Do you remember the majestic images of Marie de Medici, Queen of France and second wife of King Henry IV, which show her wearing a high collar that opened in the front? The 16th century necklace was later named the Medici necklace in his honor.
Further down the ages, the collar was rarely seen on women’s clothing. Very few cultures, except in regions with extremely cold weather, have collars on women’s dresses.
“Women’s collars tend to be sexier, and especially in India they tend to be low cut because of the heat. That said, in the north of the country, women are known to wear necklaces, like on the Kashmiri women’s phirans. However, the collar was really meant for menswear,” observes veteran fashion designer Ritu Kumar.
“Collars are mainly worn by women in Europe. For example, their coats have collars. In India, we have always known men’s clothing with collars, such as the Nehru or the Chinese collar. But today we see a lot of collars on women’s clothing,” she adds.
Here are six different types of collars to flaunt on everything from jackets and sweaters to formal ethnic wear.
The sailor collar
This is a variation of the mainly ceremonial collar seen on British Royal Navy uniforms, which originated in the 1860s.
Keep in mind: “This collar adds a timeless vintage and nautical touch to an outfit. It is therefore essential to combine it correctly to complete the look. It works great with high waisted pants, carrot skirts, cropped ruffled tennis skirts and mom jeans,” says fashion designer Pallavi Singhee of the Verb brand.
What to avoid: “Fashion trends like ripped jeans, punk details and neon lights that might be too far removed from the delicate vintage look of the collar,” she says.
To shine in there: “It’s important to accessorize in a way that complements the collar rather than detracting from it. So keep it vintage and ’80s-inspired,” she adds.
Peter Pan collar
Inspired by Renaissance art, this necklace takes its name from the famous Disney character. It has its origins in the art and costumes of this period and now resonates with the dominant collar trend.
Keep in mind: “To create a balanced look, the collar should be the dramatic element and the rest of the outfit should be streamlined,” says fashion and costume designer Nachiket Barve.
What to avoid: “Loaded prints and big volumes in a skirt,” he says.
To shine in there: “Pair a top with this collar with fitted pants and dramatic bracelets,” says Nachiket.
The collar pictured is a stylized cowl, which was a major trend in the West in the 1990s, especially within American pop culture and Vivienne Westwood’s spectacular and fabulous looks which featured an explosion of colors and prints .
Keep in mind: “Being a draped style, the cowl neck highlights the body by drawing attention to its lines. Avoid too much drama in the rest of the look, such as loud prints or a busy color scheme that can become a distraction from the wearer’s personality and appear confusing,” recommends designer Rahul Mishra.
What to avoid: “Too many accessories. Remember that less is more,” he warns.
To shine in there: “Wear it with minimal separates like wide-leg pants, a pencil skirt or even a pretty, flattering georgette saree,” Rahul suggests.
Jhe has a winged collar
This style of collar dates back to the formal shirts of the late 19th century. It became standard and continued to be worn after World War I. Today, it is appearing on shearling jackets.
Keep in mind: “A layered look that mirrors the geometry of the jacket works well because it helps balance out the accentuated angularity of the collar,” says celebrity stylist Rishi Raj.
What to avoid: “Round or mandarin collars, even U-necks. Stick to V-necks and other layered collars,” he adds.
To shine in there: “Keep accessories clean and contemporary. Go for the minimal, metallic way to elevate this look,” advises Rishi.
Notched fur collar
Used in luxury fur garments, this style of collar has grown in popularity since its use on women’s jackets in the 1920s. Fur had been a luxury for royalty since the 1300s and became easier and cheaper to buy after the 1950s. With the emphasis now on faux fur, Kim Kardashian is often seen wearing this style of collar.
Keep in mind: “If you’re wearing something this exotic, keep it really simple and understated by wearing just a nude t-shirt or a white sleeveless t-shirt inside,” says fashion designer Amy Billimoria.
What to avoid: “Something very high-end or printed with that collar,” she warns.
To shine in there: “Pair it with a slight bling element by wearing boots if you’re going out at night,” she says.
This is a slight variation of the Chinese collar but made on a very soft fabric for women. It has become particularly popular with women at weddings.
Keep in mind: “Worn by a slightly older classic woman, it has a certain formality to it. It’s also kind of a classic with a kurta-like fit,” says fashion designer Ritu Kumar.
What to avoid: “Wear necklaces with it, unless it’s a long necklace,” she recommends.
To shine in there: “Pair it with a chunni or an orhni to make it less harsh,” says Ritu.
From HT Brunch, April 9, 2022
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