The white tie project - a collar!

Friday, April 16, 2010
Although, as mentioned, I already had a detachable wing collar from my school days, I decided there were a couple of problems with it. The first is that to me it looks a little bit on the short side for white tie. White tie collars ought to be pretty high - significantly higher than an ordinary soft collar - and my school one isn't. This may well be because it's an academic collar rather than a dress collar and is intended as day-wear so is shorter.

The second, and perhaps less justifiable reason for buying a new collar is that my school one has, of course, been washed and so is no longer starched. Finding somewhere to starch a collar properly isn't all that easy, although it's certainly possible as both the clergy and the bar require starched collars. However, in my case, I need a starched collar by tomorrow, and so the easiest thing to do seemed to just buy a new, ready-starched one, and deal with finding somewhere to re-starch it later.

This style of collar is a good couple of inches tall, and rises slightly at the front, so that it should come almost to the chin. This is important as it needs to stand well above the coat collar by nearly an inch. It's affixed at the front and back with metal and bone (or mother of pearl, or possibly plastic) studs and has large, bold wings at the front.

If you do wear white tie, a detachable collar is infinitely preferable to a modern attached wing collar shirt, for reasons of the height and stiffness that are an important part of the whole formal ensemble.