Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125b

Fitzwilliam

Collar
1890-1900 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Men started wearing detachable collars in the 1820s. Most were made of heavily starched cotton or linen. They were attached with studs and stood up stiffly above the tie or cravat.

Ownership & Use
The correct choice of shirt, collar and tie to suit the occasion was a matter of extreme importance. In the 1890s a white collar with a coloured shirt was normal for morning or business wear. A high white collar with white shirt was correct for evening dress and weddings. During the first decade of the 20th century flannel collars became popular for day wear, in keeping with the fashion for soft-finished shirts.

Matierals & Making
Some collars were made of paper covered in linen, but these could not be washed. The Nahob (1864), a novel by Alphonse Daudet, described a petty clerk who, not wishing to appear to 'lack shirts', spends days making his own collars, cuffs and shirt fronts in paper to give the impression that he has 'impeccably white shirts ... even if at the slightest movement - when he walked or sat - they crinkled around him as though he had a cardboard box in his stomach'. Celluloid collars and rubber collars, which could be cleaned easily, existed but were frowned upon.

Social Class
The height of the collar steadily increased in the late 19th century and often reached 5 inches or more for more formal occasions. The social significance of the restrictive collar as a symbol of class distinction had persisted through the centuries. In the 19th century they were given names to heighten their status, such as 'Dux', 'Eton', 'Piccadilly' or 'Rosebery'.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Starched linen, with buttonholes for attachment
Brief Description
Man's detachable collar, starched linen, manufactured by Morgan and Ball Outfitters, London, England, 1890s
Physical Description
Man's starched white linen collar, Detachable with button holes for attachment.
Dimensions
  • Width: 5.5cm
  • Length: 40cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • MORGAN & BALL / OUTFITTERS / 131, HIGH HOLBORN & 182, STRAND.W.C. / Extra Quality/ Fitzwilliam/ 2 1/2 x 16 1/2 (Inside of collar; Printed)
  • L. Knox (Signature; Inside of collar; written)
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Detachable collars were popular in the late 19th century. They were attached to the back of the shirt. Their success was largely due to the cost and difficulty of keeping a white shirt clean. Men could now change their collars every day without having to change their shirts.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Past Pleasures Ltd.
Object history
Given by Mark Wallis, Past Pleasures Ltd



Historical significance: Men started wearing detached shirt collars in the 1820s. They were attached to the back of the neckband with a button and stood up stiffly above the tie or cravat. At first they were only worn by unfashionables as a cheap alternative to the shirt with collar already attached. By the end of the century the detachable collar had become very popular with all classes due to its practicality, as it could be mixed and matched with a wide variety of shirts. Celluloid collars and rubber collars which could be cleaned easily were less acceptable.
Historical context
Collars came in a variety of styles and sizes. Most were made of heavily starched cotton or linen and were very upright. They were either made up as part of the shirt or attached to it with studs.



The correct choice of shirt, collar and tie to suit the occasion was a matter of extreme importance. In the 1890s a white collar with a coloured shirt was normal for morning or business wear. A high white collar with white shirt was correct for evening dress and weddings. During the first decade of the twentieth century flanned collars became popular for day wear in keeping with the fashion for soft-finished shirts.



The height of the collar steadily increased in the late nineteenth century and earnt itself the nickname 'iron collar'. The social significance of the restrictive collar as a symbol of Class Distinction had persisted through the centuries. In the nineteenth century they were given names to heighten their status such as 'Dux', 'Eton', 'Piccadilly' and 'Rosebery'.



Collars easily became dirty. They needed to be regularly starched, ironed, polished and curled to keep them looking good. They were sometimes placed in round collar boxes to maintain their shape.
Summary
Object Type
Men started wearing detachable collars in the 1820s. Most were made of heavily starched cotton or linen. They were attached with studs and stood up stiffly above the tie or cravat.

Ownership & Use
The correct choice of shirt, collar and tie to suit the occasion was a matter of extreme importance. In the 1890s a white collar with a coloured shirt was normal for morning or business wear. A high white collar with white shirt was correct for evening dress and weddings. During the first decade of the 20th century flannel collars became popular for day wear, in keeping with the fashion for soft-finished shirts.

Matierals & Making
Some collars were made of paper covered in linen, but these could not be washed. The Nahob (1864), a novel by Alphonse Daudet, described a petty clerk who, not wishing to appear to 'lack shirts', spends days making his own collars, cuffs and shirt fronts in paper to give the impression that he has 'impeccably white shirts ... even if at the slightest movement - when he walked or sat - they crinkled around him as though he had a cardboard box in his stomach'. Celluloid collars and rubber collars, which could be cleaned easily, existed but were frowned upon.

Social Class
The height of the collar steadily increased in the late 19th century and often reached 5 inches or more for more formal occasions. The social significance of the restrictive collar as a symbol of class distinction had persisted through the centuries. In the 19th century they were given names to heighten their status, such as 'Dux', 'Eton', 'Piccadilly' or 'Rosebery'.
Collection
Accession Number
T.84-2000

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record createdJune 2, 2000
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