of fashion.
Fast forward a century and collars are commonplace on shirts. Back to being a symbol of class and wealth. The invention of the removable collar as we know collars today happened around 1830 in a town called Troy, New York. Later known as collar city due to the explosion of collar factories over the next few decades this explosion in popularity and accessibility came about because of one housewife – Hannah Montague. She had simply had enough of constantly washing her husbands’ shirts for the sole purpose of cleaning the collar band. She had her lightbulb moment and took the scissors to the collar, scrubbed, washed, and dried the collar before reattaching by sewing back on. This innovation was spotted by a canny Reverend in the locality who commercialised the idea which fully led to the explosion of this concept.
Soon to follow were removable paper collars that are said to have been thought up by an office worker that was to poor to keep up with laundering his shirts to the crisp white as was expected. So, one day he decided to craft collars out of paper instead! They say innovation is born from hardship and here it stands true. Not so popular to follow were removable paper cuffs and even shirt plackets - this fad soon died down.
By the 1920s most collars were attached to shirts. And a softer more informal approach to gentlemen’s fashion was sweeping the globe. This shift was vehemently opposed by the English gentry who still preferred heavily starched collars, this is still much the case amongst elite circles and institutions in the UK today. At the famous Eton school for Boys, as attended by pretty much all the royals and the most prominent politicians, it still denotes your position of authority within the school and as we said in the opening paragraph, barristers still use a ‘day’ collar for outside the courtroom and the ‘winged’ collar for in.
Now you might ask why in 2022 the concept of a removable collar might be having a comeback? Well, we will tell you. We are busy humans today more than ever and who enjoys laundering clothes? I say Mrs. Montague was onto a winner and for far more worthy reasons than just simply saving on washing! Whilst we live fast now we still like to impart some personality and style into our clothing, well at least a worthy percentage of us. And so why not utilise this unique feature on a shirt to help you change the style of your outfit throughout your day, or week even.
Here at W H Taylor we have a long history of creating and providing luxury bespoke shirts to elite professionals who require collarless and removable options, its something we are practiced at and confident in. But today, we are seeing an ever increasing amount of men who enjoy a foray into fashion and style use this as a way of exploiting and maximising the potential of one garment. You can choose from multiple collar styles and colours to really get the most potential from your shirt! So, if you fancy exploring the idea of one garment with multiple options, providing you with longevity and diversity all in one, than check out our website now!
We currently have an offer to receive two free collars with every shirt purchased using code 2FREECOLLARS – don’t all rush at once!