Question: Where can I buy detachable collars?
Answer: For most of the 19th century and into the early 1920s men’s shirts did not have collars or cuffs attached to them. Instead, collars were purchased separately and attached to the shirt with a button at the front and back of the narrow shirt collar (think mandarin style shirts).
The history of the detachable collar was credited to Mrs. Montague, who in 1820 was tired of washing her blacksmith husband’s shirts every day. By cutting off the collar, she could change out the dirtiest part, saving herself the daily chore. And so, collarless shirts with detachable collars were born. The styles were many, over 400 at the turn of the century. They came in tall and short height, stiff or soft, fold down, pointed, and wingtip among others. Different trends for every decades favored one style over the other. Most were made of linen that was starched to be stiff as a board (not very comfortable to wear against the neck). In the later years, disposable paper or Celluloid collars were an option that didn’t require any washing! Nor did the reusable rubber collar.
Here are some examples of collars:
Where to buy detachable collars?
There are only a few manufactures of collarless shirts. Most come out of the UK, where there is more demand for the bespoke look. Stiff collars are more common but almost more expensive than cloth or paper collars. For comfort and best fit, always order 1/2 size up from your standard shirt collar size.
- Premier Clothing – My favorite place and one of the few in the USA. Only a few standard choices geared towards the Edwardian era. Order 1/2 size up for the best fit.
- Amazon Dry Goods – Celluloid, paper, cloth and linen collars in most shapes. A nice selection here.
- River Junction Dry Goods – Cloth collars and some celluloid collars (while they last)
- Gentlemen’s Emporium – Soft cloth collars. You can starch them, but they will not be as stiff as pre-stiffed collars.
- Darcy Clothing (UK) – Stiff high stand, fold down, wingtip, imperial, and pointed collars. Boys’ eton collars, too.
- New and Lingwood (UK) – Stiff wing tip and fold down styles.
- Classic Wardrobe (UK) – Eton, Wing, Spread, and a unique blue striped bengal collar.
- Tom Sawyer (UK) – Collarless shirts and a few collars.