Detachable Collar


How to say it: detach-able collar

Traditional Features: 

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  • separate to the shirt
  • attached to short stand on the shirt with a stud at centre-front and centre-back
  • usually made of a different fabric to the shirt
  • traditionally starched to a hard, cardboard-like consistency


…of the style: The invention of the detachable collar is credited to a housewife in Troy, New York by the name of Hannah Lord Montague. One day in 1927, in an attempt to remove the ring of stains on her husbands collar without having to launder the whole shirt, she removed the collar from the shirt, washed it and then restitched it. The idea was a hit and a local shop owner (Rev. Ebenezer Brown) soon began selling separate collars for 25 cents a piece. Initially the collar was attached around the neck with a string, but this left a gap between the collar and the shirt, so buttons or studs replaced the string to alleviate the problem.

The detachable collar continued to rise in popularity and Brown was soon increasing his production and introducing new styles. By the 1880s the collars were being sold all over the USA – which caused the invention of the term ‘white collar’ as a means of differentiating the middle class workers (who wore the detachable white collars) from the factory workers who wore blue collars, or none at all.

By the 1970s advances in technology and fabrics brought about the demise of the detachable collar and with it the companies that sold them.

These days the men’s detachable collar, as it was, is rarely worn – they are hard to find, hard to clean and can look a bit costume-y, but in recent times the detachable collar for women has had a bit of a fashion moment. In 2010, Miu Miu included several printed and beaded detachable collars in their Spring 2010 RTW collection and the idea became a trend of sorts, filtering down to high street fashion stores and accessory boutiques (Miu Miu also included them in their Spring 2008 RTW collection). While the trend itself only really survived the season, the idea of the modern detachable collar for ladies didn’t disappear and styles are still available in all sorts of prints and embellishments and can be worn with or without the shirt.

…of the name: The collar is detachable as it is separate from the shirt that is goes with and can be attached or detached as necessary.

For more info on Detachable Collars try Morning Dress Guide, Ravis Custom Tailors or Urban Museum Collaborative

Random Facts

  • detachable cuffs and shirt fronts were also introduced around the same time as the collar, but they were not as popular

21st Century Detachable Collars

Not super popular, but a great accessory and an easy way to change-up an outfit, detachable collars have come a long way from the stiff, white cardboard styles used in the 19th century.

limitedavenue miu miu

Limited Avenue, Miu Miu

gemma lister eleven objects

Gemma Lister, 11 Objects


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