There's a collar craze happening in fashion. The trend is focused especially on collars of the prim and polished variety (think rounded Peter Pan-style or simple and pointed) that are buttoned up all the way to the top.
It's more of a styling thing really, not necessarily a trend that calls for buying new pieces. It's really about the clean, buttoned-up line of a crisp shirt and sharp collar.
Celebrities such as Carey Mulligan and Alexa Chung are layering collared shirts under their crew neck sweaters and pairing the sweet combo with knee-length skirts or cropped trousers. It's part menswear-inspired, part schoolgirl chic, and the look popped up on fall 2011 runways as well as for spring 2012.
For fall 2011, DKNY showed bright white Peter Pan collars peeking out from under stark black shirts, adding a dash of girliness to otherwise dark and sexy frocks. French label Sandro has also incorporated collars into its fall 2011 collection, adding leopard-print collar details to mod-inspired black shift dresses, which gives basic pieces a playful detail. Several looks with starched, white collars were also sent down the runway at the Celine spring 2012 collection. The French house's clean and effortless aesthetic is so influential on high-end and street fashion that collars are bound to still be everywhere come spring.
It's easy enough to start styling your existing button-down shirts in this more buttoned-up manner, or you can literally just wear the collar. I came across a company that makes just collars. As dorky as that might sound (I'm instantly reminded of the red turtleneck dickies my sixth-grade choir teacher wore under her jingle-bell-and-sequin festooned Christmas sweaters, partly for the look, partly to keep her vocal cords warm), these collars create the trendy silhouette without adding unwanted bulk under a fitted sweater.
The company, CeCe Toppings, makes fun little collars in classic, Peter Pan and even ruffle-neck styles. The printed versions, like leopard and a preppy plaid, are especially cute because they add the quirky and trendy little touch to an outfit and a pop of color and texture.
Plus, each of the collars is under $40, which is generally less expensive than a new button-down shirt. You can throw one of these under a crew neck or V-neck sweater (though not too low-cut, that obviously defeats the purpose and would expose the secret behind your jazzed-up neckline) and you've got instant trend without the bulk, investment or extra shirt layer, which in an L.A fall can sometimes be too hot. A classic, conservative collar can also transform a simple black dress or V-neck sweater into an appropriate job interview outfit.
Regardless of the trend, I love the idea of something polished and preppy as we continue into fall. Pair a buttoned-up collared shirt (or just the collar) with a classic crew neck sweater in a neutral color such as camel or heather gray with something sexy like leather-coated jeans or jeans or trousers in a fun, vibrant color such as red or fuchsia, for an easy mix of tough and sweet.
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Your Stylist: All-natural skin brightening treatments
Your Stylist: Capes and ponchos are fall's fabulous outerwear
Your Stylist: Bold prints are big with celebs like Alexa Chung
Upper left photo: A look from Sandro's fall 2011 collection. Credit: Sandro
Upper right photo: A look from DKNY fall 2011, Credit: Yannis Valmos / gorunway.com
Middle photo: A leopard-print collar from CeCe Toppings. Credit: CeCe Toppings
Lower photo: A plaid Peter Pan collar from CeCe Toppings. Credit: CeCe Toppings