Seams Plausible: The Collar Conundrum



A semi-regular column answering
questions about clothing.



Reader Joseph S. writes in, “I see contrast collars popping up on all kinds of collared shirts. I thought they were reserved for dress shirts only. What’s up with that?”

One thing I enjoy most about writing this column – although it’s not really a column so much as a blog entry – and I don’t really “write” it so much as “type” it and send it through a Sharepoint site to Tracy who converts it into HTML – is that I get to read questions from so many people who are looking for “the rules” of fashion.

Yes, there are a lot of “acceptable practices” and “guidelines” and “stuff you shouldn’t do if you don’t want to look dorky” when it comes to style.

But the so called “fashion rules” are not immutable laws of physics. They change from season to season, decade to decade. They evolve like the path of a river, leaving behind ox-bow lakes in its trail as it ages. (At least that’s what Mr. McCraw taught us in Earth Science.)

Fashion is a fickle mistress, said someone on Pinterest or Twitter. And so she is. When it comes to style, what’s past is past, the past is prologue, and the prologue to the Canterbury tales is really something when you hear it recited in Middle English.

So contrast collars on casual collared shirts are ok this season. And maybe next. But maybe not. And maybe suspenders or braces will be back next year, except this time you wear them with shorts, like lederhosen.

Who can say?

Only Fashion. And she isn’t talking. (Unless her voice is that low constant humming I hear in my office but it’s really hard to make out any words, so maybe that’s not it.)

You’re welcome.

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